More Italian Citizenship News

I know haven’t updated on this in a while, mostly because it turned into a bit of a nightmare, and I couldn’t really handle posting about it until I had something positive to update on. AND NOW I DO! It’s long, sorry.

I think the last thing I posted was that my lawyer was going to get the court order in the beginning of September. Then nothing.

That’s because the order was denied. My lawyer was based in NY and the NY courts didn’t think they had jurisdiction over my entirely MA documents. Not knowing how to proceed, we decided to basically throw a hail mary, and try one more time under my dad’s name and hope for a different judge. If this failed I could have found (and paid for) a lawyer in MA (I looked for months during all of this and didn’t find ANYONE familiar with these types of cases), or applied directly in Italy (something that would have cost THOUSANDS of dollars), obviously two options that were less than ideal. After a few months of back and forth about when the second court date would happen, my lawyer decided it would be best to apply under my grandmother, as we could use her maiden name and avoid the courts recognizing my last name and automatically assigning the same judge.

I waited about another month, and was promised the first week in December. Then the second week. And then I didn’t hear anything for a little while. It was two weeks of torture! I am not patient! Finally I got an email saying the case had been filed, which meant it would be heard in the next few days. This was the week before Christmas, so we were cutting it REALLY close to everything closing down. On Thursday I got an email saying to have hope–that the judge I had been assigned wasn’t familiar with these types of cases, but he wasn’t against them. He didn’t want to sign off until he talked to one other judge–one my lawyer had worked with a lot and felt very confident would be supportive. On Sunday, Christmas morning, I got an email saying it had worked! The order had been granted!

YOU GUYS. I was shocked. My case was REALLY difficult. Like Secondino changed his name to ANDREW and I was trying to prove they were the same person, even though his birthdates didn’t match and his wife was sometimes on documents as Stephanie and sometimes as Bella. None of these names match even a little! I thought after not hearing anything on Friday that I would have to wait until after the holidays, and even if this judge granted everyone else their orders, mine still might be rejected because of the NY/MA jurisdiction thing. So imagine my TOTAL joy of waking up on Christmas morning to an email saying it had worked! I cried. My mom cried. Everyone was insanely happy.

I sent it translated to the consulate, and the apostilled version should arrive there this week! Right now, the turn around has been about a month. Compared to the EIGHTEEN months I waited the first time around, that is amazing!

However. I’ve noticed a problem.

The LA consulate sent me a list of about 10 things that needed to be addressed in the court order. Only nine were. My dad’s middle name isn’t on his own birth certificate, but it is on mine. This is an issue for LA. It shouldn’t be, because it’s OBVIOUSLY THE SAME PERSON, but it is. I talked to my lawyer and apparently by filing through my grandmother, she didn’t think we could include my dad, because he is a generation below her. I’ve talked to a few people and they think this is going to be a real problem.

I’m really not sure what to do. I thought it was finally over, and now it feels far from it. After the email on Christmas, we decided I’d move in with Gareth this summer. Long distance could finally be over. Now, while I have hope maybe it’ll be okay, there’s a huge chance it won’t be, and that is not ideal.

That said. The court order I do have addressed the MAJOR issues with my case. I’m no longer worried I’ll never get Italian citizenship, just that it’ll take longer than I want (though it already has considering I applied back in 2014 and it’s now 2017!).

The last thing I might need changed is so small, and so manageable, I know I’ll get it done. I have a plan:

1. Hope LA accepts it as is, but assume the won’t so I’ll simultaneously be doing step 2
2. Obtain my dad’s baptism and confirmation records that (hopefully) show how/when he took his middle name and this will (hopefully) be sufficient.
3. If both of those fail, I now feel educated enough to represent myself in a court local to where my dad lives, and I’ll fly home and try to do it myself.

That’s the update for the moment. I’ll keep you posted and you guys keep your fingers (and toes!) crossed for me.

2017!

Wow. Well, time really got away from me here. I have so much to belatedly update this blog on. Thanksgiving was AMAZING. The weekend after, I left for Berlin, Amsterdam, Prague, and Poland, which was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. Three days after returning from that, my mom arrived from Boston, and it was so amazing to be able to show her where I live, and watch her experience Spain/Europe for the first time. Spoiler alert, she loved Logroño and wants to retire here. Honestly, who wouldn’t? After a WONDERFUL week in Spain, we left for London and Cornwall, which was too good to even sum up accurately. Basically I spent 6 weeks trying to balance out the crap that was 2016!

Speaking of, has everyone seen this?!

I’m back in Spain now and living the post-Christmas, post-holiday, post-family, and post-Gareth blues. This is the first time Logroño hasn’t felt like home, or that I’ve felt homesick. I’ve had days where I’ve really missed people, but never where I felt out of place here. And thankfully that feeling is already fading, but getting back into the swing of things was harder than I expected it to be. Boo.

Things haven’t even really calmed down though! This weekend my friend Lee arrives, and we have two weeks with her in Spain and a weekend in Brussels to look forward to. Right after that it’s my birthday, Gareth arrives, and then the Super Bowl (let’s go Pats!), so the excitement and complete craziness will continue for about another month. Time. is. flying.

I have so much more to talk about–I renewed for another year here. I have MAJOR Italian citizenship updates. I have to figure out what my life will be this summer. But I just wanted to check in and say happy 2017, and that I´m still here.

A Weekend in Copenhagen

I’m not gonna lie, when I thought of the European cities I HAD to visit while living in Spain, Copenhagen wasn’t high on the list. Berlin, Amsterdam, Budapest? Definitely. Italy? Without a doubt. But Copenhagen? It didn’t really rank.

That was a mistake, and one I’m SO glad didn’t stop me from booking the tickets when Gareth mentioned how much he wanted to go. I’d been to Iceland before, another trip that I was excited for for personal reasons but wasn’t expecting too much from the place itself, and Iceland is now my all time favorite country to visit.

On the flight over from Madrid, everything was announced in Spanish, and then in English. On the way back it was announced in Danish and English. This speaks to the overwhelming privilege English speakers have, when a flight going to/from non-English speaking countries leaves one of those languages out in favor of English. It was also the first time since arriving in Logrono, that I felt like I understood 100% of what was going on. Oh there will be turbulence? Not a problem, because I know to expect it! Drinks service coming around? Don’t mind if I do!

My plane ride was super fun–I was sat next to two girls from Burgos who knew some English, and in a mix of our two languages we chatted throughout the flight. I’m going to visit them when I go to Burgos! About halfway through a man came on the speakers singing a really lovely song in Spanish, and he proposed to his girlfriend! It was so so nice and really romantic.

When I landed Gareth was there waiting for me. I’ve gotta say, nothing will be as hard as LA to London long distance, but seeing each other every few weeks is its own form of torture. We are constantly saying goodbye, and that is really hard! I used to hate people who complained about distance when they could see each other every few weeks, and while I would NEVER go back to what it was before, I will finally admit this version can suck too. That said, if the way we get to see each other is by meeting up in random cities every few weeks, we are so, so lucky.

Our airbnb was a bit outside of the city, but on the main metro line connecting Copenhagen to the airport, so it was incredibly convenient and much cheaper than it would have been had we stayed more central. We only had to ride that one metro the entire time. And much like our trips to Portland and Seattle, we bought a transport pass and then proceeded to walk unchecked onto every train/boat/bus we rode.

The first night we dropped off our bags and headed back into the city. After a few wrong turns and an extra 45 minutes of walking, we ended up in a really hip area our host recommended, and had a delicious dinner and shared a bottle of wine. The whole evening was so nice–the fact that we got lost meant we walked along the canal for ages, checking out the swans and the lights–because Europe doesn’t have Thanksgiving, everything is already decorated and ready for Christmas! It was freezing but everywhere we went was warm and had such great ambiance. Though much like Iceland, Copenhagen was insanely expensive. That romantic dinner? Over $150, which is the most I’ve ever spent on a meal in my life. We decided to not worry about it, and started a system where we kept track of our spending in the krone, so we wouldn’t have sticker shock after every purchase. (Just once at the end of the trip, much better.) Back in our airbnb our host had gone to bed but left us mint infused water and candles lit everywhere. Not too shabby.

The next day was unseasonably warm, meaning it was around 33 degrees. Because of the nice weather, we decided to do all the activities near the canals. We walked to the Little Mermaid statue, and checked out Kastellet, an old (but still functioning) army fortress. Then we took the riverboat metro to Nyhavn, which was my favorite part of the trip. The houses were gorgeous, there were tons of little Christmas market stalls set up, and mulled wine everywhere. Heaven.

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We wandered the area for a bit, and I bought gloves, a Christmas ornament, and we got a magnet to add to our collection. Then we crossed the bridge, and went to Copenhagen Street Food, a market with tons and tons of food stalls. It was insanely busy, and I was super overwhelmed because there were so many different options. I LOVE the food in Spain, but there is no variety. It’s all Spanish food, all the time. I wanted ethnic, and suddenly there were about 100 different kinds. I made us check out each booth while Gareth tried not to kill me, before settling on the first one we saw–BBQ pulled pork and curly fries. Delicious.

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yoko ono had an art exhibit going on

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After eating we had to decide–would we go to Christiania? Christiania is a self proclaimed autonomous region right next to Copenhagen. People basically took over an old army barracks and town in the 1970s, and decided it wasn’t part of Denmark or even the EU. It has its own laws, and has a long history of fights with the Danish police, but it’s also a progressive, artistic, hippy area. We had been going back and forth for a few days. G really wanted to go, I had heard it was seedy, dangerous, and didn’t live up to expectations. We asked our host and she said if we went through the main gates, yes, we would find the seedy side. It’s where all the pot is sold, and it the more sketchy part of town. But if we went in a side entrance, we’d be going into the actual parts of town where people lived. Not tourists looking to buy drugs, but homes and shops and bars. She convinced me, and by pure luck we happened upon one of the side entrances, and we were very suddenly and very obviously no longer in Copenhagen.

Everyone was smoking pot. I don’t smoke and because of a past experience don’t love being around it, so this put my guard up a bit at first. But G got a beer and I (who was freezing) got a hot chocolate, and suddenly I felt so much better. There were families and dogs and everyone we talked to was so, so nice. It was a very laid back, hippy sort of place, and if you relaxed a bit, it was easy to get caught up in the vibe.

That said it was freezing. And it was time to make our last decision. I had asked our host if she had any saunas she could recommend, knowing we’d be walking in the cold all day. She said the best one was in Christiania. That it was all nude, and coed, but it was a place people went with their kids. I think at first I was all for it and G was more reserved, but then as Gareth felt more and more comfortable in Christiania, he was definitely down to try and I was more hesitant, faced with the actual decision. The fact that I was freezing won out, and we headed over.

It wasn’t what I expected, but fit the town perfectly. At first, it was all dudes. Just totally naked dudes. I had to try so hard to look only at their eyes, whereas I never felt like anyone was looking at me where I wouldn’t want them to. It was on the first floor and the windows didn’t have curtains, so people outside could see right in. No one cared. There were people shaving, and showering, and apparently the sauna is used as a community bathing space, especially because some people work in town but live out in Copenhagen, too far from convenient showers, I guess.

We were given a paper bag to write our names on and put our valuables in (the people here obviously trust each other a lot more than I trust the people at my gym at home). G kept giving me chances to back out, and I stripped down to my underwear before realizing no one thought this was weird but me, and as soon as I was naked I stopped feeling weird about it at all. I did something like this in Istanbul, but it was all women and I think I might have kept my underwear on, though I can’t remember. Here you had to be naked. We showered and went into the sauna, where there were other women, some people doing yoga, some people smoking, and other just relaxing. It was REALLY nice after walking in the freezing cold all day, and we stayed for about a half an hour until the heat got too much. When we came out there were kids playing in the pools. It did feel like a community space and not uncomfortable at all.

When we left, we were totally ready to face the cold again. One of the guys who might have worked there, or might have just been a customer, was talking to us about energy and chakras, and it made me sad that Christiania gets such a bad rep. We walked out through the main gate, and passed all the stalls selling things to tourists and I’m so happy we came in a different way and that wasn’t our first impression of the town. We had a great time there.

you can't take pictures inside town, but here outside

you can’t take pictures inside town, but here outside

We went back to Nyhavn and sat under a heater and drank mulled wine and just talked and hung out. It was a really, really nice day. We finished it with hot dogs from 7/11 which sounds gross but oh my god is 7/11 so much nicer in Copenhagen than it is in the states.

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The next morning we packed our things and I tried not be sad that the weekend was already over, but excited about the fact that it had been so good and we have plans to do so many more trips like this in the coming year. Our host let us leave our bags and we went up Christiansborg Palace and the Round Tower. The former was free and the latter was I think 2.50 euros, but we both enjoyed the Round Tower more. It was so cool–to get to the top, instead of stairs it’s a stone ramp that you walk all the way up and all the way down. There was a lot more to see here, and the place was well marked with historical info and papers in both Danish and English. Also I caught a squirtle on pokemon go which has been a goal for a really long time.

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original toilet

original toilet

Afterwards we decided to go back to Nyhavn and have more mulled wine and just chill a bit before leaving for the airport. At the start of the main street, among all the stalls, was a hot dog stand. DO NOT GO TO THIS HOT DOG STAND. Please note this was the weekend after the election and I had been having a really hard time feeling any sort of happiness at all. This trip was an escape from the depressing reality my country was now in. Anyway, we decided to get hot dogs. The menu was just pictures of different hot dogs with no descriptions of what they actually were. So I asked him what three different ones were and ordered two of them. He only got out one bun, and as there were some pictured on the menu sans bun, I asked if we could both have buns on our hot dogs. Apparently this was a HUGE INSULT and the guy went off. He really rudely asked me if I was okay with him toasting the buns one at a time, and embarrassed I had offended him so much, I was like, “Yes of course, I was just making sure you knew what we wanted.” He huffed at me and turned to Gareth and started a REALLY sexist and sexual rant about women. It was horrible. We were both so shocked, and then he turned back to me and asked what I would allow him to put on the hot dog. I was so frozen. I think if it had happened two weeks earlier, I would have yelled back. But I was already feeling so defeated and hopeless. I stood there in shock for a moment, said we didn’t want them anymore, and walked just far enough away so he couldn’t see me and burst into tears. Now I wish I had the name of his stall so I could post all over the internet to never give this man your business, but I didn’t plan that well. It was the only hot dog stand on the street. He was a grumpy old man with a runny nose. Those are the details I remember.

UPDATE I found a picture of the stand!

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hos michael, you suck. sincerely, women.

Anyway, after that we decided to just head to the airport. We got in early enough that we were able to get dinner there and play some cards. And though the trip ended on a sour note, it was actually SO lovely and such a nice time, and the mean hot dog man didn’t ruin the trip at all. I highly, highly recommend Copenhagen, and really hope I can go back some day. I think we had the perfect itinerary for just two days, but I’d like to stay for longer. I’m also feeling really motivated to check out Norway, Sweden, and Finland now too!

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Spain, Two Month Update

I’m a little late with this, and it’s actually been about two and a half months, but oh well. Here are my updates!

Central Theme: I still love Spain! Shocking, I’m sure. 

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what Logroño looks like right now

I FINALLY finished everything I need to do to be able to stay in Spain long term. I picked up my ID card from the ayuntamiento on Friday and can finally stop worrying about complicated Spanish paperwork!

Spanish

My Spanish is getting so much better. I’m definitely not speaking perfectly, but I’m getting my point across, and I’m FINALLY at the point where I can speak without taking forever to think about each word I want to say before saying it. For more difficult things, like bank account problems, or maybe getting a kitten(?!?!) to make Brady less lonely, I have my bilingual roommate come with me. Also the more I learn the more I realize how little I know, but in most general situations I am totally self sufficient.

Social Life

My two roommates are awesome, I met a great British girl, and honestly I’m spending like every other weekend with Gareth. Other than the Katie shaped hole that will never ever go away, I’m really happy socially. Also though my schedule SOUNDS really open, I’m actually working from like 9-9 every day with the downtime during a siesta in the middle, so by the time I get home it’s late and I’m so happy to just hang out. Basically I am old and the Spanish nightlife is something I am no longer able to keep up with.

We did have a Halloween party, which was fun because Halloween isn’t really that big of a deal here, so it was an American/Auxiliar bonding session.

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Schedule

I teach at my school 12 hours a week, 4 hours a day on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I do private lessons from 4-6 on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Spanish lessons from 8-9 on Mondays and 7-8:30 on Tuesdays. I have Wednesdays off from the school but I have a Spanish class 1-2, and then private lessons 3:30-8:30, and then Thursday I work at the school, do private lessons from 3:30-6:00, and Spanish class from 7-8:30. It feels like a lot, teaching is exhausting but I LOVE my private lessons, the families are all so nice and the main reason I feel connected to Spain.

The school is still not ideal. I’m supposed to be an assistant but I’m being treated as a full teacher with my own classroom and such. As someone who doesn’t speak Spanish and is NOT A TRAINED TEACHER it’s pretty hard. So that’s my schedule. Also EVERYTHING closes from 2-5 which is the worst cause it’s mostly the only time I have off, and nothing is open on Sundays. I am bad at planning ahead and this leads to me eating a lot of rice.

Logroño

Logroño continues to be such an amazing place to live. A little while after Halloween they had a festival because it was the anniversary of the last “witch” to be hung in Europe–she was hung in Logroño. There were stalls selling tons of handmade crafts and food, and they put on a truly creepy show about the history of the event. And then, because it’s Spain, we all got to go on stage and drink mead from the cauldron.

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The weather is starting to change. At first the cold was killing me–and by cold I mean about 40 degrees. All through college I used to sleep with a fan in my window–even in the winter! My roommates hated me! I loved the cold. LA changed that. Changed me. When I first moved there I hated the lack of real weather–sunny and 75 was horrible. Now I love it so much. If the sky isn’t a perfect blue, I feel instantly depressed and lazy. That said, eventually I realized I would feel better if I bought a coat and scarf and gloves, and actually prepared for the dropping temperature. Shockingly enough that has really my outlook. Now I’m enjoying the diverse weather (though the fact that it gets dark at like 6 is still depressing). It’s raining right now and I have my big windows open, and I’m sitting in bed drinking tea. It’s really nice.

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Travel

Gareth and I hiked part of the GR 93, which was fantastic.

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We also went to Copenhagen, and it reaffirmed my total and complete love for Scandinavia. Iceland is still my favorite place I’ve ever been, but Copenhagen came close.

Upcoming Travel

It’s Thanksgiving week, and I leave tomorrow for London! We’re having a proper Thanksgiving meal with a Turkey and all the fixings. I can’t wait! I haven’t been to London since my birthday and I REALLY miss my friends there.

I get back to Spain on Sunday and leave that Friday for 10 days of Christmas Markets! Gareth and I are doing Berlin and Amsterdam, and then I’m meeting one roommate in Prague for a few days before we’ll head to Poland and meet our other roommate for the weekend. I’m SO EXCITED. If you know anything about me it’s that I LOVE Christmas. And Thanksgiving. And markets.

About four days after I get back from Poland my mom arrives for the holidays, which I’m so excited about I can barely type the sentence. She’s never left the states! She’s coming to SPAIN. She didn’t even come to LA. I can’t wait to show her around,  I think she’s going to love it here. Also our moms will be meeting for the first time, which is exciting and scary and wonderful.

The Election

Also, the election happened. I haven’t said anything about it because I really don’t know what to say. Actually, I thought that was true and then I started typing and the words were flowing. So this will be a separate post. Not a happy one, but that’s the general theme of the entire election, so why stop now.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It’s weird not being in America on such a major holiday–I had work this morning, and it’s felt like any other day. That said I’m currently sitting in the airport waiting to fly to London, where I’ll be spending the weekend with my friends. We’ll have a full Thanksgiving on Saturday, so I still get to celebrate, just a few days late!

This year has been hard for the world in a lot of ways, but there’s so much to be thankful and hopeful for. The country is rallying together after a tough, disheartening election. Donations to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and other rights organizations are up by so much. When I donated to the recount fund last night, there were $2250,000 in donations. There’s now nearly 3.5 million!

Also there will be NEW GILMORE GIRLS EPISODES TOMORROW.

On a personal note, I’m getting to travel around Europe, something I’ve dreamt about for years. I’m learning Spanish.  In a few short weeks my mom will be traveling to Spain. Three of my good friends have recently gotten engaged. Gareth and I are on the same continent! Seeing each other is so easy now, and I can’t believe how amazing it feels. It is so, so hard to be a world apart, but even worse, 8 hours apart, from the person you love. I’m SO glad we’re past that now. And I get to spend this holiday, and the coming holidays, with him (and BOTH our families!).

All my friends in London have rallied around Thanksgiving. Everyone is brining a dish and we’re not missing any major Thanksgiving staples. I can’t wait to see them all, I haven’t been to London since my spur of the moment birthday trip last winter! I’m thankful that I have family and friends in the states that are so amazing that I miss them too much. I’m thankful I amazing friends here, as well.

I hope everyone has a fantastic day full of food, football, family, and friends!