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Dual Italian Citizenship: When the Going Gets Rough (you hire a lawyer)

Hi friends, I know it’s been too long since my last post, and while I have a huge backlog of stuff (G’s visit, I saw Kesha in Vegas!, etc), something really big/exciting happened last week that I want to talk about.

My last post about Italian Citizenship was not a happy one. I think we all deal with bad news in different ways, like I said earlier mine is to immediately get sad and feel beaten, and then get angry and SUPER motivated. My already low amount of patience ceases to exist, and I go into research overdrive until I come up with a game plan. This time was a little more difficult, because it was so dependent on other people, but when I’m determined, I’m pretty unstoppable.

I made two appointments, one with a lawyer, and one with a full service company that doesn’t charge you until they’ve successfully gotten you dual citizenship (what a deal!). I spoke with the latter first, and we went over their various packages. One of which was to apply directly in Italy, which was really appealing minus the thousands and thousands of dollar price tag.

These guys were super thorough though, and I wish I could go back in time and talk to them before ever applying. I don’t think I would be in this position if I had–I could have applied through a totally different family line, which I did NOT know. However, by the time we talked it was, of course, too late.

I could start all over, but would probably run into the same issues (Anglicization of names), and Massachusetts, where all my vital records are from, does not allow such documents to be amended. I’d need a court order, which is exactly what I need now anyway. These guys wouldn’t take me on for the apply in Italy route, even if I could afford it, because I’m definitely not a sure thing, and they didn’t want to do all the work and end up with me rejected again and them not seeing a dime. Applying myself, or through another company, would be a risk, and an expensive one I don’t feel great about taking.

So after that convo I was fairly unhappy. All my good options seemed to have disappeared, and I was pretty much stuck. The lawyer couldn’t talk to me for another few weeks, and mostly I was left sit around and ponder how the consulate woman slept at night, being such a life ruiner.

What I need is a one and the same court order. Basically it takes all the differing, conflicting documents (Giovanni to John, incorrect birth dates, etc) and the court reviews them and orders that Giovanni born on December 10th is the same person as John born on December 11th. And that goes all the way down to me. In theory, a consulate can’t reject this, because it’s the highest certification the American government can give regarding our records. If it’s denied, the burden of proof falls on the Italian government to prove that I am not eligible, shifting from me having to prove I am.

This was stressful because I didn’t have any options when it came to hiring a lawyer, there was one woman with experience and basically no one else. (This is definitely an untapped market, lawyers looking for work!) She’s based in NY and again, all of my stuff is from MA, so we weren’t even sure she could represent me. However, we found out my great great grandparents arrived through Ellis Island, which should allow the NY courts to hear my case.

It’s all a bit scary, because there are no guarantees. What if they won’t hear my case? What if they deny me? What if the LA consulate STILL rejects me? What if it all comes to a really expensive nothing? Also WHY am I even doing it anymore, in the wake of the madness that is Brexit?! (The answer to that last one is for myself and my own European dreams, and not just for a relationship #girlpower.)

There are a lot of unknowns and it’s still really expensive (just under $2,000 total). But after quite a bit of research, I realized it was pretty much my only option, and one I’m really glad exists. Without this lawyer I’d be pretty much at a dead end.

So last week I signed the contract and officially hired her. The money was sent over and we are officially in business. The ball is rolling once more! My order should come through in the first week of September. Then it gets translated and sent off to the consulate, where I’m sure it’ll get stuck in months of purgatory, but maybe not because in theory all the work is taken out of it. I’ll have definitively proven a successful claim. Please, please cross your fingers for me. I so badly want to be on the other side of this, it’s hard to even put into words. But it feels AMAZING knowing it’s back in motion. Things are happening!

one day, you will be mine

one day, you will be mine

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Hollywood Assistant – What I Do

Before I moved to LA I crazily searched the internet for blogs about Hollywood assistants. It was such an unknown world, but one that had quite the reputation. Everything I read said it would be hard, demeaning, demanding, and that the pay would be terrible. I was told to expect to be screamed at, to be ready to dodge office supplies that may be thrown in my direction, and be prepared to sort M&Ms so only the “right” colors were left in the bowl.

My experience? Pretty different from that, though I can see how those stories got started. Also I do know people personally who have had all of those things happen. It’s allowed, you can put up with it or find a new job, but I definitely would not say it’s the norm.

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Christina Italia?

Sorry I went so radio silent! A lot has happened these past few weeks, which luckily means I have a lot to catch up on. First, Gareth came!! And we went to Portland and Seattle and had super memorable (and vastly different) experiences at both. Then I heard back from Italy, which is what this post is going to be about. I also got promoted and and got another huge piece of news, but that one I’m keeping under wraps for a while longer.

So. Italy. Remember when I said I didn’t care what they said, if only I could hear back? Remember when I was innocent and oh so naive? Remember when I thought I’d be Italian by the end of May? … Do you see where this is going?

It happened in the saddest way too. It was my sister’s birthday. I got an email that basically said see the attached. It was the form you fill out to be registered on AIRE, where Italian citizens are registered. Getting on there means you are a citizen. Cut to me crying happy tears, on the phone with my mom feeling total joy. Feeling the world at my fingertips. THE WORLD WAS WIDE OPEN, you guys. Then I notice the second attachment. This one was all in Italian and was just a REALLY long list. A list of problems. Basically every document I have needs changing in some way. My dad used his middle name on his marriage license, but not on his birth certificate. This needs to be changed. My great, great grandfather changed his Italian name from Giovanni to John. Not okay. The list is long and overwhelming and seemingly full of doom. (It is also, to quote some friends who have also gotten their citizenship, unbelievable, vindictive, unwinnable, and pedantic.)

So I let it crush me for the afternoon. I cried. I decided it was hopeless. I sent SIX emails trying to bargain my way out of the reject pile. Well, not rejected. Pending. Upon completion of all of these millions of changes.

Then I got mad, and angry Kristen is usually productive. I would not let this petty consulate woman win. Because I had talked about the name discrepancies with the original woman who worked there, and she said a signed affidavit that all the people were the same would be enough. And until she left it was. Enter Luisa. Enter MUCH stricter guidelines. And no grandfather clause for this girl.

So I looked into options. One was to go and try to apply in Italy. That’s still an option, but not one I can currently pursue, what with my job (and promotion!) and such. So that’s on the back burner. However, I am incapable of letting things lie. If there’s something that CAN be done, I have to do it. So I’m also looking into actually hiring a lawyer to make all the necessary changes. The problem is that no one ever does this, except for Italian citizenship, so 99.9% of lawyers don’t know the protocol. I’ve spent two weeks looking for a lawyer and I’ve found one, MAYBE two. The one I have found has done this successfully quite a few times, and I’d feel great in her hands.

However, her hands are in New York. And getting the government to allow them into Massachusetts where she’d need to be, could cost up to $900. And that’s not even taking into account her actual fee or the $300 consult I’d have to do to even find out what her fee is. Then there’s my mother’s ex-coworker’s niece (yep, 6 degrees of separation right here), who is an immigration lawyer in Boston, and is apparently familiar with Italian citizenship claims. She’s currently looking at my list of necessary changes, and I’m HOPING I’ll hear back from her tomorrow, just to know if it’s a case she thinks she can take, and also what her rate is, because it’s been two weeks and I can’t get even a BALLPARK figure of how much this is going to cost me. And, you know, I’m vaguely curious.

Italy would probably be between $1200-4000 depending on what route I take (the $4,000 would be a last resort and probably a few years off, kill me now, but it’s 100% guaranteed), so I’ve got a few spoons in the fire.

Maybe I seem proactive and a little positive about this, but it honestly sent me into a huge tailspin for a few days. I have to drive past the consulate every day on my way from work, and I used to see it and imagine my file up there, waiting to be looked over. Knowing it was coming, could come any day. The hope, oh how I miss the hope.

Now I’m back at square one, and it’s so depressing. Back to being intensely questioned at the border every time I visit Gareth. Back to only being able to stay for three months and not being able to work while there. It’s not like I was planning on moving there any time soon, but knowing I CAN’T, knowing the only way for us to live together until this is sorted (and it’s already been 18 months, so it could go so much longer), is to get married, really sucks. Or we could just move to New Zealand and be done with it (I’m only half kidding, have you seen that place!?).

Basically, I’m sad, and a bit hopeless, but also really mad and willing to do whatever it freaking takes to get this done, because the best way to motivate me is to tell me no. So maybe it won’t be as soon (or as (relatively) cheap) as hoped, but this girl WILL be Italian. Mark my words!

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Italy Rant

I’m going to rant a bit, so please bear with me. But I’ve still not heard anything about Italian citizenship. And not just me–the December peeps haven’t heard anything as well.

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this is me

We know she got up to November, because she tried to retroactively reject someone who applied then (my biggest nightmare) because in the 1.5 years since his appointment he had moved from the jurisdiction. NEVER MIND that there’s no rule whatsoever that states that post application you must remain in the area for the indiscriminate amount of time it takes for them to finally process you. Ignoring that during this time they can have NO ONE working on the applications for MONTHS at a time. No, you stay put for a few years while we sort it out. Ugh. (This was eventually contested and overruled, thank god.)

But nothing since then. No one from December has heard anything, no one from January, and definitely no one from February (where I’m at). It’s so frustrating. I have a legitimate question–when I applied back in 2014 I didn’t need my non-linear documents (the birth/death certs for the wives, basically). Which was great, mainly cause I didn’t have them. However, the new woman is requiring them, and if I’ll need them to complete my application YEARS LATER, I’d like to know now so I can start collecting them, and avoiding adding another few weeks/months to my processing time.

I emailed asking about this two weeks ago. I’ve called every day since. No reply. And the phone rings and rings until eventually a robot voice comes on suggesting I call back when they’re closed. Which I tried and that goes STRAIGHT to an automated message saying to call back when they are open.

It’s so beyond frustrating that the information is being withheld. If someone would answer and just say yes or no. Just say, oh we’re working on it but it’s slow going so we’re still on December. ANYTHING to imply there are actual living humans working on this thing that is so incredibly important to me. Pero nada. Es horrible.

I really thought I’d have it by the end of May. That hope is QUICKLY dwindling, but it HAS to be soon. Right?!?!

 

<a href=”http://www.kyranarcher.com/frustration-and-a-return/”>source</a>

Actualización Español

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It’s time for a Spanish update, but I’ve been having such a hard time writing one. I’m feeling very bipolar about the whole thing; there are some days I could jump with total joy at how far I’ve come, and other days I feel like the most linguistically challenged person in the world. Those days pretty much suck BUT I need to remember there’s a lot to feel good about.

First and foremost, I can roll my r’s with the best of them now, honestly to the point where I can’t remember the struggle. It’s like winking–once you can do it, you can just do it. No thought or effort required. I can also read fairly well–things that I saw when I first started studying and had NO clue what they meant, I now fully understand. My listening is getting better, too, and my pronunciation has improved quite a bit. At this point I’m just over half way through the second Pimsleur level, which means I’ve started with the preterite and the conditional. I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on indirect/direct object pronouns, regular verbs in preterite/imperfect, and just a lot more confidence overall. The problem is that I’m at an impasse on where to go next, which is overwhelming and frustrating.

Kristen, meet brick wall

Kristen, meet brick wall

Other than Pimsleur, I’ve made myself stop moving forward until I feel like I’ve fully grasped everything I’ve covered thus far. I’ve got a fairly decent understanding of the preterite and imperfect, but don’t feel very comfortable with most irregular verbs, in any tense, and my vocab is also seriously falling behind.

For grammar I’m mostly following the studyspanish website, which I love. I bought grammar books, and while I do still love Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish, the website is far better than the workbook I bought. That said, the next section I’m up to is the subjunctive, and a big part of me feels like I should master the irregular conjugations, get a more comfortable with por vs para, and maybe review comparisons, which just refuse to stick with me, before moving forward.

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That said, I have taken a break to review, and don’t feel like that’s helping much either. I think maybe the best plan is to move forward with grammar, continue with Pimsleur like normal, but maybe place a (much) higher emphasis on vocab. Considering I’ve basically only been learning the words from Pimsleur and the few duolingo words that stick, it’s probably prettttty necessary.

I also keep putting off getting a language partner, and I feel like I’m like so close to being ready for one. But maybe I’ll never actually feel ready for one and it’s just about making the leap. I think I’ll continue with the Pimsleur and self study for the next few weeks, and when Gareth leaves at the end of May, I’ll hopefully be finished with level 2 and then I will definitely get one!

Also I made yet another super embarrassing video of myself talking. It’s crazy how much I freeze as soon as I feel pressure, even just the pressure of a computer camera alone in mi oficina. But so I can continue to track: