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!