Sunday, May 21, 2017

pass it on, passaparola

Today I am in bed all day doing nothing but watching Italian television. I found Amore, pensaci tu! which is 12 episodes long and is a good consolation for me now that Tutti Pazzi per Amore is long gone. T finds my viewing habits low brow. I don't care.

Courtney did her part and went and had her birthday dinner at Il Merlo, the restaurant where Emmanuel works. She profited from this happy circumstance by talking up Emmanuel and the fine food establishment a destra e a manco. God bless her food loving heart. 


Emmanuel, in turn, seems to be keeping his chatty landlord happy and will drink all the coffee and listen to all the Italian she wants to offer him. F will take him back to the questura on Tuesday, his day off, to see if his new permesso has arrived. 

Taxi, anyone?

Also, we got good news from Gabry. Thanks to us and our neighbors across the way, he was able to finally buy that taxi he has long been dreaming of. If you see this, send him a good thought. Because, you know, passaparola. 

nella brace/into the frying pan
Just as Emmanuel promised to try his best at the new job we got him, a friend of his who is also Paul's best friend - Ali - got himself arrested. Ali is in the same legal predicament as Emmanuel was a few weeks ago because he has gotten two of his appeals for political asylum rejected and is onto his third. For this reason he does not have a valid stay permit. He was caught begging without the right documents. The vigili took him to the police station and then they handcuffed him. He had a panic attack because he didn't want the cuffs because in his mind he didn't want them to think he was a criminal; so he resisted the officers and got written up for that, too. If we don't get the landlord to write him a hospitality letter, the lawyer that I got him through a friend for an appointment Wednesday won't be able to help him at all. He must go before the judge on the first of June for the criminal charges. 

Ali kept me waiting hours for him to come on my day off and have me read the papers they gave him and make copies of them. I had to explain that I only do this work on a schedule. Group members know that they have to honor the times we give, but he is not even in our group. It is just that Paul told me he needed me to help his best friend. After I made the copies I gave him a fake doctor's note with 20 euros hidden in it so he could eat without begging for a stretch. 

All of this happened while the donation picnic was looming. The weather reports were different on every single website. I was fully stressed trying to figure out what to do. If I had thought it through better, I would have realized that the even hint of an idea of a rain plan would mean that almost no Italians would come. We had made a rain plan for the bookstore cafe, but then at the meeting time, the sky was fairly clear and the sun was out. I waited by myself out there for about 25 minutes. The group of six that did show up were at the wrong spot. I reached out to Simonetta, and she made a massive effort in between errands for her own kids and brought a bag of shoes to boot. 









Jennifer and Tina took the train and F met them there to take them to where I had set up the food and the blowing bubbles for the kids. About one quarter of the people who said they would come came, but the people who came were really really sweet. Two ladies told me that I could email them a list of things that the families needed. Others, like Stefania and Marco, whose son and daughter are holding Peace in that killer photo, brought lots of groceries and stuff for the babies. All the sudden the sky got dark. I got umbrellas and baby stroller covers at the same Chinese market where I had gotten the bubbles, but we were not prepared for how fast the storm came on and the fact that the strollers did not fold up. 

At the end, Marco and his son were the only ones left with us and we had to get the stuff from his car. The men could not fold the stroller and managed to put it back together backwards. Marco wanted some guidance, but F would not speak Italian to him, so they were both standing there staring at me while F flapped his arms about. They took off to deal with transfering the stuff from one car to another.

Tina and Jennifer did not want to be separated from their strollers to enter the car, which left us all on foot and me in the rain trying to cover all of them while I got soaked. I got them to a bike shop where I begged the men to fix the stroller, which they eventually did after 20 minutes of effort. Then I had to run into my old hair parlor, where embarrassingly enough I don't get my hair done anymore, and beg them for tape to hold those cheap stroller covers together with. I had to bite the duck tape in the rain with my teeth. Then I pushed Wisdom's stroller because he was crying and Jennifer had to carry him on her back in a wrap. Peace started crying so we had to push two empty strollers 20 blocks to the train station. When we got there, it stopped raining.

I can only imagine that the groceries and donations got to their houses ahead of them with F nice and dry and in style. I am quite sure that we could have done better. And any solution would have been better than that one. Tina was so mad she would hardly look at me at the end. And then I walked home like a wet cat in a very fabulous walk of shame. 


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Behind door number 4
Unfortunately, the answer was behind door number four. Emmanuel felt that he was being taken advantage of because he is asked to work 14 hours a day for about 3 euros an hour. And this is understandable. That is how it works, though. It is normal here. There is a minimum salary for dishwashers; and it is a base rate, not an hourly rate. The hours required are long. He has to bicycle back and forth to work and back and forth for the afternoon break. He lives in a tiny room without a kitchen. I get it.

On the other hand, we invested a lot of money and time to get him this job. Better or other jobs, without exageration, do not exist. Without this job, he will get deported. This job is the only way he can ever live with his son while he is young. It is between this job and begging on the street, which is not lucrative or legal. I did not invent the reality. Emmanuel is angry and surprised and so is the chef. As a situation, it is not great. We gave him a pep talk and suggested that he view it as being in the military. He has to do it or he is out. He has to demonstrate a certain dedication and loyalty to the chef and it must show not only in his performance, but in his attitude. 
Lightening bolts and whatnot

Yesterday was not fun. I have had this cold with a migraine three different times in the last two weeks.

Early in the evening, T looked at her SAT ticket and realized that the college board had changed the location of her test in June for the third time without notifying us first. We had already cancelled airbnb reservations and made new ones. We had reconciled ourselves to the fact that we would have to drive three hours to a test center that we did not choose because the one nearer our house would not accept a student with diabetes who would be wearing an insulin pump and might need to check her blood sugar during the test. The way we kept finding the changes was from changes to her computerized ticket and not via email or phone call. Two phone calls to the accommodations department that included lots of being on hold and trying to maintain a level voice happened. I finally got one agent who was so nice that I told her I loved her. Because I do. I love you, agent 21115. She said that they were working to grant our original request this whole time, but there was not great communication between two of their offices and there was a failure to notify us of what was happening. Also, there are only a certain number of spaces for students who need accommodations at any given center; but students drop out and give up those spaces, if they change their mind about test dates. The test is in two weeks.

In the midst of all that, I got a call from the chef who hired Emmanuel. He said that Emmanuel was not the bolt of lightening that I had advertised him to be. In fact, he was a slow worker who needed too much instruction. The chef said he was annoyed that Emmanuel asked for Sunday off to go to mass, when he knows that Tuesday is the day the restaurant is closed. He said he did not think the job placement was going to work out and that I should tell Emmanuel that he was not doing a good job. I was completely taken aback. I could not reach Emmanuel on the phone. I called Job to talk to his brother in Nigerian about it and explain. Emmanuel called me after midnight, but I had the phone turned off because I suspected he would and I needed to sleep. I don't know what to think. 

It could be a language and communication problem.

It could be that the chef wanted our incentive money, but never intended to keep Emmanuel. But then why would he publicly like the photos I posted? That doesn't make sense. Also I don't think he would give me the courtesy call to say he was disappointed in Emmanuel, if it was part of some big plot or scheme.

It could be that Emmanuel is being thorough, but not fast enough.

It could be that Emmanuel thought with a job contract, he was not at risk of getting fired so when he was tired or hungry, maybe he gave in to that.

It could be a big transition for him from begging on the street to working 14 hours a day and riding 6 km on a bicycle between the four trips back and forth from his new lodgings. 

It could be that Emmanuel feels taken advantage of, considering the number of hours work in comparison to the pay, and so he was trying to exercise some degree of strength in the situation. 

Whatever it is, I hope that it doesn't lead to him getting fired. I keep repeating to myself that some things are just outside my control. I wanted to help this group of people, but I am not responsible for them. I can only do so much. But I can't lie. It is weighing on me and F a lot. It would be a blow, if Emmanuel lost the job in the first month. Today and tomorrow morning he has off. Tomorrow he wants to have a talk face to face with F because phone communication is not very clear. Well, readers, this is a blog and not a fairytale. I can't promise it all works out in the end. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mini Vacation
F and I escaped to Parma and Bologna for a brief, but much needed vacation. We also decided that Parma is where we are going to live after T goes to university. We stayed in a little tower apartment with a cool terrace and jacuzzi tub. The guy was nice enough, but the towels were scratchy and there was no wine or extra pillows for the  rather inflated price. I thought we were good guests so I was surprised to hear the host yelling at me from my cell phone on the car ride home. It turned out he thought I was a courrier who had failed to deliver some vases. In my exhaustion, I thought he was mad that I had forgotten to flush the toilet. I kept saying, but Riccardo, it was just pee. No, not really. I just kept saying, non capisco, non capisco .. until he realized he had the wrong number.

Before we left, F charmed Emmanuel's landlady Franca with a mother's day bouquet and got her to agree to letting him have a mini fridge and a microwave, while I hid around the corner bra-less. I immediately went bra shopping in Parma. It is a long and hormonal story. We ate nachos and looked out at the rain. We drove to Bologna and realized that we are no longer big city people. Parma is the right size for us. We want to work at the University there.
Emmanuel proudly wearing his restaurant jacket.
So Emmanuel is happier than we've ever seen him. His whole body hurts from working so hard and riding 6 km on his bike every day, but he is happy. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

The List
The list of things I have to do to go on a 24 hour vacation outside of Lucca:

1. Make an appointment for Tina at Caritas to get baby food.
2. Make an appointment for Jennifer to reschedule Widsom's vaccinations that he missed.
3. Give Job a peace sign necklace made out of a skateboard. (I couldn't resist!)
4. Give Cool a coconut cake F made him for his birthday today.
5. Buy a rug, a mini fridge, a microwave, a bicycle vest, a mosquito net for Emmanuel.
6. Get a bouquet of flowers for Emmanuel's landlady and give her a hundred euro for electricity for said devices.
7. Take an imaginary valium.
8. Leave two pitchers of coffee for T.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

We DID it, Emmanuel!   

At times like this, you just think God Bless Everyone. And I do think that. But, if I am being honest, I also have to send just a gigantic vaffanculo to the lawyer who handled his original case who told me that Emmanuel was going to be deported and could not stay in Italy. I am glad we didn't listen to you because now he has a work contract that he signed today. It happened right after I nagged the living cavolo out of the Chef's accountant. F went with him while I was teaching. They signed an 11 page work contract. Then I got a hold of the new landlady and made an appointment with her. While I finished up some of my final tests at Fabio Perini, Job helped Emmanuel pack up his things, and F loaded them into our car. We then moved him into his new little house and set his alarm clock, so he won't oversleep. F did a practice run with him on his bike so that he could know how to ride from the new house to the new job. We have to pick up a few things for him like a microwave and a fridge, but he is basically set. Now he just has to become a really excellent dishwasher and win his second try at getting political asylum. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Emmanuel cried with joy. It was pretty amazing. 





Saturday, May 06, 2017

Baby steps all around

After we got Emmanuel his precious attestato nominativo, a document which will buy him some time and possibly a new start, we thought we had it made in the shade. I let the chef, the chef's accountant, and Emmanuel's lawyer know the good news and sent them the proof. And then nothing. No one got back to me. The next day I got the stomach flu and felt like I was in giving birth without drugs kind of pain for about 15 hours. I also ruined my chance at a weekend getaway to Bologna with F that I had really been looking forward to. While I was sick, Stanley called and asked me for money. He is not in the group; but I was there for the birth of his baby. He got called to sign a potential work contract in Sweden, but has not paid his rent in three months. I can be fine with his asking, if he can be fine with me saying no. That is our deal. Sometimes I say yes, sometimes I can't. But he started telling me about how I had to do it for the baby and pleading in a dramatic way that was unnecessary. We told him it was the last time. The thing is, we are not going to block him in a moment where he might be able to become independent. It is true that they are a young couple, but they come off as the least sincere in their dealing with us out of everyone. 

It was Tina's birthday on the day I was ill. I sang to her in the morning on the phone, but then today we went to drop off gifts for Peace and Wisdom and the clothes for their moms. Jennifer was feuding with her landlord when we got there. We stayed out of it. He has never fixed the plumbing. Tina is also feuding with her landlord over the faulty plumbing, which the water and gas company say is making her utility bill double. The landlady won't fix it because she says that the extra guests they have are using up the water and gas (not true). It is a mess. F made Tina a coconut cake and we designed a poster of all the baby's photos since she was born. Then we got it framed. The best gift of the day was from this nice lady named Lynda Latke who donated a beautiful, dark skinned baby doll to Peace. Peace is giving kisses and scooching/crawling around the house. She has a wonderful fake laugh that is part cough; she uses it to get us all in a good mood. What can I say? It works!

Finally, the lawyer called last night and said that the accountant had been busy, but they have a phone meeting set up for 10 AM on Monday. After that, Emmanuel can get his work contract, move, and start a new phase of his life. We have to hope that the accountant is as precise as she appears to be, because at 10:05, Francesco, the lawyer, has to be in session with a judge. I have never waited so much in my life. The last time I was this impatient, I was pregnant with T and had already imagined every instant of her life up through college.

Happy Birthday, Tina!











Thursday, May 04, 2017

Papers in hand
Courtney & Emmanuel in front of the questura
It is all a blur. Emmanuel was first on line at the questura, but somebody cut him in line and proceeded to have a yelling fight with our immigration agent guy. F worried he would be in a bad mood, but the bald old grump was nice (for him). The female agent called Emmanuel's name and would not let F or Courtney accompany him to translate, but luckily the woman doing the paperwork does not speak Nigerian accented English, so she did the least and asked almost no questions, according to Emmanuel. It worked to our advantage. 
 
Then Courtney met the inspector and convinced him that for the chef's sake he should fill out the C3 forms to open a new political asylum request for Emmanuel. They did it and fingerprinted him and told him to come back in ten working days for the hard copy of his new, temporary stay permit. There was a shaky bit of the negotiation process about Emmanuel's right to work in which the inspector answered Courtney's question with the Italian hand gesture that means so-so. In other words, everything that Emmanuel is going through legally is largely unchartered territory because, if it was not such a difficult and expensive ordeal, they probably would have put him on a plane back to where he started by now. Since no one wants refugees wandering around undocumented and begging, it behooves everybody if he has a job, although some people would rather that he not do too well, either. It hurts my brain to think about that. 
 
After a day of teaching back to back classes, I went to Viareggio to deliver bread and cash to the old lady who is going to host Emmanuel. She signed the papers we needed her to sign, but then she asked us to deliver groceries to her daughter in Massarosa. We were not in a position to object. She called me hours later to tell me about a book reading she went to and to say that she found the bread a tad salty. I suspect Emmanuel will have his ear talked off, but maybe they will become dear friends. 
 
Right before brushing my teeth, the lawyer finally responded that he will coach the chef's accountant about how to make up a work contract with these unusual, but totally legal, documents that we have got him in the hail mary of all hail marys that has ever existed. Amen. 
 
I will not breathe properly until I see that man in an apron, washing dishes. But today went well. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Dinah, honey, sit down for this one

And all other readers might want to sit down for this one, too. This is some crazy crazy batshit crazy stuff I am about to tell you.

One. Emmanuel did an all night vigil at the church last night.

Two, I know from the naming ceremony that his name means Walks With God. 

My name is Brothers so I know what's up. This is how it went down:

I stayed up late last night waiting for the owner of Emmanuel's current place of residence to answer my pleas to write me a one line note, sign it, and send it back to me on her phone. She never answered me. She said she had to work until 11:30 PM. I waited. In the morning I check the phone and WhatsApp and the email. Nothing. I started coming up with schemes, but all of them seemed far fetched and desperate. Lots of them involved a stake out for DeWill on his return from Verona and how we would make him sign the forms and let us copy his documents. 

Today I gave birthday presents to Glory, the teenager who came here by herself, and is being supervised by The Red Cross. She had good news yesterday that she will soon be given a stay permit. We also made her cupcakes. Her favorite flavor is strawberry. 

Then Cool made me wait for him for 45 minutes because he had something urgent to talk to me about. It turned out he want 50 euros from the account we set up for him. 

Next we made our way to Montecatini where we dropped off a birthday cake F made for baby Wisdom with Jennifer who is planning a party for him tomorrow. 

Then we picked up Emmanuel. We had to wait for him to come out of the shower. All the men were in the bathroom because they had called for a barber to come and all the Nigerians were getting haircuts to look good for baby Jordan's African naming ceremony today. Jordan is the baby of Ezekiel and the Italian woman Alessia. 

Anyway, I played Mary J. Blige's What's the 411 for Emmanuel and we drove back to the same police station that rejected us yesterday. The plan was that I would wait in the car because when I am angry, I say stuff. And I was not in a patient mood today. I told F and Emmanuel to walk in and pretend that they had never been there before in their lives and look to see if the bastard from yesterday was lurking around. I told them to try to ask the female agent for help. Twenty seconds later I saw the guys walking back to the car. My heart dropped. Then F raised up a sheet of paper and smiled. The lady stamped that bad boy and we are golden. That is the last piece of paperwork we know about that we need for the meeting with the police inspector on Wednesday. 

Victory!

Welcome Baby Jordan!

first glimpse



Next we went to the bar to celebrate the new baby. Alessia's family disowned her for being with Ezekiel, but everyone assumed we were Italian because we were the only white people in attendence at the only Dominican bar in Montecatini where the party was to take place. It was a little awkward during the ceremony. The pastor went on and on about a name is more important than money. He asked everyone what their name meant and was legitimately taken aback to find out that the mother of the baby's name was not Happy or Love or Sunday, but Alessia. He laughed it off, saying you really must love her then. It was weird. Then they translated the English into Italian for us, for some reason. Emmanuel found the whole thing very entertaining. 

Peace just kissed Freedom, I know, I know

Then Peace showed up, and I got my hugs in. And I felt hopeful for the first time in a long while.





Tina with Freedom and Peace




Friday, April 28, 2017

Disaster .. possibly woman-made
And I would be that woman. I got dropped off outside the police station in Montecatini. I was very early that no one else was there. An officer so handsome that he seemed like a model/actor playing the part of an officer locked eyes with me. The chemistry was undeniable. He let me into the inner sanctum, even though immigrant business is strictly outdoor and on-line and first come only. He made copies of some of the documents and told me that as soon as one of his immigration specializing colleagues arrived, they would take care of me. I felt almost smug. I ushered Emmanuel inside. 
 
I went in to meet with the immigration agent, and I was happy to see it was the same man who has helped me in the past. Or so I thought. In fact, it was not the same man. Therefore, when I said that we knew each other he got suspicious and decided that he was not going to help me. Leave it to me, to get Detective fu$king Columbo. He looked over all the papers, which I thought were in order; and then told me that since the owner of the apartment's name wasn't on the contract, I would need more permission letters and Identity documents from DeWill, the Nigerian guy who thinks we are white devils and is more paranoid than Melissa Ethridge after eating a pan and a half of pot brownies. Even if we could convince DeWill, Emmanuel mumbled to me that he is travelling and is currently in Verona, for some unknown reason. I had the lawyer talk to the agent, who was not swayed. The agent is named Antonio. Emmanuel and I engaged in some Nancy Drew like activities that turned up nothing at the house and so we have to wait on DeWill to come back. Or we have to try again in the two remaining business days before the appointment to determine Emmanuel's case with the inspector in Pistoia on an afternoon when Antonio is not there, and hope one of his colleagues will just stamp the paper without being such a hard ass about it. 
 
Emmanuel was sick and had not slept. He was coughing up phlem and I had to bring him to a pharmacy. He was in a full panic. I reassured him the best I could. I am too upset to actually cry. We don't know what will happen now. 
 
 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Out of the frying pan
Today I took a taxi work so that F could meet Emmanuel at the questura before 8 AM. They were first at the door. 
 
The inspector was there. Things were off to a good start. Then the grumpy, bald immigration agent, who was probably disappointed not to see me, sent them home to get a copy of the house contract. Then he told the guys that the inspector couldn't meet with them after all because he was too busy. F put up a good fight, but to no avail. He even had the lawyer plead for an appointment. The lawyer later told me that he was assured that he would fill out the form a week from today. That would only be fine if the chef was willing to wait.
 
In between lessons, I sent out a flurry of messages. We tried Courtney's school mom friend who works at the police station in Viareggio, but she couldn't help. Neither could my old Charlie's Angel, angel Anna Maria. She doesn't work in immigration anymore. I had to ask the chef for another extension so that we can get Emmanuel's paperwork in order. Then I confirmed the apartment for him with the lady in Viareggio, even though we don't know if this whole scheme is going to work.
 
Worst of all, the inspector asked us for a better copy of the hospitality letter, but, if we give him one, he will see that it is expired. That is why tonight I have to call Albania or Switzerland and offer to pay a month's rent for a house that Emmanuel is not going to live in so that she can sign a new hospitality letter. In Italy, that is just another day at the office, people. Don't get me started. 
 
If she agrees to free money, I then have to get her to a scanner. I don't think she owns one. Then I have to take the letter to a different police station to have it stamped. Then we have to bring that paper back to the original immigration office and finally get an official new start for Emmanuel. You can't make this up. One piece of paper stands between Emmanuel being deported and him having a new home that is official, if minuscule, and a real job, and a legal, albeit temporary, stay permit. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What now?
As we were getting ready for dinner, Jennifer called. She was stuck in Rome. Apparently there is an Italian system whereby if you don't change your pre-paid train ticket an hour before departure, it expires on you. She did not have enough money for a new one. Baby Wisdom was with her, but he was the only one. The Nigerian embassy is kilometers from the train station, and you have to take a bus. The embassy told her to wait so that they could process her passport request. At 9:00 PM she was still waiting. Someone in that office gave her 27 euros to upgrade her ticket after we frantically attempted to send her a ticket through Whatsapp to her crappy, cell phone. That option is not available for all tickets, including the 10:30 PM train. It would have only worked for the midnight train. We tried to find a hotel for her and Wisdom for the night. The phone conversation was 80% of her panting and saying mamma mia over and over again, while we shouted at her over the noisy crowd of bus passengers. We probably sounded like the farm animals yelling instructions to Wilbur in Charlotte's Web, but none of us come out as very appealing in that metaphor so forget it. Although, it is not inaccurate. 

She got on that 10:30 train, upgraded her ticket and emojiied me that they got home in one piece at 3 AM.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Stampede
Today we woke up even earlier and got to the questura even before Emmanuel got there. I greeted some of the crowd in pidgin English and played a 2face song that Emmanuel and I like on blast to keep everyone's spirits up. I saw a guy who arrived before me not push to get to the front of the line. He let people keep passing him, but when it was almost time for the office to open, he went past them all to the door. I asked him what number he was in line and if I was immediately after him. His face let me know he was being slick. I told him, whatever your plan, I'm with you because I am not playing the rookie today. A man with a six or seven year old boy cut me in line and later told me that he was going to be late for work. It was then that I started to suspect that we were not going to make an orderly entrance. 


I did see my bald, grumpy, agent, who I love so well, arrive for work. He was happy because tomorrow the office is closed for Italian liberation day. I called out to him with a giant smile on my face, You are going to be so proud of me today! I am so well prepared! He chuckled. So that was a good, positive sign.

This was after one of the officer's cleared everybody out of the waiting room.

When I registered T for Huggs pre-school in Park Slope, I got up at dawn to be the first in line. I told everyone who came after me and my friend Sherry, we are crazy number one, you are crazy number two and so on. But due to the array of languages spoken, I did not try to line everyone up. When the doors opened people started pushing and the officer told the crowd that if they did not enter one by one, she would close up shop. One man in a blue puffy jacket who came late to the party, but seemed to represent an Albanian or Romanian family, was violently pushing all the people around him. I told him to calm down, and not to hurt the woman in front of him and  keep encouraging the crowd as loudly as I could to remain peaceful. Suffice to say, about three dozen people entered in front of me, even though I should have entered at about number 17 if things were honest and at about number two, if I was sneaky. It looked like we were going to have about a three hour wait. I turned to Emmanuel. I got it, he said. Somehow that man surfed the crowd and ended up with ticket number eight! The man who entered with me had number 35, to give you an idea of the difference. 

I am thinking of taking up stomach crochet ..

We waited for about an hour and my stomach turned into knots. I saw the two African guys ahead of us were having trouble communicating so I went up to translate for them. I was successful in making the bald agent's life easier and then it was my turn. He gave us one paper to fill out, but told us that to do what we need to do for Emmanuel, which is called a C3, we need to come back Wednesday. My boss won't let me skip work that day, so, hopefully Courtney will go with Fraser and flirt in my place with whoever the inspector in charge turns out to be. We have to get it done on Wednesday or the job won't be there any more. I feel tortured. But we are making progress. 



We watched this little girl make friends with everyone in the room, including two nuns, with whom she spoke perfect Italian. She asked them why they wore glasses, and then, as a follow up questions and without malice, she asked them why they were old.


Emmanuel and I filled out the form in the car. And now back to something different, new, and exciting: more waiting.