Sunday, August 30, 2015

Porca miseria!

I wasn't even in a bad mood when T and I went to meet F at the ufficio postale/post office. F was already there waiting for us with the newly filled-out long term residency applications. We still don't really know how to fill them out ourselves, but luckily for us there is this fabulous lawyer named Artan who works at the patronato INAC, a free legal advice place for immigrants and others, and he helped us do all the hard parts.

Of all the things that I will probably get arrested or fined for because of this blog, this one will be the most. That said, here are the photos of the lady who I most fear seeing when I'm in a rush and my number is called out at the post office, and this is who we got:

She has been there since year one.
 At least, she has been kind to us and seemingly good-hearted. But in the last five years of experience filling out the exact same forms and putting them into the system it is safe to say that she hasn't sped up at all.
Forty-five minutes later . . .

This is the part (insert theme song from the movie JAWS here) where the computer generated date for our appointment to appear at the questura/police station came out of the printer showing that (insert drum roll) we have the Italian test on the same morning that we have the permit evaluation which might mean that the powers that be want us to be in two places at once.

I wrote Artan an embarrassing email in which I attempted to say that I had the curse of bad luck and loser-ness on me, but lord only knows what I really said. I can only say for sure that it took me three times after I had already pushed send, which is the equivalent of leaving loser messages for boys you like on their answering machines in the 1990's, which, obviously, I know nothing about from personal experience of any kind.

The next day F had a training at an English language school where we both might get some work. While he was out I decided to take a look that our documents for the appointments were in order. Imagine my surprise when I found out that every night when I asked him to put documents into the high up cabinet, it turns out that he has just been shoving piles of paper up there with no regard for the dewey decimal system or any other system. To put it in perspective, an ex-client  of mine from my social worker days who was an almost blind, amputee, D-day survivor and who had a room where cockroaches were literally coating the walls and dropping down on us from the ceilings had a better system of organization for his documents. Anyway, while we sorted through pages and pages of documents, it became clear that the giant Oxford Dictionary size book of documents that we cart around with us to even the most banal appointments could have been half the size and that all of the color coded tabs that I had organized it with originally had been disregarded by F for approximately the last three years.

An hour after getting everything to have a place that made sense, I turned to F and asked him why I hadn't seen the official document that will serve as our invitation and entrance ticket to the ever so important Italian exam. He opened his mouth, but no sounds came out. Bad sign. It turned out that he had given them to yellow dervish lady from the post office who had packed them off in envelopes to the police station.

It's wedding time in Lucca. The couples are all over waiting for their photographers to get the winning shot.
In the midst of all of these revelations, it came out that although T had accepted the children's hospital's invitaiton to participate in a mini summer camp in the mountains, she had done so only due to social pressure and had no real interest in it. It wasn't to happen for many months and the details were few and far between. It was like 'let's have coffee sometime three months from now -- you're invited!" But in really fast Italian. We all feel beholden to the hospital that literally makes T's life possible and for free.

 I received a startling phone call about it while we were in Amsterdam from the secretary in charge of making the arrangements for the camp. It was startling because I got a phone call from an unknown number in Milan after not having spoken Italian for over a week and the lady acted like I should know her and that we were old friends. Plus we had a really bad phone connection. She told me that an email with all of the details about the camp would follow. When I mentioned the call to T, she was relaxed about it and said it would all be fine. I didn't trust that the secretary lady whose name is Arianna could understand our email address over the phone so when the email didn't arrive, I sent her a text the next day and asked her to check that what she had written down was correct. She said okay, but obviously didn't do it. This left us in an uncomfortable position because the more time that passed, the more we really didn't want the e-mail to arrive so that T wouldn't have to go after all, and none of us would have to say no outright. So the e-mails arrived with documents that had to be signed and the bad news that the camp is far away and that she has to leave early Sunday morning and won't be back for five days. There will be hiking involved and teams and a hotel and some swimming. T doesn't know anyone except the head doctor.

Tonight is the notte bianca in Lucca when the stores stay open late and there are surprises and bad music everywhere. So when we took our evening stroll, we got our tarot cards read. It seems that T is a genius who will go to a prestigious college in America and find a great job. And it only cost me 20 euros.

"The cards say you are a smarty pants . .  .

p.s. I asked T like twenty thousand times if I should make up an excuse to cancel the camp, but she said no because she can't imagine going back to the hospital if she cancels. It seems from the schedule that it is a way for Medtronic, the company that makes her insulin pump, to extract data off the kids, but, hopefully it is a fair trade and the kids get to have a nice time, too. Otherwise, I'll be that crazy mother driving five hours or whatever it takes to come pick her up early because as brave as she is, you all know that one thing I'm not afraid of is looking crazy.

1 comment:

Dee said...

I love Artan. He has transfered to an office inside the walls, and I have not found him, yet. If you find him, please send me an email. I am eligible for my permanent permesso in May, and I only want him to help me.