Monday, January 22, 2018

Good news and Bad news
This is the most Italian day yet. 

I overprepared. I made magic happen between my student, the judge, and baby Peace. She fell in love with the baby, as expected, and then she both had a preeminent immigration lawyer write us a fifteen page legal opinion as to why Tina should get her documents renewed and sent her assistant to translate for us at the police station.

 We got photos taken. I reminded Tina to get photos taken twice. She then went and had a hard time with the machine at the supermarket, and so the photos had the top of her head missing. They were not usable. Despite that, we had all of the other originals and copies of documents they could possibly ask for.

I freaked out yesterday because I read online during my panic attack about the renewal that the law changed and now you have to pay for a baby permesso that is separate from the parent’s. I thought Peace’s document was tied to Tina’s document, but the clueless lady at the post office did not ask us for money for Peace. I made F wake up extra early and doctor up some passport photos for the baby, just in case. We planned that F would go and pay for Peace after he dropped us off at the police station, but then it turned out that Peace’s paperwork is tied to her father’s and that doesn’t expire for another year. 

The problem you prepare for in Italy is never the problem you face.

The lawyer couldn’t find parking. I sweated while we waited fifteen minutes past the appointment time. We couldn’t figure out if we needed a line number because we had an appointment. We did. Finally, the guard, we call him Fred because he reminds us of Fred Flintstone, got us a call number.


We were number 20 of the day, and they were only calling number eight. Fred had us go up ahead of time because he loves me. The blond at the immigration window, unfortunately, hated me on sight. She asked for the passport, and we gave her the titolo di viaggio. I learned at the post office not to dawdle or explain and just to give them the document right away. She conferred with her colleague. This is always a bad sign. I explained to the lawyer that he should prepare himself. He told me that I should try to do the talking. Why was he there? No real reason. She came back and seized Tina’s titolo di viaggio, the Italian passport supplement that Tina needs as identification and if she ever wants to travel outside of Italy. She refused to give it back. She told us that from now on refugees with stay permits for humanitarian reasons like Tina will have their stay permits renewed without travel documents automatically at their local police stations. Then she dismissed us.

We drove Tina and her friend back to Pescia. Her friend was breastfeeding and it looked painful. We made conversation while F took Tina to get new photos made at the supermarket. She told me that she is in a worse situation because she has no stay permit and was, therefore, put under house arrest. She has no house contract or hospitality letter, and her husband begs as a job, so she can not get right with the law no matter what. F took her to her appointment with her baby at the hospital, while Tina and I got her fingerprints taken at the local precinct. The immigration officer there made us go to the entrance for foreigners even though the place was empty. She almost sent us back to the original police station in Pistoia. She said she needed to know the name of who sent us. Luckily, Fred let me go behind the private door to drop off F’s homemade bread for the officers. As usual, the grumpy bald guy who works with people who don’t have appointments stamped his feet and made fists with his hands and pretended to be upset that I was giving him bread. But he accepted it. As always. His brunette colleague yelled at me for being in a private area, but not before she yelled his name. Alessandro. I remembered it, and that is the only reason that Tina got her document renewed today.

That is Italy.

The bad news is that without the titolo di viaggio, Tina does not believe she will be able to renew the subsidy she relies on, 80 euros every eight weeks, to buy diapers and baby food for Peace. I don’t know how to feel.

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