I returned to the Questura alone this past week, bearing the necessary papers that had been requested. I had mistakenly assumed that it would just be go in, turn in the papers, and sign the form. I am, of course, an idiot.
I did go upstairs to the office with the guy who needed the papers without having to take a number. After some waiting, I gave them to him. He produced copies of the integration agreement I had to sign – four of them, in English and in Italian. He gave me two for my records and sent me downstairs to request fingerprints. I took a number (because everything requires taking numbers) and waited in line. The first person I tried to talk to didn’t speak English and I didn’t have quite enough Italian to follow his questions, so he sent me over one window to the woman I’d been talking to in my other visits, who does speak English. She took my fingerprints and two passport photos then gave me another form, sending me upstairs again, to a different floor and a different office, where I was once again fingerprinted, with palm prints and the rest of the rigamarole I’d gone through in Pordenone, along with mug shots.
Once that was all done, I was sent downstairs again to the woman who had already seen me, and gave her the form that she’d initially given me, all dealt with and tied up in a bureaucratic bow. She said they would call me in a month and I could come in the afternoon to finally pick up my Permesso di Soggiorno. I knew that there was supposed to be a class involved on Italian civic and cultural life, and civil rights, so I asked her when and here that was supposed to be. There was a note on the very last page of the document, stating the class is supposed to be on April 28th. When I will be in Seattle. Sadly, I have yet to master the art of bilocation. “I’m going to be in the US that day,” I said. “I need to change the date for the class.”
She said that could be done, but it was another office in a different building, with different hours. This, I realized, was going to require my brother’s presence again, as I had no idea what I was going to encounter there. Knowing, however, where the class was supposed to be, I realized I should find it before I had to actually be there for a morning class.
I walked home, though, and then over to the office of the doctor I’d been referred to, as I hadn’t got a phone call in response to leaving my contact information, and the number for getting his office hours didn’t even pick up, it just disconnected without ringing. It’s not far from my place, just off Via Udine, so it was a quick walk. The office was closed, but I did get into the building and found some hours listed on the door of that particular office. I wrote them down and then headed out to see where the school was that I’d be going to the class in when I finally had to deal with it.
It was a rather lengthy walk up the hill into the San Giacomo district, but I found the place. It’ll be a much easier trip if I can take the bus, so I wrote down the numbers on the nearest bus stop to the school in order to look up schedules and routes online when I got home. My walk downhill went by a different route, and I passed one of the public parks of the city; there were some really spectacular views along the streets as I went, and it was a very nice day, so I had an enjoyable afternoon despite being tired by the time I was done.
My brother came by Friday morning and we went to the immigration office at the Prefettura, down on Piazza Unità. The entry is in the back of the building, on the street away from the piazza, but we found the proper office and talked to the folks who schedule the classes. They said it would be no problem to reschedule me for the class, as I had come to them early enough for it not to be an issue. They don’t have another scheduled yet, but will let me know as soon as another is ready to go, and I won’t be docked any points for not showing up at this one. The integration agreement requires me to get 30 points over the course of two years in order to remain in the country. Signing the integration agreement is worth 16 points, but if you don’t show up at the class, they take 15 of them away from you, so it’s pretty important to show up, and I didn’t want to mess anything up so early on in the process. Once that was dealt with, we had some lunch, then my brother headed out to get on with his day. I was concerned about the visit to the doctor but he told me I’d be just fine. This didn’t do a damned thing to ease the anxiety I was feeling, though.
Later that evening I went back to the doctor’s office. The hours posted on the door were for one of the other doctors there. She spoke no English, but I had enough Italian to ask when his hours were, and she showed me a grid on a sheet of paper inside the office doors. Monday evening is the next time I’ll be able to try to get in to see him. Because it’s evening, this may overlap slightly with my Italian class, but I’ve informed Luisella that I might be late (by email, in Italian); it’s really important that I get a prescription dealt with before I run out of the medications. The whole day was a rough one for my anxiety. I was nearly having panic attacks at several points, but still got through everything. Once I had the actual office hours for the doctor I need to speak with, I felt somewhat better.
Yesterday was an easier day on me. I went out for some lunch, then wandered over to Ginger for some tea. On my way back toward my place, I was contemplating stopping at the New Age Center to pick up a book they had on Irish and Celtic astronomical lore, written by what appears to be an Italian academic. The book is in Italian, but it would be yet more incentive to keep learning the language. There’s a lot of stuff written about the continental Celts, in particular, that isn’t translated into English, and isn’t generally available in the US, and I was hoping this might have some of that type of information. I have Mark Williams’s book Fiery Shapes: Celestial Portents and Astrology in Ireland and Wales 700-1700, but one never knows what else might be out there. I’m sure the bibliography alone will be worth perusing, if it’s actually an academic book and not fake “Celtic astrology.”
Before I got to the shop, though, I ran into Giulia and her boyfriend Luca, who invited me to go with them that evening to see the new Captain American movie. Being at loose ends, I happily accepted, and met them later at the Nationale, a small multiplex on Viale XX Settembre, for the 6:40 showing. The movie was in Italian, which I knew was going to be the case; I was up for it anyway, knowing I wasn’t going to get a whole lot of the dialogue. I managed to get enough of it to follow the general plot of the movie, though many of the details were lost. I had fun anyway.
After the movie, we met a couple of their friends for dinner. He’s a researcher at the university and she’s an attorney. They both had less English than Giulia and Luca, but certainly more English than I have Italian. I did try out what little I have during the course of the dinner conversation. They all seem pretty happy that I’m working on it. Giulia told me she’d ordered a couple of copies of my poetry book from Amazon, so I’ll sign them for her when she gets them.
Today is a lovely, warm, partly cloudy day. Now that I’ve written, it’s probably time to get out in the sunshine and enjoy myself before I go get groceries for the next few days.