Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“Leaving on a jet plane” (I hope)–thank you, Peter, Paul and Mary

Cross one major item off my list.

Today I sent off my Italian visa application. It’s been a long haul, but the app and its voluminous documentation (with copies) are on their way to the Italian Consulate in San Francisco.

This day has had a long gestation period. Initially, I was not going to even try for this visa. But the consul general in Portland said I could get it in 2-3 weeks. I was dubious because the Consulate website said not to send in an application less than ninety days before the departure date. I mentioned it again today when I was finalizing the documents with the consul general and he assured me that I’d get the visa quickly.

The decision to go for the visa necessitated a change in my travel plans. I was originally scheduled to leave on October 6. Today I changed the departure date to November 12. It cost me a small fortune, but it’s done. If the visa doesn’t arrive in time, I’m screwed because I had to send my actual passport with the paperwork. I would have to re-schedule yet again. Hell, I could end up postponing until after the New Year.

Finishing this tiny detail has liberated me. For weeks I’ve been searching for documents, printing up documents, getting my fingerprints, ordering an FBI criminal record, surfing the Net to make sure I’ve got everything. It’s a major load off my mind.

Yet it’s funny. I feel a little trepidatious. This is really going to happen. I feel like I’m on the downward slide, heading toward my goal. But I’m a little nervous. I didn’t feel like this a few weeks ago when I first made my reservations and had everything in place (or so I thought).

Maybe it’s because I’ve had so much time to think. Maybe it’s because I’ve attended two going away parties and had several going away meals, with more to come. At first I thought everything was going to go quickly. Now I see that it’s not and it’s causing me to think. That’s not good because I tend to over-analyze and start worrying about everything that could go wrong. Or I create scenarios that detail explicitly how my life could blow up and be a living hell–with pasta.

I do feel for my friend, Barry, who is graciously hosting me until I leave. He was expecting me to be gone on Monday. Now he’s stuck with me for another five weeks. He has no problem with it, but I still feel like a bit of a heel.

It comes from this uniquely American desire to have what I want now. I guess it’s good that I have to wait because patience is not my virtue at all. And I figure that there’s a reason for me to wait. What that reason might be, I don’t know. I was considering a trip to B.C. to get some documents authenticated for the pursuit of my Italian citizenship, reasoning perhaps that could be a use for my time. But I realize that these documents I have are not going to prove anything. What is going to be most effective is the DNA samples my brother and I will provide. Now, if there’s a reason to wait, I can’t fathom it.

So, once again it’s a waiting game. Waiting has been one of the primary themes of this journey to Italy. I just wanna be there. I can’t wait. I have to admit that part of this desire is to be in my own digs. I moved out of my house in early May. For five months I have either been traveling or staying here with Barry. I’m ready to have my space, no matter how small. I’m ready to organize and take care of myself again.

And, actually, I’m looking forward to a small space. I’m tired of having more room than I need, room I don’t use. Room that just houses stuff I haven’t seen or touched in years. Tired of a yard that wears me out. I want to spend my time doing other things and nowadays, yard work isn’t one of them.

The waiting starts and the education of patience accompanies it. But, come November 12, I’m leavin’ on a jet plane.

(And I don’t know when I’ll be back again.)

 

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