It’s been a while since I’ve chimed in, due to a lot of activity but not a lot of stories to tell, per se. It’s been a lovely couple of months in Italy, interspersed with visits from foreign friends, the last two pen shows of the spring in Rome and Torino and other pen-related travel, a busy end to my consulting contract with the English Language Fellow Program, dinners with various friends and relations, some serious spring cleaning, and of course the final bits and pieces of my adventure to get legal status in Italy. The good news: yes, I am in possession of the Permesso! More in a bit. But here are a few shots to share, along with the news that I will be headed back to Japan on Monday the 3rd for my 3rd summer teaching at the International University of Japan.
As general background, here’s a panoramic shot taken from a nearby hill town, the one where T likes to go and shop. T’s house is slightly to the left of the scene, about 10 kilometers away or so.
Absolutely stunning, no question. But if there’s a fly in the ointment (isn’t there always?) it’s that this part of Italy, heck, most of Italy, is pretty darn sunny in the summer *and I am increasingly allergic to lots of sunshine.* I just learned it has a name: photodermatitis (or maybe sun poisoning?). So after some fairly bold adventuring and getting pretty red and itchy, I have had to start staying a bit more in the shade, not the easiest task around here. Fortunately, T had a great little project for me to help him with that didn’t need a lot of sunshine, and that was cleaning up the attic and garage. Here’s a shot of the dumpster we filled to the brim, along with the newly tidied front of the house:
But you know how it is with big clean-up projects – the best of intentions, sudden spurts of Herculean activity, and then the inevitable postprandial letdown:
While the cats are snoozing in the late afternoons, T and I amuse ourselves most days with an adult beverage and a check of the day’s news:
…and, before long, if we’re lucky, a view of one of Italy’s spectacular summer sunsets:
But, as promised above, the big news is the achievement of legal status. Now, while T and I both knew that the ultimate outcome would be favorable and that I, as an American and the wife of an EU citizen, had the process better than *just about anyone else,* it didn’t mean that there wasn’t plenty of pit-of-the-stomach anxiety and nail-biting wait time to go around. So, in recap, after a dozen or so trips to various municipal offices literally all over the local landscape and lasting nearly 50 days, my quest for legitimacy ended (successfully) here:
The sign on the door basically directs people leftward, to the waiting room, so it wasn’t entirely clear to us that this was the place…that would actually hand me the keys to the kingdom, as it were – permission to live in Italy for five years, then an indefinite extension, assuming I stay out of trouble. I am still (legally) not supposed to spend more than 90 out every 180 days in the rest of Schengen Europe, but… with no border control (aside from airports), it’s going to be hard for me or anyone else for that matter to keep close tabs of my movements. So. Mission accomplished. I’m relieved, happy, and incredibly grateful to the linguistic and cultural skills of my spouse as well as his sheer dogged persistence and unfailing good humor throughout this entire process. Here’s proof positive that they can’t come for me in the middle of the night (it’s the one on the left):
…and then, being the good little Continentals that we are, we celebrated with a cappuccino and a sweet roll at Caffe Vittorio, just literally around the corner from the nondescript door pictured above:
So…next step, the long flight back to Tokyo and thence to IUJ. You’ve read about the place a couple summers now, so I may not have a whole lot to add this time, but rest assured I’ll keep you posted on any interesting adventures that might unfold there and then. Be thee well.