So here we are, two months after my first excruciating encounter with the permesso di soggiorno application system. Since then, dearest Roberta has helped all of us EMJD newbies through the bureaucratic processes, helping us write down numbers, coming with us to godforsaken government agencies, translating for us with everyone and everywhere, and basically has singlehandedly made life smoother.
Today, the 18th of November, was our appointment with the Ufficio Immigrazione in Via Teofilo Patini— located in the outskirts of Rome in a beautiful area akin to Soviet Russia. Here is how the story went.
|4:05am||Woke up shivering as a result of a nightmare involving dealing with the permesso people again. Remembered that a knife just fell on my foot last night— it must have been a sign!|
|7:10am||Woke up for real, took a shower, despaired.|
|9:35am||Met Jasmin at Policlinico, took the Rebibbia-bound train, despaired.|
|10:02am||Alighted at Rebibbia, saw the 437 also known as “Il bus della cittadinanza,” and hopped on it, despaired.|
|10:18am||Arrived safely at the Questura di Roma (should that be capitalized?) and presented some soldiers our papers. We were told to wait in the tent. Despaired.|
|10:55am||Fell in line for my 11am appointment. Realized that too many people were cutting the line for it to serve any real purpose. Despaired.|
|11:10am||Saw a Russian lady in towering stilettos and extremely fake hair squeeze herself into the front of the queue. Pondered grievous bodily harm. Despaired.|
|11:33am||Time check: half an hour past scheduled appointment, still punctual for anything Italian. Despaired.|
|11:49am||Finally got through. Metal detector, check. Climb three flights of stairs, check. Grab original very-battered yellow envelope from amused man, check.Grabbed a seat and waited for my name to flash on screen. Slightly less despair!|
|11:55am||Russian lady all smug talking to someone on her phone. Pondered grievous bodily harm once more.|
|11:59am||Name flashed on screen. Got up and ran to Room A counter 12. The nice lady checked my passport and all my documents and then started talking to me in Italian. I got “contratto università?” so I took out my LUISS contact. Then she went, “Tassa?” “Scusa?” “Tassa universitaria?” “What?” “TAX?” “Ah… non capisco…?” “…” “The university pays my tax?” “Okey.”Gave her my four passport size photos and got finger printed. Signed a lot of documents. Done. She then said something long in Italian which basically meant wait outside to be called to Room B.|
|12:07pm||A fight was happening in Room B. Men were screaming at each other and more military men came around. An older soldier guy in a smart blue uniform came and screamed at everyone else. A man in a white lab coat walked out of the building. Soldiers followed.|
|12:22pm||Fifteen minutes and no new people were called into Room B. What was going on?|
|12:25pm||Two ladies from Room B came out and said something in Italian. Names for B started popping up on screen again. Huzzah!|
|12:29pm||Jasmin and Miko arrived! The 11:30 appointments were being let in, finally.|
|12:35pm||Room A lady came back and took my envelope. Why, lady?|
|12:41pm||Got called into Room B. Room A lady came in with my envelope and said something to man in B. “No middle name,” what?Gently manhandled by man in Room B. Fingerprinted again (what happened to the ones the lady just took?) and hand printed. Got told it was done and to go to the Salaria questura in 40 days.|
|12:58pm||Breathed a sigh of relief and waited with Roberta for Miko and Jasmin to return.|
I am extremely grateful tthat the experience wasn’t as bad as I had imagined it to be. Sure the “queues” were long and boring, and sure, I had a brief heart-stopping moment when the lady asked me about my taxes, but hey, it all worked out. And really, what taxes?
One minor point: LUISS gave us the wrong information about our health insurance requirement. As confirmed by the INA Assitalia people themselves last Friday when I was walking around like a lost duckling in the rain trying to find their office, my SSN registration with my tessera sanitaria and family doctor are more than enough for the permesso application and in fact, more than what they themselves would have given me had I bought their 98€ package. As a matter of fact, the lady at the immigration office never even asked me for my health insurance!
So it’s two months until I get my permesso! Til then, it’s badger-the-ASL-to-give-me-my-insulin-prescription time!