Today I cried. I’ve just come back from the Ufficio Immigrazione at the Questura di Bergamo and it was awful. Horrendous. The backstory on this, as some of you may know, is that I’m currently here on a Blue Card, a special type of work permit. But since I got married in September to an Italian citizen, I need to convert this to a different permit, one for family that will be valid for five years without the need to renew. About a month ago I had already gone to the Questura, stood in line 2 hours, and obtained a list of documents that I would need to hand-in along with the new application. Important note here: at that time, I was also give an appointment to come and hand everything in , however the date was in June. I told the officer that I would be away in Canada in June on vacation for the entire month. He told me that it wasn’t a problem and that I could come and hand-in my documents in May before leaving. Ok, so fast forward to today. It’s May. On the suggestion of the officer, I show up, stand my usual 2 hours in line while people push and shove and jump in front of me. And yes, I do try to tell them, but usually they are men and maybe from a country where women have no right to tell men what to do, who knows, but they don’t listen to me. This already makes me want to cry and punch someone. Finally, I get to the front of the line, explain the situation and hand-in my documents and the officer, (a different one) working today decided to not accept them. “You have to come back in June” he tells me. I explain to him that I will be in Canada in June and that his colleague said it would be fine for me to come beforehand. “No, you can come when you come back then.” is his terse response. He doesn’t care that I just stood in line two hours, that I had to take the morning off work, that I will have to take another morning off work to come again…I tried to be a bit more Italian at this point and tell a white lie. I tell him that without this permesso, I won’t be able to come back to work immediately and that I have a job that I need to return to the day after I return from Canada. “Non mi importa” is his response. He doesn’t care that I’m trying to follow the rules and I need this permesso to continue working (this is the white lie because my current permit doesn’t expire until July but I just wanted to test him). So essentially, you have so many Italians complaining about all these immigrants who don’t work and I’m trying to explain to the immigration officer that I need him to process this permesso so that I can WORK and he refuses to move an inch. Tell me, what difference do you think it makes to him to accept my paperwork now or accept it in a month and half from now? Absolutely nothing. The only difference is that for a nano-second, he was able to get off a bit with his “power” by saying no to me. Tutto qui. So today I cried out of frustration and I said things that I hate to say like “THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN CANADA.” And I know, maybe I'm too "permalosa", I'm too easily affected and need to toughen up my skin but unfortunately and fortunately, I was raised in Canada and I'm not use to this kind of inefficiency and roadblocks created for absolutely no reason other than to bust your balls. And so I vented and I'm having a moment of hating Italy. But I know it’s temporary and that I can control my reaction to these types of things. I’ll be better after some wine.
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Jasmine is a former pharmacist turned writer and wine drinker from Alberta, Canada living "the sweet life" in Bergamo, Italy.
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