The Homecoming and an Italian Christmas Miracle

Steve went to Atlanta for 10 long days and came back home on Monday.  He flew into Rome and took the train to Arezzo where I skillfully drove to pick him up.  Millie and I were waiting in the car when I saw his beautiful silver hair appear from the station.  I got out and both of us ran to him, Millie squealing with joy at seeing this person (her very favorite in all the world) again.  I often what goes through a dog’s mind in such situations.  She got up every morning while he was gone and combed the house looking for him.  As if he miraculously appeared sometime during the night.  After we would go on walks, she would run through house looking for him.  And then, as suddenly as he left, he reappeared.  Such wonder and surprise in a dog’s life.

It was so good to have him back home, completing our circle once again.  I knew he would be jet lagged after the long trip, so I made a nice dinner at home.  While he was in Atlanta, he was fed and feted by friends and family.  He had the social calendar of a popular debutante and didn’t lack for companionship or food.  But I figured the one thing he probably didn’t have any of was good Italian food, so I made Rossella’s lasagna for him (and me).  It was a great welcome back to Italy meal and we went to bed very happy.

Today is a feast day here, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  I think someone got their dates mixed up on this particular feast, because if Mary became immaculately impregnated today, then how was Jesus born two weeks later?  Questions you probably shouldn’t ask, but really.  Anyway, it’s become the traditional start of the Christmas season here.  It’s what they call a bank holiday, one of the officially designated days off for working Italians.  Unless you work in a restaurant, because of the feasting part.  Big eating day in this country.  So, Steve came back just in time for the Christmas kick off.

Yesterday, on the eve of the feast, we went to Sansepolcro to the questura (police station) to check once again on our permesso di siggiorno, the document that proves we’re in this country legally.  We applied for it right after we got here in early August.  It has been one calamity after another with us trying to understand both the process and the language to figure out what the next steps were.  It got to a point where we could do nothing but laugh.  Every time we went to check, there was some new obstacle we had to overcome.  We’ve been fingerprinted, photographed, and questioned more times than I can count at questuras both in Sansepolcro and Arezzo.  Then, finally, after almost four months, we were presented with our very own permesso di siggiornos.  I’m not exactly sure what we do with them, but I’ve tucked mine into my wallet along with my Italian health card, my resident’s card, and my codice fiscale card.  We are officially legal residents of Italy.

So this Christmas season, we celebrate not only our good fortune at being able to live this dream, but the peace of mind we have in knowing that, through our diligence, we have all the necessary documents to keep us here legally and in good health.   The timing of this couldn’t have been better.  A Christmas miracle for sure.

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