Thursday, November 15, 2007

Goodbye Old Friend


Well it’s time to say good-bye to an old friend. But this is a happy parting of ways. He's been there for me for 10 years now and he deserves a break. Ohh, the places we’ve been. I’m talking about my old passport, of course. I finally received my new passport today. It wasn’t as easy as it should be. You see for me I’m supposed to send my old passport, the fee, the pictures, and the paperwork to the US Consulate in Naples. I called them about how to do this several times I was never impressed with their knowledge. If you go to website of the consulate in Milan they have everything spelled out for you and they look efficient. The Naples website is, let’s just say, not so impressive. I used my judgment and decided to go another route. I wanted to make sure I had a passport in time to go home for Christmas. I sent everything I needed to my parents in the US. My mom sent the stuff in and received the new passport there. Then my mom sent the passport to me in Italy. It worked almost perfectly. There is one thing I forgot. My mom is too honest sometimes (now I know where I got it). When she sent me the passport she made the mistake of writing what is ACTUALLY in the package. When Italian customs realized they had something of value to me they started to think about how they could use this to their advantage. I’m not sure how it worked out. Maybe it was a miracle but in the end they agreed with my rationale that this passport has no commercial value so they delivered it with NO customs fee. I believe that qualifies as a miracle.
It must have something to do with my birthday. Last year I received my renewed permesso di soggiorno (permit to live in Italy) on my birthday. It was the best present I could get from anyone. The importance of getting my permesso has increased exponentially because immediately after I got mine the process has done nothing but turn into a BIG MESS. There are hundreds of thousands of permessos waiting to be processed. Italy went to this really nice credit card like permesso but the system is seriously flawed. Thank god I got mine when I did. So I’ve had two paperwork miracles in two years. Am I ready for sainthood yet?
This new passport is strange. The cover is much thicker cardboard and the photo seems to be printed into the page instead of laminated on like it was 10 years ago. It’s also the new electronic passport with a chip in it so whenever that’s required then I’m already legal.
The photo today is from when I went to Ostuni a while ago with another Couchsurfer. She just put up some of her photos on Flickr here. Again it seems other people find beauty in Brindisi in ways I wouldn’t think of. She has one photo of me in the group, one of Cosimo at the Pizza place, and one of fishermen in Brindisi. When showing her around I decided to take a photo above out towards the sea (instead of towards Ostuni). I don’t know what that building is in the foreground, but I love the expanse of carefully trimmed olive trees that go out in all directions until you get to the sea.

6 comments:

american girl in italy said...

Moms... hehe My mom does the same kinds of things. Gotta love'em. :O)

That is too bad you had such a pain in the rear consulate. Milan received, processed and returned mine in less then 7 days. THAT was a miracle. And I even took my own digital photo, and printed it at home, and they accepted it. wacky!
http://americaninitaly.blogspot.com/2007/09/us-consulate-in-milan-rocks.html (just to make you jealous!) haha

Man, can you believe the soccer crap!?!?! grrrr I guess they do get fined when fans destroy stuff, but it still doesn't work. I think they should cancel it for a year or something. They also need to start arresting these hooooooligans, and keeping them in jail!

american girl in italy said...

Did you get your old one back? I did.

Lori said...

I am glad you got your passport in time to come home. Forgive mother, she is only trying to help. and besides, you got to practice your persuasion skills.

Roam2Rome said...

Aaa, moms! Your mom and my mom, both!
It's so cute how seriously mom takes this extreme honesty, too :)

Which reminds me, I need my second passport to process my Rome visa. Time's flying and it's fast approaching...wow

Anthony and Lisa said...

Your friend's pictures on Flikr were great! And I love La Citta Bianca - Ostuni has always been one of my favorites. Ever been to Mesagne? 15 minutes from Brindisi. That's where my family is and where we go every year.

Jeff Gromen said...

American girl,
Yes I already all about you wonderful experience but I didn't see that happening in Napoli. It's all about getting it done. One way or another. Yes I have my old passport too.

Lo,
Oh its fine. I just thought about how it reminded me I'm in Italy. It's been a while since I've had to hassle with dogana.

R2R,
Yep, you better stay on top of things because when you need something done quickly is when they can go haywire.

Anton and lisa,
Of course I've been to Mesagne many times. They have a new outdoor pub/cafe that's really nice in the summer. People have told me that a few years ago the town was kind of dangerous at night but it's nice now.

Jeff