Today I was introduced to Italian bureaucracy!
I guess part of life in a foreign country is the process to apply for a resident alien card. In the Italian system one must apply for Permesso di Soggiorno (resident permit) in order for one to stay in Italy for more than one year and to travel throughout Europe. Anyways, the process is very confusing especially since everything is in Italian. Luckily here at the college we have a staff person who works all year to help us acquire our Soggiorno cards.
Let me describe for you my experience today...
Ten of us went to the 6:30am Mass at the convent and then went to the office of Ministerio d'Interno for religious near St. Peters. We got there at 7:15am to pick a number in order to wait until 8:30 (when the office actually opened). Of course they opened late, it is Italy.
Each one of us was called in and our paper work was examined and our fingerprints taken. So far not too bad. But around 10:30 we began to wonder what was taking so long. It wasn't until 12:30 that they gave us back our passports and told us to come back next Monday because the computer system was broken. This was of course mildly frustrating.
All in all it was a wonderful experience, because as I mentioned, this office is exclusively for religious sisters, priests and seminarians. So I got a chance to literally meet people today from all around the world. Since in most cases the only language we all had in common was Italian, we got a chance to practice Italian. It was encouraging to meet a Franciscan sister from Egpyt who was so positive even though it was her fourth time waiting in line at this office. For all of us in line Italian was not our native language, and it was even easier to communicate since we spoke slowly and clearly. Overall, despite the fact that we waited outside an office for 5 and half hours, this morning was really awesome.