I love public life and government, as you all well know. But I am not immune to the petty frustrations that come along sometimes, to test our mettle.
Today, I take the plunge into Italy's bureaucratic soup, in pursuit of my required permesso di soggiorno." I think it means that I pay a bunch of money both to acquire and file a series of forms which will make my extended stay in this country legal. I paid nothing for my study visa -- thank you, Italy -- but will be a good bit more for this forms, which includes, to be fair, a contribution to the health care system. (Of course, to get my visa I had to prove that I have health care that will cover me while in Italy!).
Gianpaolo, a very helpful staff member at the Academy, filled out the forms for me and explained the process.
I take the forms to the post office and will pay a series of fees for the permesso. However, although I will pay the fees at the post office, I must go to a tobacco store to purchase the marco di bollo, the stamp that will show that in fact I paid. In other words, I buy the receipt in one place, for the payment in another. I will then get a receipt and an appointment for another visit to an office on the edge of the city where I will prove who I am, prove that I am here to study, prove that I paid the fees. I was urged, as well, to make a copy of the post office's own copy of my receipt -- that is, the one THEY keep in order to return to me my formal card a few months from now -- because it often gets lost in their files. "Make a copy on a full-size piece of paper," Gianpaolo suggested, "so it is easier for them to find." Okay!
And then, as is common everywhere, in all bureaucratic encounters, I will wait. And at some point, likely months from now, I will be notified that I must return to the post office to pick up the actual card, which will show that I am legally able to be here. Then, probably a week later, I will fly home.