So it was out into the Roman morning around 8:45 am as I had woken up early – namely I didn’t sleep a wink last night – did my thing and turned in my papers for the famous permisso soggornio (sp?) The permisso is one more nonsense Italian rule to bilk people out of money. It is like a visa that says you have a visa, which you already have and paid $140 for so that now you get to pay 160 euro for the second visa that doesn’t say anything your actual visa doesn’t say.
The morning was very nice, it was humid but very cool and there was NO ONE out and about. True, most of the stores were closed but I got to stroll the Roman streets in peace and a bit of cool. I returned about 11:00 and was really tired since, as mentioned above, I didn’t sleep at all. I was to wait for a phone call between 12:00 – 13:30 from my Italian helper at the Casa to go out and actually send in the stuff to obtain the permisso. The phone rang promptly at 13:13 and down I went.
I will spare you the details of our very, very Italian adventure as it would be very hard to maintain charity. But a few notes.
1. It was hot – not like yesterday (which was a balmy 104 F) but today was only about 90 F today and thus a bit more bearable. However, the humidity was not fun and the plastic on plastic clerical collar was un-fun. Also, side note: I have not seen ONE cleric since I have been here. Clearly the Roman clergy are smart enough to get out during ferragosto.
2. I think I know how to get around Rome better than my Italian helper. Don’t get me wrong, I would not have been able to do it without him as the whole permisso thing is an arcane circus but he was all over the place for no clearly discernible reason. The heat did not make things better.
3. People are different. When we finally got to the desk at the Post Office with all my materials official, the lady at the desk took issue with our presentation. My Italian handler took issue with her taking issue and it was on! I mean these two were pointing and shouting and yelling and fist-pounding right there in the middle of the office. I can take a lot but soon uncomfortable took hold. Of course, she held all the cards and my handler stormed out to the photocopy place across the street, made one more copy of my passport and returned. Amazingly, the gal at the desk let us in a head of the line and processed my permisso application while the two of them had a pleasant chat about the cafe down the street sharing a few laughs. WHAT! Five minutes earlier they were at each others throats, now, having a pleasant chat. Moral of the story, people are crazy beautiful and I’m out 160 euro. Political side-bar: this is what the nanny state costs.
When I returned it was to the horror of Italian customs. In short – my shipment to Rome (clothes, toiletries, books) has been held up in Milan since Monday. Why? Because one box has TOO MANY ‘personal sanitary items.’ Really? Do they hate people coming into the country who keep themselves clean and well groomed? It has taken 5 days to get the blessed email, yikes! It has been a huge headache, costs money and will delay my trip to Siena, which bums me out immensely. Please pray.
I did go out to dinner with young Fr. Andrew from Chicago who arrived at the Casa today. He is as pleasant as pleasant can be and we had a nice walk in the warm Roman evening and enjoyed dinner. It was great to take one’s mind off of disappointing things.
This city is so beautiful with such great architecture, character, beauty, the glow of the river the ambiance of the buildings all lit up. You have to love it. Home sweet home in my little room in my huge house in my Eternal City. I really wanted to yell and shout today but a look at an image of the Virgin Mary helps and chatting the spiritual life over penne puttanesca in the Roman nightlight can sooth the soul.
Nick and Emily, many blessings to you I will be missing you and praying a great deal for you. My whole heart is for you.