June 10, 2011…the day my husband presented all his required documentation to the young gentleman at the San Francisco Italian Consulate for his request to become an Italian citizen through marriage. He had with him all the police and FBI records indicating that he wasn’t a hardened criminal and he was definitely worthy of Italian citizenship. “Your request will be processed and you will receive your citizenship within 2 years of this meeting” is what we were told. Gosh, 2 years? Ok, well it is what it is so we knew we had to be patient.
Fast forward to November 20, 2013…and guess what? We have not heard a peep from anyone….niente, nulla, zip! If my calculations are correct, we are now at almost 2 1/2 years since our meeting. Hmm…what’s the holdup? Is his paperwork sitting on someone’s desk at some Ministry office in Italy, or worse yet, it is still sitting on that gentleman’s desk at the consulate’s office in San Francisco, never having begun its journey?
So, silly me decides to try to see if I can find out, even though I have very little hope of getting a satisfactory answer since San Francisco’s Italian Consulate is not exactly user-friendly. But, maybe, since they have a new Consul General and they seem to be doing more within the Italian community, things have taken a change for the better? There’s always a chance and you don’t know until you try, right?
My first attempt (and the least obtrusive) is to try by sending an email (since this seems to be their preferred method of communication). One email goes unanswered. Then the second… Maybe the third time will be the charm, I hope. But nope, once again, nothing.
OK, time to take the 2nd line of attack – the phone call.
So I looked up the direct line for the citizenship office and I dialed the number, just to get a recording which very bluntly stated: “That mailbox is full and is not accepting any messages!” Hmm….ok….so I decided to give them a few days to empty out their messages. When I tried again a week later, guess what? I got the same message.
So at this point I decided to try the Consulate’s main line. And big surprise, I struck out there as well. It started off promising when I actually got a person on the other end, but as soon as I began speaking and she heard the word “citizenship” (and, mind you, she didn’t even give me the opportunity to finish saying the word), she transferred me to that darn mailbox that was full! Really?
At this point, my blood is starting to boil (something that happens every time I have to deal with them) because I feel totally helpless and completely at their mercy. They have an attitude that they can do whatever they want and no one can touch them… and I’m sure they enjoy this feeling of power. I’m just thankful that I don’t have to deal with them for something REALLY important. Consul Generals seem to come and go, hopes rise that things will be different, but in reality, nothing changes and the service to their citizens seems to get more and more lacking. Why does such a beautiful country like Italy have such dark places within their bureaucracy? It makes me sad to think that the country of my heart is so cold when it comes to taking care of their own.
I may be sabatoging my husband’s chances of ever getting his citizenship with my ramblings here but sometimes it feels good to vent….and hopefully, one day soon, we will hear some good news from them.