Hey everyone! I know I haven’t posted in a while, but you are going to LOVE this story!
Since my last post, I have attended two orientations, a Rome Pre-Departure Orientation and a General Orientation, and a Visa Information Meeting (at 8 in the morning I might add). After attending all of these meetings, I bought my International Student Identification Card (ISIC) so I can get all these lovely discounts when I’m abroad. I also put together my Visa Application for my Visa Meeting this past Thursday.
Well…do I have a story to tell you about this meeting.
Because I live in Somerset County in New Jersey, I am required to go the Italian Consulate of New York for my Visa. You can only receive your visa three months before you study abroad and they are only open certain days a week. As many of you know, I live with my grandparents during the summer and work six days a week so I didn’t have many opportunities to get my visa done.
Well Thursday morning arrived. I woke up at 8am and my mom and I were driving to the train station by 9am. We got on a train to NYC, arrived at about 10:30am, and took a cab to the Italian Consulate. We arrived at about 11am, when my appointment was at 11:35am. The security officer told us to come back so my mother and I walked around NYC in 95 degree heat for 30 minutes. When I arrived back I handed the security guard my passport and she informed me that I could give her my phone or my mother. I was shocked that my mother couldn’t come in with me. (I guess that’s what happens when you’re considered an adult by the state.) So I gave my mom my phone and she waited outside for me while I went in.
The security officer handed me a paper with the number 22 on it. If you’ve ever been to the deli counter you know that you take a number and there’s a little screen that lets us know when it’s your turn. Well it seems that the Italian Consulate worked the same way as the deli counter. When I walked in they were on 19 so I had a bit to wait.
While I was waiting, I noticed that no one received their visa because they had issues and there were a lot of people, who I assumed had meetings earlier in the morning, coming back in and handing in other items.
Finally, it was my turn. After going through all my paperwork the woman informed me that I didn’t have everything that I needed and that two of my documents were not acceptable. I thought I was going to cry. I spent weeks getting all of this paperwork together. WEEKS!
I was given a piece of paper informing me that I had to come back on a Tuesday or Thursday between 1pm-2pm in the next week to hand in the other documents. I was leaving to move in with my grandparents the next day. So I walked out of the consulate and told my mother what had happened at 12:15pm.
We decided to try and get everything together for that day (it was a Thursday). We had 1 hour and 45 minutes. She immediately got on the phone with the credit card company to get the information that we needed. I found a Staples that was a half a mile away.
By 1pm we were at the Staples and the credit card company was willing to fax a letter to Staples (but not email my mother the same letter ugh!). We received the fax and fixed the other “unacceptable” paperwork. I also had to print out a copy of my transcript to prove that I was enrolled at CUA. By 1:30pm we had everything together.
So at 1:30pm in NYC when it was 95 degrees outside, my mother and I walked, speed-walked, and ran back to the consulate. (We actually ran. I almost died.) We made it back to the Consulate at 1:40pm.
I gave my mom my phone and I ran in. The security office waved me in and I went up to the same woman I had before. She looked at my paperwork and asked to see my credit card. My heart was pounding. The woman went in the back to talk to her supervisor and when she came back out she said “Perfetto!”.
I was so relieved. I ran back outside and told my mother the good news. I had some sweet gelato, ate a nice Italian lunch, and headed back home. At the end of the day I had received my Italian Visa!!!!
Unfortunately the paperwork isn’t done yet, but I’m now able to get into the country I’m studying in!
I still have a lot more paperwork I have to work on, but now I have to done a bunch of research on Italy (I bought three books!) and figure out everything I will need for living in Italy for FOUR months!
I don’t know when my next blog will be, but I hope that you enjoyed this one because my mother and I very much enjoy telling this story!
80 days until Rome