Well, Jane, It Just Goes to Show You, It’s Always Something

Remember how Gilda Radner used to play Roseanne Roseannadanna on Saturday Night Live?  Even if you’re too young to remember it, maybe you could humor me and use your incredibly taut and pert breasts to type out a comment of, “Yes, Jocelyn, I do remember Gilda Radner playing that character. She was very fubby.”  (see, you mis-type that final word because you have a rogue nipple that veered away from the “n” key; this is the same nipple that used to go out and play Knock-n-Run at night while you were sleeping…who knew a nipple could be so adept at ringing a door bell?)  

Anyhow, remember how Roseanne Roseannadanna (or, er, the Radner character of Emily Litella–thanks, Geewits, for the correction!) would go on and on about something, only to get pulled up short by reality at the end of it all, after which she’d issue a semi-sheepish, “Nevermind”?

Well, I’m not quite in Rosannadanna territory right now, but part of me feels some identification with that character.

‘Cause, Poodles?  Since a few days ago, we’ve been in email talks with our Sicilian counterparts, and the subject line on those messages has been “visa snag.” 

Setting aside the fact that we still haven’t heard back again from the Italian embassy about our own visas–we had the audacity to ask questions like, “Your Website indicates we will need to come to Chicago to get our visas, which we are quite willing to do; however, we also see that there are a few satellite consulates that have been set up, including one in Minneapolis, which is a mere two-and-a-half hours from our house, rather than eight.  Could we go to the Minneapolis consulate to get our visas?”–you know, difficult questions like that, which could take weeks to answer (however, in the meantime, a nice Italian embassy man sent us a lengthy explanation about how I, under a student/sabbatical visa, would need to go to Italy first, declare residency by filing with a local police station, and then issue my husband an invitation for a 90-day tourist visa.  I would be welcome to stay some months, really, but Groom would have to leave after 90 days…no mention of the children, so I assume the plan would be that we’d put bowls of water and food on the floor and be sure to lock up before leaving Duluth).

So, yes, setting all that aside, we’re now trying to wend our way through things from the Italian side.  Our potential exchange family has discovered that, with an F-1 visa, they cannot enroll their kids into the U.S. public school system without paying tuition (to cover the costs of their education).  I’ve been fishing around, asking questions of local administrators and the district office, just to see if reality doesn’t align with what the visa stipulates–that is, if hundreds of thousands of “undocumenteds” enroll their kids in the public schools every year, is it possible the relevant screening questions don’t get asked?  My sister, who has taught in areas with large “undocumented” populations, attests that there’s a “don’t ask; don’t tell” policy in most schools.  Okay, then.  And a local principal had never heard of any of this visa stuff and basically said, “If a child lays his head on a pillow in our district, we’ll enroll him.”  But today a quick conversation with the assistant superintendent’s office revealed, “Oh, there might be I-20 issues.  They might have to pay tuition.  I’ll get back to you.”  As of right now, we’re waiting to hear more.

This is a distinct wrench, of course, which could result in the family saying they only want to do an exchange during the summer months (which would, of course, still be a huge experience and feel like a gift from the universe); or they might be able to pay tuition (there’s also a parochial school locally, which could charge less for its tuition than the U.S. government would ask; between their having to buy a spendy short-term health insurance policy with a significant deductible and having to pay for their kids to go to school, I’m considering renaming this whole boondoggle “The Mortifications of Capitalism”); or, as I’ve suggested a few times, they could homeschool.  However, homeschooling is technically illegal in Italy, so their attitude toward it varies a great deal from what we’re used to thanks to the Good Old Homesteading/Religious Right/Crunchy Hippy groups that have made homeschooling widely accepted in the U.S.

At any rate, we’re suspended right now, awaiting further information, but mostly I feel like whispering, about my last post, “Nevermind.” 

Having done that, I can also admit that I do think something will work out, somehow (thanks for the gift of that attitude in life, Mom!).  Until then, though, I’m pretty much sitting in front of the computer muttering “Crap.  Damn.  Crap.  Suck.  Piss.  Ass-hattery Up the Butthole” (don’t read that last part, Mom!) and finding myself blogging about uncertainty when I’d had all good intentions today of writing about this one time I went and ordered a hamburger.

Never fear.  In my life, heart, stomach, and storytelling, the hamburger always wins out.  So I’ll get to that story here in a few days.  If the wait is going to be too much for you, I’ll give away the ending now: 

I ate the thing.

And, unlike the hamburger with a toenail in it that Roseanne Roseannadanna once ate, mine was actually relatively untainted,

featuring only the usual ick:   rat hairs and cow nostrils and ground up embassy workers.

Chew on that.




19 responses to “Well, Jane, It Just Goes to Show You, It’s Always Something”

  1. Jenn @ Juggling Life Avatar
    Jenn @ Juggling Life

    It so must happen. I think this is just a little speedbump on the road to your Italian adventure.

    We are having an exchange student for the coming school year and I do know the school district is quite picky about him being on an H-1 student visa. It took a while to find a company that would do a direct placement (he knew of us through friends and wants to stay with us).

  2. secret agent woman Avatar
    secret agent woman

    Rosanne Rosannadanna knew. I hope this all gets sorted out. (I was able to type that without interference from my nipples.)

  3. Vic Avatar

    Oh, the Great God of Bureaucracy. I'm sorry about the whole theater of the absurd thing that's happening!

    I do remember Rosanne Rosannadanna, and I'm pretty sure I could type this with my nipples from a much greater distance than ten years ago, provided some kind of scaffolding was involved.

  4. Jeni Avatar

    Who knew that planning a visit to Italy and a corresponding visit of people from Italy to the good old US of A could possibly get so darned convoluted? I sure as hell didn't! But then, I've only ever been to Niagara Falls, Ontario so what the heck do I know about such things.

    Hope that burger -with all those "goodies" ground in there helps to settle all these issues in short order for you though. My money is on that it will all work out -eventually -and for the best for all concerned.

  5. monica Avatar

    eew – rat hairs, cow nostrils. Hope your Italians to-be don't read that, then they will refuse to enter the magic kingdom of hamburgers, and stay in their spaghetti field…:o) Oh such obstacles, but I think like you; things'll work out, you'll see. And who knows, maybe I'll hop on a bus and come by for a cup of water from the village pump..

  6. geewits Avatar

    I hate sounding like an Italian official here, but it was Emily Litella (a different Gilda Radner character) that always said "Nevermind" after doing an editiorial on something like "Violins in Schools." Sorry to be yet another buzzkill full of Ass Hattery. On the other hand, since I have already imagined your blog posts from Italy, I know they will happen, so don't worry. It will obviously take some time and lots of wading and wrangling, but it will happen. Slow and steady wins the race.

  7. Deborah Avatar

    Saw you sitting in Julieanne's sidebar this morning and thought 'with a blog name like that why haven't I been there before now?'

    It really doesn't matter what you blog about – although I do hope your visa turns up and the Italians get into school even if it is by the back door – because you're one of the funniest writers I've come across.
    What a great start to my day!

  8. Becky Cazares Avatar
    Becky Cazares

    Good thing they make 'em tough as nails up there in Minnesoooota! As you are well aware, the very BEST things in life often come as a result of immense struggle (or else we'd just burp babies!), and said 'thing' becomes ever more precious due to the very struggle that produced it. It's just karma testing your nettle a bit. All will work out eventually (thanks Jocelyn's mom). I know it.

  9. furiousBall Avatar

    not but a minute ago, i posted a comment on Gary Vaynerchuk's blog about this…

    "GV, I couldn't agree more. I lost my job last April, one month after getting full custody of my two children, a year after losing my father, and I decided to not go back to working in a cube and being completely non-self-actualized (not a word, but screw it) – I started my own web design business. After watching my own father's heart deteriorate after working too hard, I knew there was a better way. I'm not working with assholes or anyone that doesn't respect my time, skills, and who I am ultimately working for – my children. I've let projects go when I really could use those dollars, but ultimately, I'm going to win and in the process, my kids are going to see their father win THE RIGHT WAY. I have patience and I will be successful."

    patience, slow and steady with your heart in the right place – they win

  10. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar
    Green Girl in Wisconsin

    Who knew that it would get so messy? I never knew ANY of those things about coming to America and staying here temporarily. Gosh we're bureaucratic assholes.

  11. Jazz Avatar

    Come to Canadia! You like winter and all that stuff.


  12. jess Avatar

    Oh man, Pumpkin,how will I ever meet a handsome Eye-talian man if I have no reason to visit Sicily!?! We've got to get working on this. I'll get the Big Guy upstairs involved.

    I used my hands. My nipples don't reach the keyboard unless my face is pressed flat against the desk and that makes it hard to see the monitor.

  13. Voyager Avatar

    I'd like to say I typed this with my nipples. But that would be a lie. I have on a shirt, hoody, and down vest and I couldn't be bothered to peel them all off. Not to mention the keyboard is COLD.

  14. Patois Avatar

    This is the problem with people trying to do things legally. If they were of the kind to not give a rat's butt about their status and being upfront and all that, they could just register the kids, no questions asked, and just pop into emergency rooms under aliases until the year is up.


  15. Midlife Jobhunter Avatar
    Midlife Jobhunter

    If that is the worst of your vocabulary, you still have much patience to see if this will work out for both families. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

  16. chelle Avatar

    am glad that through out it all you still believe.

    hmmm illegal to homeschool. interesting.

  17. christopher Avatar

    Just found your site…your energy level shines through…hope it all works out…great writing, great post!

  18. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    I think I can shed light on your problems with Groom's truncated visa, Gilda — Cinemacitta wants you for the lady love of Marcello Mastroianni's successor and il marito Americano would be in the way. E Molto semplici.

    I hope this helps to clarify things for you. Prego!

  19. lime Avatar

    i gotta say, embassy workers were the second nastiest people i encountered when abroad….eclipsed only by the guys who tied us up and robbed us.

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