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In May and August I wrote about our efforts to renew our permessi di sogiorno, this time with 6-year permits (you can read about it here and here).  In addition to the phone call we received in August instructing the Captain to report to the Questura in Genova, we each got a letter telling us when to appear.  Unfortunately my date was yesterday, his today.  Sigh.

So yesterday we jumped in the Mini and tore off for Genova in the rain. We arrived a little early and were doing some window-shopping when suddenly we heard a great babble of voices, accompanied by police sirens.  We ran across a highway to catch sight of this:

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The students were on strike again yesterday!

There have been nationwide strikes since Prime Minister Berlusconi proposed and the Parliament passed a budget which contains massive cuts for education  (E 9 billion).  The elementary schools have been hardest hit with the new legislation as 130,000 jobs have been cut, but all schools will suffer, from primary through university.  You can read a bit more about it here.  Maria Stella, the name in the top photo (“Maria Stella, where are you?”), is the minister of education.

And what of the Permesso process?  We went to the United Nations waiting room again but there were only about 40 people this time.  My appointment was for 11:47 (yes, they’ve got it down to the minute!) and promptly at 12:15 my name was called with several others.  We reported to sportello #6 as instructed, and then had to wait another half hour or so, but this time with few chairs (why is it that in Italy if there are 3 chairs and 40 people who might want to sit down, mothers immediately put their small children in the chairs?  Is it the same in the States these days?  Back when I was a girl…. grumble, grumble, grumble…)

Part of the wait was due to the computers going down.  To his credit the police officer on the other side of the sportello’s glass was embarrassed – “It’s a shame,” he said in excellent English, “The Italian system is a shame.”  I don’t actually agree with that assessment, but it was nice he was so sympathetic to those who only stood and waited.

Finally at 12:35 I was called to the window and given two pieces of paper.  On one I had to print my full name; on the other I had to print my full name, phone number and e-mail address. Then I had to wait again.  The computers came back to life and I was summoned in my turn to show my passport and my present permesso, which expired some months ago. Then the big moment: Fingerprints!  They take them electronically now, and I was so looking forward to it.  Everyone before me got to leave all ten prints.  In my case, though, I gave only right thumb and index finger and then was told, “Basta!”  I don’t know if the machine broke again or if I simply look innocent (darn), but that was the end of the whole thing.  All that time and energy expended for two printed names and two fingerprints.  It is all a great puzzle.

The nice officer told me to visit the Questura web-site in 2-3 months and there I would find some information about my permesso.  I hope I remember to do it.  I hope I live that long!!