Friday, June 13, 2008

Nulla Osta, off to the US Counsulate

Here's where things almost fall apart.

We leave the magistrate's office, Nadia gets on her phone and next thing we know a cab appears to whisk us away to the consulate. It's funny, you need special permits to drive in the old part of Florence and for as many times as I've walked these streets, I've never navigated them in a car. It's a trippy experience driving down the narrow cobblestone streets.

The consulate is on the Arno about 3 bridges west of the Ponte Vecchio. It is just a few blocks from the apartment I stayed in when I studied in Florence after college.

We pull up and Nadia begins speaking to the two guards at the front. Their conversation seems to be going on a bit longer than we had hoped. And her body language is changing as well. We get the feeling that things aren't going so well. One of the guards goes inside and brings out some other man. They talk, he goes in, he returns. They talk again, he goes in again, he returns again.

At this point we are getting a little worried. Had we been less jet lagged we probably would have been more worried, but we just didn't have the energy for it.

Finally we get the update. When we reserved the Palazzo Vecchio for the wedding back in December, the Nulla Osta was performed on Tuesdays and Fridays and the wedding planner had made our appointment for Friday. At some point in the spring, the days were changed, and now it is no longer performed on Fridays. So, they don't want to let us in.

This presents a bit of a problem. In theory we would be able to do the Nulla Osta the following Tuesday, however, we had a declaration scheduled to be made on Monday which you can only do once you have the Nulla Osta completed.

Nadia is apparently trying to work her magic. They are going to call her. In the meantime we go to a nearby caffe for cappucini and a croissant.

While all of this has been going on Jason and I are trying to fill out a simple one page form that we need to present to the consulate when (and if) we get in. The basics, name, address, citizenship, parents names, countries of citizenship.

I simply could not fill this out correctly. The first time, I fill out the form properly and then sign it at the bottom. Oops! Needs to be signed in front of the consul. Luckily, Nadia had an extra. I fill this one out but write my mom's current last name instead of her maiden name. Figuring it is no big deal I cross it out and correct it. We'll come back to that in a moment.

Nadia also needed some information from us for some other paperwork. We have realized by this point that we forgot the copies of Jason's divorce papers that we carried with us from the US. Nadia says no problem, they just need a few bits of information.

"Jason, when was your divorce finalized?"

Jason looks at her blindly and turns to me with a quizzical look. "Don't look at me, it was your marriage" "I have no idea" "Well, J, it was finalized a couple of months after we started dating" "Right, May, definitely in May" "So what year was that?"

Honestly between the two of us we cannot come up with how long we had been dating! Was it 3 years or 4? Why was I so confused and tired? What in the world had we gotten ourselves into? "Well, it was right before you went to Torre a Cona the first time with the tennis trip." "What year was that?" " I don't know, I think the second trip was in fall 2005. Did you go twice in one year, or did you go in 2004 the first time?"

We both start flipping through our passports, the second tennis trip to Italy was definitely 2005 based on stamps in my passport. However, Jason has no stamps that correspond to the first tennis trip.

I think Nadia is starting to worry about the both of us. I'm sure she's thinking that this is some sort of sham wedding, or Jason is not really divorced or god knows what.

Nadia: "Ok, how about your wedding, Jason, when was the date of your marriage?"

Again, Jason looks at me begging for the answer. "Dude, seriously I don't have any idea" "Me neither" "I know it was the same year as Sarah and Lou, you got married before them" "Right, but when was that?" "I have no idea, I know it was Aug. 23rd"

Seriously, this is getting embarrassing. We have almost all of the pieces of the puzzle but we can't put them together. Worst part is, it is 10am in Europe and anyone at home we could call who might know the answer would obviously be fast asleep! Jason's parents are already on the ground so we try calling them. Unfortunately, the phone numbers we have for their Mobal phones are wrong. Both of them.

Suddenly, our phone rings! It's KJo also on the ground in Rome! "Kevin, great to hear from you, glad you're hear, we have a question, what year did Sarah and Lou get married?" "Uh, I have no idea"


Luckily, the next phone call is the charm. It's Karen and Ed calling from Amsterdam. They are able to clarify the tennis trip dates by flipping through their own passports and we have solved the mystery of Jason's divorce finalization.

Stroke of luck number two, Jason's family calls! Luckily Jason's mother has the answers we crave and now we know the date of Jason's marriage.

We really hope all the dates are correct

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