Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Tripped up by a "technicality" in our search for Lucy’s citizenship

Through the wonders of modern communications and transport, we received all of our documents on time for Lucy’s citizenship appointment at 11 a.m. today. The most amazing event was receiving the apostille for her FBI report, which was picked up in Washington DC yesterday morning and given to Federal Express in the afternoon. Somehow it made it to our hotel lobby this morning at 7 a.m.

Lucy at the Consulate
I went over each of the 26 pages of documents (or 52, if you consider that we must provide a copy of each page) several times to make sure I had everything in order. I re-read the directions, which gave the requirements. I had a money order in hand ready to make out to the Italian Consulate. I re-checked the address and route. We arrived an hour early.

And then, because of one tiny little digit, we failed to receive Lucy’s citizenship. One tiny little but all-important digit, a seven instead of a six. It seems that correct digits are vital when they are used in the year of one’s application appointment, which turned out to be August 2, 2017, not August 2, 2016. We were exactly one year early! The lady in charge of the citizenship by marriage was not even at work today, and there was no possible way an exception could be made.

What the heck? How could I have been so incredibly stupid! In looking back at the website where the appointments are booked, I saw how I made the mistake. Back on May 23, when I made the appointment, the first month that showed on the calendar was June, which I assumed was the next month. It was full, and so was July, but there was one open date in August. That’s a busy time of year for my business, and I also thought that might be too short a time to get all our documents together, so I clicked ahead month-by-month to the following June. I found that every other day was booked for a year ahead of June, so I clicked backwards to August and reserved the only date open.

What I didn’t notice in all this clicking was that the calendar program had taken me to June of 2017, not 2016. I had just assumed that I was looking at this year’s calendar, but not so. It seems that the Consulate staff is incredibly busy  (they serve seven states), because now when I look at calendar, I see that it starts with August 2017, and every date between then and August 2018 is already reserved. It’s not yet possible to make reservations for September 2018, so essentially there is not a single open date for the next two years.

Looking at it from this perspective, I’m still fortunate to have an appointment only one year away. If I had waited until I had every document and then tried to get a date, I would have had to check back regularly just get an appointment at least two years in the future. Yes, I wasted some money on express mail delivery, and we took a somewhat pointless trip, but hey, it’s still San Francisco. We’re having a good time, and this is kind of an anniversary celebration for us, since we worked right through our 42nd anniversary on July 13.
At least we're in San Francisco . . .

I probably would be less embarrassed if I hadn’t written that blog on the train two days ago, because then fewer people would have been aware of my incredible blunder. Oh well, everyone who knows me already is aware that I can be absent minded, and now all my blog readers know the same thing.

After the shock of learning we were there a year early, Lucy and I walked to the North Beach, the city’s large Italian district. We drowned our sorrows in substantial bowls of gelato while we walked around pretending we were in Tuscany. We’ll fly home tomorrow afternoon and have a whole year to plan our next vacation in the City by the Bay.

1 comment:

Comments welcome.