by Ann Kucera
This is a love story, but a different type of love story.
My husband and I fell in love with a Greek Island while on vacation many years ago and decided to find a way to make it our forever home.
The island was Santorini and the year was 1997.
In the decades following, we researched business opportunities, explored properties, and even took Greek language classes.
My language skills evolved to where I either provided a good laugh or got myself in trouble……
Our plan: find a business opportunity, learn the language, and (most important) GET DUAL CITIZENSHIP so we could live the second part of our life legally in Europe.
So, that’s the back story. Now I’ll turn the page and continue.
While working diligently on the first two parts of our plan, we also started researching and gathering the documents needed to apply for our citizenship.
My husband’s grandpa was Italian therefore he qualifies to apply for Italian citizenship through descent. And I qualify to apply through marriage.
First up, we needed his maternal grandpa’s birth certificate and here’s where we hit a dead end.
For the next two decades, we sought this elusive document. We found lots of supporting documentation of his immigration from Italy and his life in the US, but no birth certificate.
I even hand wrote letters to EVERY family in Italy with the same surname in hopes of getting a lead. Surprisingly, we got about a 60% response. All were supportive and we finally got some help when one gentleman wrote that grandpa may have been an orphan. At the time of his birth, there was a devastating famine and many families left children they could not afford to feed with the convents. The nuns would give these children a surname of the different types of flowers. This was the case with grandpa.
After repeatedly hitting dead ends, we hired ItalianSide to help us. Building on our research, they were successful in locating his birth record, his correct birth year, and also his Military record. And they told us the heartbreaking news that records indicated he was abandoned at birth.
So now that we had his birth certificate along with all the other necessary documents, all that was left would simply be relocating temporarily to Italy while our documents were processed. We didn’t see a problem. We gave notice to our employers and booked our flight.We donated EVERYTHING we owned except for what fit in a medium size suitcase. Our plan was to take advantage of having a home base in Italy to take overnight trips to several cities while our applications were being processed.
All went according to plan until the virus hit, Italy closed its borders, and our flight had to be rescheduled 10 times before we could finally leave.
But we are here now and I invite you to read all about our hilarious adventures of day-to-day life in Italy.
Next up: Having a 300 word Italian vocabulary of which only 10 words can actually be used daily.
Ann Kucera is a freelance writer living and enjoying life with her husband in southern Italy