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I hadn't really been telling anyone online about this because I wanted to wait until the final results came in.
I got my Italian Visa!
It only happened in the final week of January.
Prior to that were all the preparations for the lengthy application, and then I had to fly back to the US for a face to face interview with a government official at the Italian Consulate General in Houston.
But let me back up a bit... And let me tell you why this is so important.
I never knew if I definitely had the Visa until a few days before my scheduled flight back to Italy. Why? Because that is how they have it set up to work.
The thing is, I know this has been a journey guided by Spirit the entire way. I was only supposed to come to Assisi for a brief writing retreat, last summer in August. Then I would continue traveling.
However, the overwhelming feeling of joy and love and the recognition of so much beauty and peace here in Assisi made me ask myself, "Why would I live anywhere else?"
It struck me on the second day here. And it was a big "struck," like, it stopped me dead in my tracks! So after that came the long research to figure out how I could actually live here. I mean, they have laws about immigration, right?
They certainly do.
Oh, the horror stories I heard from people who had to wait a year before they got their Visas. That was a scenario that was not going to work for me.
Luckily, I heard the Italian Consulates are all over the US and, depending on which one you go to, you could be treated very differently from one to the other, depending which person you were working with! So, for instance, the Consulate in Los Angeles would be very different from the Consulate in Chicago. And you were obligated to go to the specific consulate which covered the jurisdiction of the State you lived in!
That's when I was led and heard that the Consulate in Houston was really fast. Like, get-it-in-5-days fast! Now, I confirmed this with a few different people, then learned you actually have to live in Texas to be able to go to the Houston Consulate.
Since my residence was technically in Hawaii, or it could be determined to be California, that put me in the jurisdiction of the slowest and most difficult and bureaucratic of all Consulates - Los Angeles. So I had to think quickly and do a switcheroo with my official residence.
Meanwhile, my passport was expiring, and it took the whole month of September, in the US, to get that taken care of. This meant no progress on the Visa that whole month!
Back in Italy, I had 3 months to do more research, plan, and get all the documents together. But the first month of October, there was no internet in my new place! Oh the hassles that created...
Do you see what's happening here? Every kind of obstacle, or delay, was presented before me. But it wasn't so much that I was the one deciding I wanted to live in Assisi. It was a spiritual directive. So now, holding my faith through all the tests and obstacles was being really challenged.
One step forward after another...
In November, I realized I had a good friend in Texas, and rang her up to see about the possibility of a favor.
She didn't answer her phone for a month!
Fortunately, Francesca did agree to let me use her address and to visit for a bit while I got a driver's license there.
So the next month, while in Italy, was filled with planning the following:
BEFORE leaving Italy for all that, I had to find an apartment and sign a lease on a place that stated I would be a tenant there for at least a year. That lease then had to be brought to an official government office, to be registered, stamped and signed off on!
All before leaving the country. This is an absolute requirement before getting a Visa. So there was lots of apartment hunting going on, and I finally settled on one I knew I would be happy in. It's clean, newly renovated, and well furnished.
Did I tell you the part about going to the official government office to have the lease registered, discovering that they were inexplicably closed that day, having to drive to another office, 20 minutes away, waiting a 1/2 hour to get an appointment, and then when it was all said and done, I got dropped off at the station to barely get my train for Rome, which left 4 minutes after I got there, with all my bags for the US in tow!
Once again, the very last possible moment, and I HAD to leave the country with that registered contract in hand.
Signing and registering a lease, planning all that travel, and buying plane tickets all under the pretense of coming back, Visa in hand, completely stretched my ability to have faith.
Never before have I had to hold faith so strong, for so long, over so many hurdles and challenges that stood in front of me for this spiritual directive I was given.
At any moment, the Italian Consulate could have said no, and then...what then?
There was no Plan B.
Where would I live? Where would I go? Suitcases in hand?
Failure is never an option. And none of this was in my hands. It was in the hands of a government entity well known for its thick and lengthy bureaucracy.
I cannot tell you how many times I carried myself from real fear and dread to absolute faith and certainty.
And this is my message to you: Always know what inner guidance you are receiving, and ACT accordingly.
Act as if...
... It is already done.
... This is your destiny. (It is.)
... God had planned this for you all along. (It did!)
Fear comes from the ego mind when it becomes so entrenched in this world and the "What ifs."
Let all of that go as often and as automatically as you can switch it off.
And then life will become your paradise.
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