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Description: home Serena Richardson Stories from Italy home published work Survival in a Civilized Land La Repubblica Serenissima friends/resources Recipes From the Veneto bio / contact home published work Surviva

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home Serena Richardson Stories from Italy home published work Survival in a Civilized Land La Repubblica Serenissima friends/resources Recipes From the Veneto bio / contact home published work Survival in a Civilized Land La Repubblica Serenissima friends/resources Recipes From the Veneto bio / contact It is a full time job keeping up with the shenanigans of my husband Luciano and my in-laws next door, Anna Maria and Giancarlo. Check here for monthly stories, photos, recipes for seasonal foods, updates on my writing and all the dish on the inhabitants of our little corner of Italy. Serena archives Jan 2013 Dec 2012 Nov 2012 Oct 2012 Sep 2012Aug 2012 Jul 2012 Jun 2012May 2012 Apr 2012 Mar 2012 Feb 2012Jan 2012 Dec 2011Nov 2011 Oct 2011 Sep 2011 Aug 2011 Jul 2011 Jun 2011May 2011 Apr 2011 Mar 2011 Feb 2011 Jan 2011 Dec 2010 Nov 2010Oct 2010 Sep 2010 Aug 2010 Jul 2010 Jun 2010May 2010 Apr 2010Mar 2010 Feb 2010Jan 2010 Dec 2009 Nov 2009 Oct 2009 Sep 2009 Aug 2009Jul 2009 Jun 2009 May 2009 Apr 2009 Mar 2009 Feb 2009 Jan 2009 Dec 2008 Nov 2008 Oct 2008 Sep 2008Aug 2008 Jul 2008 Jun 2008 May 2008 Apr 2008 Mar 2008 Feb 2008 Jan 2008 Dec 2007 Nov 2007 Oct 2007 Sep 2007 Aug 2007 Jul 2007 Jun 2007 May 2007 Apr 2007 Mar 2007 Feb 2007 Jan 2007 Dec 2006 Nov 2006 Oct 2006 RSS Feed home > Fratelli D’Italia Jan 29, 2013 - 07:42 “Now the reason you were approved for citizenship is because you are married to an Italian. Is this still true?” The woman leaned towards me helpfully. “I imagine so, after all, a man answered your home phone. Was that your husband? Hmmm?” “Well, yes, that is true! I would have brought him in to prove it, but he had to go to work!” I assured the woman that there was no fraud going on here. Luciano and I in fact had stood right here in this office seven years ago insisting on our right to obtain a marriage certificate. In fact this may have been the very woman who told me incredibly that I needed to get my sworn affidavit freshly obtained from and verified by the US Ambassador in Milan corroborated by officials in Treviso. But I am not sure…I was a little emotional at the time. But I imagine that there are a lot of comings and goings in the Mareno di Piave City Hall. And being a crew member of such a tightly run ship, she just wanted to be precise. “OK. Well, take these documents home and think it over. You now have six months to decide if you truly want to become an Italian citizen. If you change your mind, the request will just disappear after six months.” She sat back behind her clean desk, the wide and empty expanse dwarfing her. “No, I am pretty sure I am ready.” After all, I worked very hard to get to this point. In fact it had taken tedious communication with officials in Louisiana, California, Washington DC, Rome, Treviso, and Milan in order to establish my birth and status as a law abiding citizen, countless fees to a myriad of offices and almost three years of waiting. As if I might suddenly change my mind? “I am ready…what do I do next?” “You will need to make an appointment with the mayor of Mareno so you can take an oath pledging your loyalty to Italy.” “Oh!” Suddenly it all was more real. I felt a tug of loyalty to America, my riotously beautiful and conflicted country…but I had come this far. And it wasn’t as if I were giving up my US citizenship. “Should I make the appointment now?” I hadn’t just shown up at this party; I know how slowly the wheels can turn here in Italy~ to get an appointment with an official within six months’ time is not easy. The woman smiled. “Well, he works here only two days a week but I think you can call a week or two in advance.” Perfect. I had approval papers, an Italian husband, proof of one last fee payment, and time to plan the event. Now the only thing between me and dual citizenship was a flag…an Italian flag. I have seen all the movies. One needs to show up at a citizenship ceremony with a flag, right? Having never needed one before I thought it would be an easy item to find. Now I wonder if they are as elusive in the US, for I could not find one anywhere. In Treviso I checked in book stores, toy stores, the train station and asked all my students. “There is no World Cup this year, Serena,” they told me. “We don’t need them now.” How could this be? I even asked the woman at City Hall…she paused, thinking and said, “The only one we have is for the front of the building….” Her voice trailed off. Still I searched. Secretly I was a little sad that no one in the family helped me in my search. I got a few suggestions, but otherwise they left me to my own devices. Perhaps it was an important final step for me to take on my own. And so, since no one surprised me with a little Italian flag, I continued my hunt. Time passed Finally Luciano said quietly, “If I had only six months to do something this important, I would have done it right away.” As usual, when Luciano speaks softly, the power of his words is shattering. With or without a flag, I went directly to City Hall and booked an appointment: Tuesday. January 22. That very afternoon I stopped in the toy store in Mareno right down the street, where Giancarlo had suggested checking, and asked for an Italian flag. The clerk went directly to the corner of the store and placed one in front of me. The quest was over. I finally had a little plastic flag whose colors represent hope (green), faith (white), and charity (red). Or green for the hills, white for the mountains, and red for the bloody wars. It depends on who you talk to, what side of the Piave you are from, or what dialect you speak, etc. In other words, a perfect representation of this kaleidoscope of a country I was preparing to join. I started to study the national anthem, called inno in Italian: Italian Brothers, Italy has awakened, She has wreathed her head With the helmet of Scipio. Where is Victory? She bows her head to you, You, whom God created As the slave of Rome. Let us band together, We are ready to die, We are ready to die, Italy has called us! (Yes!) While the words are soaking in history, melodrama and violence, normal elements of all anthems, the melody is rousing and inspires standing up a bit straighter and swinging a fist. I practiced singing it out the window one afternoon with Anna Maria standing below to help me. I swung my fist. Fratelli d'Italia L'Italia s'è desta, Dell'elmo di Scipio S'è cinta la testa. Dov'è la Vittoria? Le porga la chioma, Ché schiava di Roma Iddio la creò Stringiamci a coorte Siam pronti alla morte Siam pronti alla morte L'Italia chiamò! Si! “Not bad,” she said, “but you need to practice more. Do you have to sing it at the ceremony?” “I hope not!” “Me too,” she muttered. I did not take it personally. Here you can sing along, too I asked Anna Maria and Giancarlo to come to the ceremony. Of course Luciano had already been planning on it and we all met at the tidy City Hall after I rushed home from a lesson. With my flag in hand and...