During our October appointment to the Italian Consulate General in Los Angeles, Tracy and I signed our visa application in front of a consular officer who also endorsed the application. However we were also required by the Consulate to submit three additional documents before they would process the application. The Consulate wanted a copy of our marriage certificate, a notarized letter of why we wanted to live in Italy, and a letter of financial solvency from our banker. The last request seemed very old fashioned since we had already submitted pension statements and account balance print-outs. I had an image out of the film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and the Consulate wanting us to go visit Jimmy Stewart down at the Bedford Falls’ Building and Loan office and asking him for a personal letter of reference. We, like most the people we know, don’t have our very own “Banker.”
We followed-up with an appointment with the manager at our Bank of America branch. We were surprised to learn that we actually did have our own banker. Cherye, the branch manager, recognized us as long time patrons of the bank. She was extremely helpful with getting us the document we needed. She requested the financial letter from the Bank of America corporate office for us and co-signed the letter when it arrived at the bank branch five days later. We added the bank letter to the other documents with our previously endorsed visa application and “FedEx’ed” the whole package along with our passports back to the Consulate for their review. We are now anxiously waiting for a return FedEx package from the Consulate with our final approval, visas, and passports. We are in “hurry up and wait,” mode. Although we can only apply for the formal visa a maximum of 90 days prior to scheduled departure, the Consulate does not provide a time estimate for processing and final decision.
Our efforts on minimizing “stuff” is going well. Tracy and my goal is to downsize our personal possessions and move to Italy with only two suitcases and a carry-on bag each that contain all our clothing, computers, Kindles (in place of books), and cameras. (The dog has her own carry-on bag to ride in.) We went through our wardrobes and reduced our clothing to just 10 outfits each, coat, and shoes. Our son Nicholas, who is a similar height and build as me, made off with several suits, shirts, slacks, ties, and jackets from my closet. Tracy has been copying our legal and financial records along with family photographs by scanning them into digital files while saving them to external hard drives. She has already “ripped” all of our DVD movies into digital files so we can have some English language entertainment while abroad.
We put the Smart Car Cabriolet, our last vehicle, up for sale on Craig’s List. We wanted to get the car on the market before the upcoming holiday season diminishes the cash flow of potential buyers. The Smart car is our last “big” possession that we need to divest ourselves from. After owning minivans, station wagons, and family sedans because of raising eight kids, I really enjoyed the last few years of having a “ragtop” two-seater and driving with the wind and sun in my face. But getting rid of the car is a final step for making the move and transitioning on to the next big step in our lives.