I know, I know - it was ages ago. I'm a bad blogger. And I haven't uploaded pictures to Flickr for awhile, either. Sorry about that - I'm trying to maintain two Flickr accounts, and I'm obviously not doing a very good job of that! As it happens, maintaining two blogs is a bit difficult, too. I hope you'll forgive me.
It's Tuesday afternoon in Milan, and I head back to Oregon on Thursday. I'm not ready. I don't want to go back yet. Despite some things I'd like to change about my living situation here (bigger apartment, better plumbing, having my cats here) and the situation overall (Chris with a job here, us being able to be here legally and permanently), it's been an excellent trip and I still very much like Italy and the idea of living in Italy. We both do. It could have gone either way, of course, with either one of us deciding after six weeks of living in Italy that this was a bad idea of colossal proportions and what were we thinking in the first place? Both of us could have come to that conclusion as well. But we didn't. We both still love it here, and we want to come back ASAP.
That's easier said than done, unfortunately.
We have been presented with some options, which include getting an autonomous work visa for me and then a family visa for Chris, but there are serious downsides to doing that (not least of which is the personal cost we'd have to shoulder). We can also come back for up to three months on a normal tourist visa, during which time Chris can be once again looking for work. But at some point the looking for work has to turn into actually getting a position, and that's the tough part. There's no doubt in either of our minds that it'll happen, it's a question of time and presence - things tend to happen more slowly here, and it'll be hard for Chris to get a job if he's looking from across an ocean. So, even though we have options, there is (as yet) no perfect solution. Except, of course, if Chris gets a job offer!
About an hour ago we looked at our first apartment here in Milan - it was mostly a test run, to start to get a feel for the real estate system here (it's so different from the US, I don't know where to start). It was a decent apartment, but just like with cars you don't want to take the first one you see. And of course we can't really take anything right now, either. It's all this big circular thing that's very difficult to enter as a foreigner. In order to get Piece A you need Piece B, and in order to get Piece B you need Piece C. But in order to get Piece C, it seems you need Piece A. Frankly, I'm not surprised so many people come and stay here illegally - the system is so challenging to penetrate.
At any rate, this six weeks has simply flown by, and this time next week both Chris and I will be back in Oregon, trying to figure out our next steps. No telling what happens next, folks.