In March 2005, my boyfriend came to visit me in Florence, Italy. He was my first (and only) visitor from home during my time studying abroad and I couldn't wait to show him around. I had saved some of the best parts of the city to see with him.
We went to the Uffizi where we saw The Birth of Venus, to the Accademia where we stood in awe of the David, and to the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (aka the Duomo) where I proceeded to chicken out, but he walked all of the way to the top.
I also took him to my favorite vegetable stands and cafes. I took him to hidden gems in the oltrarno neighborhood, including a violin maker's shop; I loved peering in through the windows watching this skilled craftsmen work. I took Rob to a cemetery at the peak of the city that offers amazing views and history. I watched as the person that I loved fell in love with Florence. I was already clearly smitten.
During a romantic weekend to Lake Como, we promised each other that one day we would find a way back to Italy -- not for a vacation, but to live. It took six years and a lot of scheming to figure out how to get back, but (God willing) we've figured it out.
In early 2010, I discovered that the answer had been with me the entire time: I was eligible for dual citizenship through Jure Sanguinis (right of the blood). After reading that the process of collecting paperwork and applying for citizenship could take upwards of 2-3 years, we set the goal of living abroad within one calendar year.
The process has not been easy. In fact, it's been frustrating, confusing and downright infuriating sometimes. But, we have always kept in mind the final goal...a move to Italy and attaining Italian citizenship.
You will read a lot on this blog about the process of applying for dual citizenship. I'll share my own personal stories and well as some of the official advice I've received along the way. Because I would have given my left arm for one when I began this crazy jure sanguinis journey, I'm writing a dual citizenship handbook/workbook for others to use in the future. I hope to release it in February 2011.
As if applying for citizenship wasn't crazy enough, we've tacked on actually moving to Italy. As I write this (September 2010), we are beginning to work through the logistics of our move. In the next three months we need to sell most of our belongings, get our dog prepped and booked to make the move, work with a relocation specialist in Italy, and -- perhaps most difficult -- prepare ourselves for this bold adventure we are about to take.
We look forward to sharing our new life in Italy with the friends, family and strangers that will read this blog.
Kate + Rob