I have been sympathetic to migration and nationality issues for a long time and this sentiment has been enhanced with a ton of direct experience with it over the years. In at least half a dozen countries I’ve made a bit of pocket money or more that was probably not totally within the realm of what is legitimate, though none of the transactions were illegal industries or unsavory. Unintentionally, I have wound up in one of these situations again, but in a much more intense way. An official from my school and I went to the local police division that handles immigration and we learned that the business advice received from the consultant of the school was not at all correct and more than likely there is no way to formalize my engagement here in country and to legalize my work activity, I would need to go back to the United States and file from there, which could take months and the cost of going back, as well as being absent for weeks when I’m needed in class. Right now we are working on finding an alternative vehicle from another Schengen country (a bloc of nations that are most but not all of the EU) through me securing a work visa or forming a company but it’s not looking good at all. Thus, I am subject to the infamous 90-in-180 tourist visa rule most western country citizens encounter in Schengen – I can only be here 90 days out of 180 or face a fine of a couple thousand euros and possible ban from the EU for up to 10 years. I do have a plan on this front, but I am not willing to test my limits by overstaying by more than a few days.
I am quite soured on investing in Italy for this reason now and one can see how in the neoliberalism globalization economic model, the clout of this country will continue to slowly wane. There is a ton more to say about everything that is happening but I’d like the entire story to unfold before I make any snap remarks. In the meantime, the experience with the students and Italian people at large has been the most rewarding international work environment I have ever had and I am so pleased to be working with them as students. The team of teachers and staff who are quite international, from three continents, is really supportive and thoughtful and so I can say that even if I’m tossed out of most of Europe, I do not feel it is a wasted or regrettable experience. Right now I am doubling down to stay on board in a semi-legal, Kafka landscape for the second term in winter and spring 2018, but I may not be able to pull it off. No one wants me to be banned from Europe for a decade for this sake, though about 100 people would be impacted by my absence. It’s very upsetting and stressful to me because while I did ask all the correct questions before arrival, it does feel like letting a team down though I’m last on the list of the possible negligent parties. I do like the challenge of working through the hoops of fire in my stronger moments.
One fantastic piece of news it that my US mobile phone number is fully terminated now and I was happy to go from $85 a month USD (€70) to €10 a month for the continent – something I wish I had done much, much sooner in 2017 but earlier I thought that the US was my perpetual base.
For the moment, I am doing my best to see as much of Italy as possible. This latest trip was in Bassano del Grappa, which seems to have begun the first wave of Christmas market activities.