Previously, on the Jus Sanguinis Arc: I successfully filed our Italian citizenship applications on June 30 after going through so many rough patches, Venezuelan public office shenanigans, and absurd obstacles trying to obtain all of the paperwork required.

I was informed on that day that the process would take at least six months and that we’d receive an email once everything was ready, then and only then would we be able to request the passports. A rather lengthy downtime — but if you consider that, according to official websites, the process used to take 2+ years, I’ll definitely take the 6 months wait time, after all I’ve been through and all the failures I’ve gone through the past five years in terms of migrating alongside my brother, what’s another six more months gonna do to what’s left of me than all these past years haven’t done already?

So, I spent the past months trying to bring my health back to good shape (and failing at it), but also working on stuff so that I can save some more money for our travel out of Venezuela, as well as bringing closure and wrapping up other affairs, both personal and bureaucratic alike.

I can only say that these past months have felt like an eternity, they certainly were longer than the first half of 2022, which seemingly went out in a flash. One by one, I kept counting the months, fully expecting a response somewhere in January, as the sixth month of waiting would be right before New Years’ Eve and all that.

My health has been up and down like a rollercoaster these past months, migraines, sinus issues, anemia, and other minor nuisances. I’ve been taking some vitamin supplements, trying to reduce my overall stress, and just trying to feel better, baby steps, but I was on an upward trend until about two weeks ago, when I started to feel very sick.

It started with a simple sore throat that I attributed to a cold, but then it progressively got worse, and then fever broke out, and then the coughing came in. I spent most of the last week of November bedridden and isolated from my brother, and had to order some food for him during the days that I just couldn’t cook for him.

Maybe it was COVID, maybe it was just a flu (I used to get it rather often, but after the pandemic I simply stopped getting it, so I knew that if and when I’d get it again it would hit me like a truck). Some family members that live nearby were sick too, and now some of my neighbors have it, whatever it was, I’m thankful that I didn’t spread it to my brother.

I still got some minor coughing that’s nowhere near as bad as it was last week (couldn’t even lay down on my bed without coughing uncontrollably, so I was sleeping on a chair during those days), and my voice is still a bit hoarse still after all that coughing, but thankfully I’m much better now.

On Monday, November 28th, we got the much awaited emails that informed us that our citizenship applications had been sent to the corresponding authorities in Italy, congratulating us for being Italian citizens.

I only realized hours later because I was too sick and with fever when they arrived on that Monday afternoon, and my brother doesn’t really check his email unless you tell him to. I wanted to celebrate. Earlier that day, I noticed that the Italian Consulate in Caracas tweeted a thread with info about the passport process, informing everyone that the process is fast, smooth, and that you get the passport on the same day of your appointment.

I was too sick to do anything, I needed to recover first so that I could request the passport appointments. Fever finally subsided on Thursday morning and, weak as I was, I requested the appointments for the two of us on that morning.

True to their word, the process was smooth, and they gave us an appointment for December 8th, exactly one week later, enough time for me to finish recovering from whatever hit me + get the very basic photocopies they ask for the application.

Fast forward to one week later and there we were, up and ready to go. Unlike the day of our Citizenship applications, I decided to head out a bit later because it was too dark and too cold. The last thing I wanted was for the cold to flare up my cough once more.

We arrived at around 6:40 a.m. and there were already quite a lot of people waiting outside in two lines: one for passports and one for other stuff.

I was 9th on the passport line while my brother was the 10th person. I ran into a conundrum because one lady in the line told us that she brought some forms that she got on the Consulate’s website for the passport application — which is not mentioned at all in the email I received but it’s linked on the passport’s info page.

The woman in front of us also didn’t have that form, but the lady had a spare set. I left my brother on the line and walked with that woman trying to find a place to make copies of it — ultimately it was for nothing as they don’t request that form anymore, everything is now done via the digital file they have of each citizen.

Anyways, the Consulate opened its doors at 08:00 a.m. and by 08:50 we already had gone through the process, had our photos taken, signed the paperwork, and paid the 475 Bolivars each for the passports (about $40 as of Dec 10).

All we had to do was wait. According to a staff member, there was a slight delay because the Consul hadn’t arrived yet to sign the passports off.

Two hours later, a man walked in with the first batch of passports. My brother was actually the first name that was called, and I was the second one. Finally, after all these years, we had those Italian passports in our hands. We left the consulate, called a taxi, and headed back home so that I could start working on some stuff for the day.

We lit a candle and prayed as soon as we arrived. You have no idea how ecstatic I was. Finally, I have obtained a way to get my brother on a plane out of Venezuela with me. It still feels a bit surreal to me, like — I’m still trying to process the fact that I finally did it, after all these years.

I managed to solve more than 35 years worth of paperwork omission on behalf of my father (the fact he never registered his marriage to my mom nor our births with the Italian authorities and other stuff) in the span of ten months thanks to one photocopy that he provided me with earlier this year, which is how I was able to assemble our applications in the first place — without it there was nothing I could’ve done.

I’m not going to lie, I’m still mentally drained after that marathon of bureaucracy. I spent most of the year getting everything, going from one office to another, one line to another, one ‘system malfunction’ after another, delays. I had to suspend work on my passion projects, Sword, Sins, etc just so I could focus on this.

It was worth it.

If and when God blesses me with children of my own, I’ll make sure to do all of this for them at the right time (right after they’re born) so that they’ll never have to go through all the bs and hoops I had to go through to obtain this.

As I said on Twitter, the Venezuelan passport will always remind me where I come from, what I’ve been through and that which I’ll never forget: my own shortcomings as a man, my atypical childhood, my stray years as a teenager, my own lack of self-care, what happened in Venezuela, and everything else.

The other one will help me fulfill the promise I made to my mother on her deathbed and help me build a future for my brother.

It’s now up to me to keep going so that I can pay my debt to the world for all the help and support I’ve received during these past years.

So, what now?

I gotta confess that the whole process taking less than the six months (plus whatever months for the passport) that I had anticipated caught me completely off guard, much more so when the emails arrived at a time when I was really really sick.

Right now the next step is to evaluate my options.

I can enter Italy, yes, but I don’t know anyone there, nor do I speak the language. There’s Spain, and every other country in the European Union, it’s a matter of figuring out where we can go, a place to initially crash at, and finding work (language barriers notwithstanding if it’s not Spain).

When it comes to the United States — where most of my frens reside — right now, we can only enter as tourists for up to 90 days per trip. The same goes for Canada but we can stay for up to 6 months per trip. I’d still need a work visa or something of the sorts for either of these two countries. I lost a prospective job in America a few months ago because I wasn’t able to travel, it is what it is, though.

Honestly, if I had the money, I’d grab my brother, our Italian passports, and hop on a vacation for the first time in our lives — America, Canada, Europe, I don’t mind where as long as it’s not here. I’m very worn and I could definitely use a vacation after all I’ve been through to renew myself both physically and mentally, alas, maybe in the near future.

There is one slight hiccup though: Our Venezuelan passports are going to expire on January 25th, 2023. If we’re not out by then that means I have to spend roughly $215 each to renew them. They will not let us out of the country without a valid Venezuelan passport.

If it comes to that then it won’t be a big issue, really, just a setback that involves money and a few weeks, as well as two more lengthy lines.

What is definitely certain is that this is the last Christmas and New Years that we will spend here.

And with this, I bring closure to the Jus Sanguinis arc of my life, a ten-month wild ride full of paperwork, photocopies, legalizations, apostilles, translations, obstacles, and a lot of bureaucracy.

For the first time in many years — quite possibly for the first time in my life — I can actually start making plans for the future.

Like I said, I’m still trying to process everything.

Thank you all for your continued support, words of encouragement, and for being awesome, without your support and words I would not have had the strength to pull this one out.

Until the next one,