Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What we have learned

It has been seven months. I cannot believe it. Seven months! We are here for three years, which means that we have been here for a little over one sixth of our total time! Wait! Wait! I said: wait! Time is going by fast, we still have many things to do, many places to go, much food to eat, many verbs to learn!
As I have said many times before, we like it here. We like all the "newness," the unknown, the little surprises. There is always something different and unexpected around the corner. Sometimes it is a new flavor, a beautiful word, a painting on a wall; other times it is a new requirement, an obscured law, a tax to pay. We take it all in stride.
We came to the "bel paese" with our suitcases full of expectations as well as a healthy dose of pragmatism. As we unpack our dreams and plans, we look around and learn from our experiences.
We have learned that there is always someone willing to help you, even though there are twice as many that won't. You just have to find that one person that makes all the difference (we have.) Another piece of advice that I want you to know is that no matter how many people tell you that what you want to do would be "impossible" there is always a possibility. We have come to realize that laws in Italy abound, that laws are the pillars of Italian society! We also know now, that every single person working a public post has some level of independence when dealing with you. We are now strong believers in the power of "just ask, be polite, smile, and try your best at speaking Italian."
We requested residency at our "commune" without the "permesso di soggiorno" and it was granted. We needed to request a change for our fingerprint appointment (a long-awaited event, that coincided with our planned trip to Prague), we went to the "questura" and it was rescheduled. We were charged the wrong plan for our Internet connection (a 1,200 euro mistake) and we found someone to work it out for us.
You must be thinking that this is the only logical outcome for all our little problems, and you would be right if we were talking about other countries, but this is HUGE in Italy. We are making progress because of our approach to the obstacles in our way. It all could be a significant hurdle, but we have decided not to let it be. We knock on doors, we talk to those who open, and leave a message for those who don't. We are coming in, sooner or later.

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