Living La Vida Italiano
This is a side post to my Permesso di Soggiorno which I’m currently acquiring in order to regain Italian citizenship. And boy, what a ride it is. From being sent to one office to another – and being told several conflicting stories after another – my journey isn’t one I’d recomment if you’re considering the same avenue just so you too can start living la vida Italiano.
Italy is an amazing country for food, for lifestyle, for creativity and simply for a cultural break – especially if you’re a fan of Italian history. What it isn’t, is a country that is organised, politically stable or without corruption. Living la vida Italiano is quite simply hard work.
The Italians are compassionate and friendly – this is of course a generalisation – as of course just like with any country, there’s fucking idiots too. Some of those may or may not work for certain government offices that you have to rely on as part of your requirements to stay in Italy.
Because I lost my Italian citizenship as a child in order to gain my Australian citizenship, I have the opportunity to live in Italy for 12 months – without working – and I will automatically get my citizenship after that 12 months. That doesn’t stop the government trying to send me on the stock standard courses which other migrants need in order to fulfill a 30 point criteria. Even though I don’t need 30 points – because my citizenship is guarranteed – I attend anyway because I don’t have anyone I can argue with and because, It’s a good opportunity to meet other people. This is something that is hard to do when you spend a lot of your time alone, writing all sorts of interesting things such as books. When you have limited opportunity to meet new people in a new country – because you don’t go to an office and interact with others – you have to take any opportunity you can to meet others. So if the government thinks I should go and spend two days learning about civil life in Italy, I will go. I even got talked into doing an exam which costs me 30 euros and proves I can speak level 2a Italian. Oh what fun living la vida Italiano is!!!
Getting through to the Commune in Italy, is next to impossible. If you try and ring, they will hang up. I even had an Italian friend try and call on my behalf and they just simply hang up. Here’s a sample conversation when I called them (translated in English):
“Hello, I’d like to speak to someone regarding further information on my Permesso di Soggiorno. Have I called the right office?”
“Oh great. Would you like my reference number?”
They hang up.
I’ve done this several times and I’ve called various offices and that’s exactly what happens. They don’t seem to like phones here. So, I go into the offices and try and find someone I can talk to. They quickly tell me to go online and to find the information myself. When I ask for further information on where online specifically – because I’ve already been online 10,993 times – I’m told, “the website”.
When I had a good, Italian speaking friend call them, he got the same response.
You cannot get frustrated. You must simply accept that things are as they are and that no amount of jumping up and down is going to help your cause. Unlike the United Kingdom or Australia – both places I’ve lived – that won’t get you far. In fact, it will work against you. Italians are super-chilled about a lot of things and that’s what makes the Italian culture so interesting and lovable.
My advice to anyone that is coming to Italy for long-term stay, either with a Permesso di Soggiorno or citizenship purposes like I am, relax and expect that you are going to get frustrated more often than not and that the best way to deal with it is to sit back, have an espresso and a cake and look at the beauty around you, of which Italy is has a lot of.
I’m at a point of the Permesso di Soggiorno – three months after I applied for it – where I’m still waiting for it. My 6 week application has been “processing” for about 3 months now. I knew from the beginning that living la vida Italiano was going to be interesting and I never for a second thought that it would be anything but hard work.
I’m pleased to say that nothing surprised me and that I’m also pleased to say that either I’m becoming more Italian by the day or I lost my mind somewhere along the way because, I actually don’t give a shit.
Are you an artist? I can assure you that it is a country filled with inspiration. I’m pumping the books out now and get some of my best ideas while I’m walking around Florence. I’ve even met drug dealers in pubs.
Feel free to comment and let me know how your experience is going if you’ve come to the great Italian land or if you’re considering doing it.
I’m off to get a cappucino and a cake…Living la vida Italiano…ah…it definitely has its perks!
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