Italian Red Tape
Oh Italia, how you love to toy with our emotions. After having our home registered at the local commune, we had to wait for a police visit to confirm our address. We waited, semi-patiently, for the officers to come to our home to no avail. After two weeks we knew something had to be wrong so we started making phone calls.
Bureaucrats are not exactly known for there helpfulness, add to that a couple of foreignors who aren’t fluent in the language and hilarity ensues. After a few phone calls that got us nowhere we decided to return to the comune to see what had gone wrong.
Turns out we had received bad information and registered at the wrong comune. Granted, it was our mistake, so we could only be so frustrated. Why would the Comune have the correct information and tell us whether or not we were in their jurisdiction? I mean its not like its their job or anything.
After this SNAFU, we were directed on which comune we needed to visit to re-register. The info from this government office had been solid so far so we were pretty confident. One important tidbit is that all Comunes are open for a few hours a day so there is a small window in which to accomplish anything. Lucky for us, through the due diligence of government officials, we only had to visit five different Comunes in one day. The best part was that all of these offices were about a 40 minute bus ride from each other and we had until 13:00 before they all closed. Every office we went to told us that we had been given wrong information, even when they were fluent in English which seemed totally reasonable.
The last office we went to told gave us a number to call to schedule an appointment which is all we needed to begin with apparently. Anyone could have told us that from the start but that would have made way too much sense. One lovely aspect about Italy is that you can find contradictory information on every government website and if you speak with officials in person, you will receive a different answer from each one.
Since day one I’ve found so many parallels with Italy and Mexico. Number one is the red tape you go through in order to accomplish anything. Family dynamics, the role Catholicism plays in daily lives, rules of the road (or lack there of) and the love hate relationship the governments have with Americans. I get it, when your economy is largely contributed to by American tourist there are bound to be mixed feelings. I do my best to dispel the negative American stereotype of being demanding and entitled.
My outlook on both countries are that they are beautiful and have some x factor that was missing in our former the daily lives in the states. We are not here to exploit the country and are grateful to be living here. In the grand scheme of things, the headaches that come from jumping through bureaucratic hoops are a small price to pay to live here. I am a guest in this beautiful country and don’t speak the language, its my job to make it work not theirs. All this having been said, things can still get frustrating.
On a very positive note, we are excitied to have discovered two new grocers where we now do our shopping. One is a small organic store called Naturalsi that has all things organic. The had the cheapest priced pink Himalayan salt lamps that we’ve ever seen (super exciting, I know). The second is called Legnaia which is a cooperative that grows much of its own produce. The store is surrounded by farm land, has chicken coops, horses and the largest plant and tree nursery I’ve ever seen. The produce is unbelievably fresh and delicious.
Life is normalizing here now that we have somewhere to purchase the great food ingredients and that our cat will be joining us in Firenze very soon. Our good friend Bryan Ayers has agreed to visit us and bring our Kitty, that Briana’s mom has been taking care of, on the plane ride over with him. We are super excited to see Bryan and to have Meka living with us once again. We also have our new appointment set with the comune so I’d say life is pretty good.