Friday, October 31, 2008

Un gioco di che non so i regolamenti...

The Italian bureaucracy seems to me to be like a beautifully choreographed dance with no music or explanation. It has been a trial at every turn, and truthfully if I didn't speak Italian, I don't know where I would be.

Upon entering Italy, a student has eight days to apply for a permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay). This is in addition to the visa, so for those of you who remember my difficulties in obtaining one of those, this is something completely different.

SDA Bocconi, my school, accepts many foreign students, so the administrator of my program
has provided a guide to filing all of these forms in the student handbook. My third day here I decided that it was time to start filing my papers so that I can get a fiscal code for a bank account and a cell phone. So, after visiting three different post offices and waiting probably for twenty to thirty minutes at each, I was finally referred to another agency the name of which I still am not clear on. Yesterday someone there told me to return at seven this morning to take care of my business.

I arrived at the door to the building at 6:45am, in the dark and the rain. There were already two others waiting there. We waited. Over the course of the next 45 minutes, more people came. We waited in silence. At one point, there was a small drama with a couple of garbage trucks. Everyone turned around to watch, silently. Because nothing else had gone on in the small alley-like street for so long, my silent waiting companions seemed grateful to have something to occupy their attention. I felt no need to turn around, but I seemed to be the minority in this regard.

Someone finally arrived at 7:30 to let us in. He opened the gate and we waited closer to the entrance, but not quite inside. Then he let us into the building and gave us all numbers. We waited in the lobby until 8:15. We were then shown into a room with a yellow linoleum floor and almost matching institutional yellow walls on the second floor of the building. We waited.

We waited until 8:40 or so when people finally came out to start seeing us. I was third in line. When it finally reached my turn, I sat down at the table and told the two people sitting across from me, that all I needed was a kit with the forms for my permit to stay. They told me they didn't have the kits there. I almost cried. Almost but not quite, grazie a dio.

I explained my situation in halting, upset Italian. When I'm tired or frustrated it becomes much more difficult for me to speak well. They said they could help me. We talked for a few minutes after which time they told me to return for an appointment on Monday. I'm hoping that the waiting is finally done. But we shall see. On Monday it could all begin anew.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rachel 0, Jet Lag 1

I went to sleep at 1am and woke up at 3:30am. I've been up ever since. It's now 9:34am. I'll get you next time my pretty, but for now the die is cast. Mwahahaaahaa.

No seriously...I've been awake most of the night thinking about housing and money and skypein numbers and having imaginary conversations in italian in my head. You guys thought you knew how crazy I was, but think again. I'm on a whole new level now baby.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Finalmente in Italia.

Buonasera a tutti! It's almost 2am here and I am wide awake. Of course Bill is sleeping like a baby, damn him! We arrived early this morning and thank god made it to the hotel without incident. I was feeling very nervous and intimidated about speaking italian and creating a relationship with the city that I'm supposed to be making my home...duh duh duuuuuuhhhhh. But now that I am here, I'm feeling pretty good about it.

My first impression of Milan is that it's a little bit strange. The buildings are all at crazy angles and it's very flat so there isn't a lot of visible depth to the city. The streets all turn every which way, which I suppose is standard fare for Europe...not that I would know much about that at this point.

It was very foggy today, the first foggy day in a while apparently. A change in the weather always seems to change the mood of a city, so it was interesting to arrive in the midst of that. Additionally I found out today that Monday is the day that everything is closed here. So, when we were walking around the city, there were gates pulled down over everything. It was a fairly bizarre introduction, but I like it nonetheless.

Bill and I went to the school to meet with a housing consultant. I actually may have found an apartment already. I will be going to see it tomorrow evening. The owner's name is Signora Tosca (she sounds a bit older on the phone). The plan right now is to stay there for two months and move again in January when the housing market opens up a little bit. Marie, the housing consultant who speaks italian with a french accent, and says alors and ma side by side, told me that because there are ten universities in Milan (yes ten--in a city of a million people!), November is a terrible time to look for an apartment.

Alors, this is the update for the time being. I can only imagine how much more I will be writing in the coming keep paying attention and you'll hear all about it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The eve of traslocare.

It seems like the focus of every one of my postings to date has been the expectation of something else big on the horizon. First I was waiting for the wedding and related fracas, for the weeks in between it has been the end of work and the beginning of Italy. So now, I move to Italy...tomorrow. It's such a funny thing to even say to myself.

I was at Myopic today (for those of you not Chicagoans, a fantastic used bookstore) attempting to sell some books and overheard a guy talking to one of the employees. He said that he's in a band from Italy who are here for a week. After they were done the conversation I bumped into him while milling around the store...waiting for Myopic to not buy any of my books (boo). I asked him where in Italy he lives since I'm moving to Milan tomorrow. No matter how many times I say it, it still sounds ridiculous. Maybe when I'm there (with Bill yay!) tomorrow, it won't sound so crazy.

There are lots of worries dancing through my mind right now that I could/should be writing about. There is much time for worry. Right now I'll focus on the strange reality that is my own. I'll write about the fears tomorrow...or better yet after Bill has gone back to our life in Chicago and I have nothing but time to kill.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Check. Next.

Excuse my unintentionally long absence. I've been finishing up with work and trying to mentally tie up some loose ends before focusing on the next step.

Italy is rapidly approaching and I'm not really sure how to feel about it. Of course I'm excited, and completely terrified, and excited and terrified. I wish it didn't feel slightly bitter sweet, knowing that I'll be living without Bill, something that I don't want to do and haven't done in the past three years. It's a little bit daunting, the idea of being alone again. The fierce and determined independence which drove my life before Bill somehow seems like a distant memory to me now.

I know that I have an amazing future ahead of me and that this is just the first step in a series of new beginnings and opportunities. I am truly excited about going back to school and flexing my brain a little bit. It's been a long long time since I've been charged with wrapping my mind around purely intellectual pursuits. I suppose this will be different in that it's a much more practical knowledge base that I will be acquiring than say for example a degree in modern literature from UC Santa Cruz. I'm excited nonetheless, and truthfully am not sure that I have the patience any longer for such esoteric undertakings as that on a grand scale anyway. The Rachel who I am now, is not the Rachel that I was in college...that's for sure.

So, I am resolute that I must swallow my fear and revel in the fact that I am one of the rare ones who gets to live my dreams, not just endlessly dream them.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

five days in

i went back to work today. i thought that it would be okay because i've had so many days off. i'm still over it. conveniently, i only have another seven days of actual work and then i'm finished. thank god.

it feels good to be married to bill. there's definitely a sense of security that i didn't have before. it is also kind of funny to associate myself with all of the other married people in the world. people keep asking me if i'm going to take his name. i'm not sure about that yet.

i got off the phone with my grandmother a few minutes ago. she asked me to call my father and apologize to him, even if i don't mean it. she asked me to do it for her. i don't know if that's possible. he and sylvia insulted me in every way that is humanly possible. now she asks me to apologize. how am i supposed to do that? i want to do this thing for her, but i don't know if i can. in fact, i think i can't. she's putting me in a very difficult position by calling in this favor.

i'm so angry.