Thursday, May 01, 2008

"I'm sorry we have run out of numbers."

I went to the Comune (city hall) yesterday to apply for my residency. The office opens at 8:30 a.m. At 8:40 a.m. they were out of numbers. I had to go home.

I was delayed by a man from the sanitation department trying to explain to me in Italian that I had put my garbage in the wrong place. He was very nice and helpful but instead of getting to the office a few minutes early I arrived 10 minutes later.

One of the gruff looking officials (seriously, this man looked like the guy from "The Shield" but shorter) told me to make sure I get there very early next time when I asked him what time do they really open in the morning.

After years of never speaking to anyone at my bank in L.A. (I only used the ATMs) it's funny to me to walk into my bank here and "speak" to everyone. I put speak in quotes because half the time I have no idea what they are saying after the "come sta" (how are you) question. The people who work there, including the bank manager are so nice. The women who helped me open my account told me my Italian is improving.

I stopped by the market at Campo de Fiori. I have been checking out the various stands and I have found the ones that I like the most. I could write an entire post about the tomatoes I bought yesterday. I haven't smelled or tasted tomatoes that good since I moved from home. My dad used to grow them. I now realized the ones I used to buy in the supermarket tasted like rubber.

Last night went out for an aperitivo with some friends. G. met up with us. There were so many people out last night. It took me less than 10 minutes to walk home. It's such a different vibe from Los Angeles. I do not miss the over-priced valet parking, people with stuck up attitudes who ask you "what do you do" first so they can see if you are worthy of having a conversation with and talking about the "business" all the time.


Paolo said...

Now that you are in Rome when will you come to Sicily for a vacation? and How many places would you like to visit in Italy??

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

It's nice to be in a place where "what you do" isn't necessarily the first priority.

Anonymous said...

tracey k/ohio: isn't it nice to actually walk & have interaction with folks? Sounds like you're refreshingly shedding your L.A. skin! I'd be willing to read your post on the beauty of the tomatoes (LOL!) I love to read Italian cookbooks & stories for that very reason - they describe the food like none-other.

Claudia said...

What you say about's one of the reasons I dread the idea of going there-even if it's for work. I like real people, and people that don't take themselves too seriously!! Good for you for getting out!!

BigCNYC said...

Hey Ragazza... I just caught up on your posts. I hope that crate in the middle of the Atlantic gets to you stress-free. Be sure to post pictures of your apt.

Giulia said...

Always plan on being at the comune, or anywhere else, at least, 10 minutes earlier than it's secheduled opening time! Mr. 'Gruffy' was right. ;)

Kataroma said...

It's kind of nuts, isn't it that for the whole of central Rome they only process 20 changes of residency a day. Just think how often people move in a city this big!

I hope you're having more luck today - I think today is a good day to deal with bureaucracy as everyone's out of town but it's a working day.

The tomatoes here are great. Campo di Fiori market is extremely expensive and touristy, though, so if you're pinching your pennies I suggest going to a market somewhere else for your weekly shop (Esquilino, Triomphale etc.) There are lots of markets dotted around Rome.

LA sounds so horrible. But maybe it's just the film industry? I had a Mexican-American friend who grew up there without a car (she took the bus everywhere). She and her family were really down to earth and missed LA terribly. They didn't work in the film industry though! I think her mother was a teacher.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

paolo - hopefully soon. I have to see what is up with my finances. I've been to Florence, Siena, Positano, Milan, Venice and Naples. There are so many place in Italy I would like to see.

jen - it's a very nice change of pace.

tracey k - ha. Okay I might do a post praising the glories of tomatoes.

claudia - I'm glad I'm out. I don't feel any pressure to get botox now. :)

bigcnyc - I am hoping for the best. I sense there will be drama however and I will just have to roll with the punches.

giulia - I got there 40 minutes early today and it's was crazy! Still didn't get the residency taken care of. I forgot to get insurance. sigh.

kataroma - I know!! I think there needs to be more people working there.

I am going to check out the market by you. There is also another small market every other sunday near me that is supposed to be v. good. The price of veggies at the stand I go to in Campo de fiori is at least cheaper than the supermarkets around me which is good if I don't have time to get to the other markets.

I volunteered a lot when I was in L.A. so I did get to meet people outside the business. That said L.A to me never felt like a city. I could never find the "center" or the soul of it. It's too isolating and disconnected. (to me. some people love it). I think it's weird that in a city of over 7 million people the sidewalks are empty. I would drive back to the office from a business lunch on beverly blvd. a main street, not a soul on the sidewalk. Weird.

It's hard when you come from the east coast and are used to subways and buses to move to L.A. which is more like a very spread out suburb (without any of the benefits of suburban living). If I were born there I would be used to it.

I think the Mexican-american population is over 50% in L.A. so I understand why your friend's family misses it so much. There is no Caribbean community in L.A. and it's one (of many) thing I missed about New York.

bleeding espresso said...

Hope things are going better for you today and you're enjoying il ponte ;)

Anonymous said...

You might want to get to the residency office 30 minutes before the official opening time. I can assure you people will already be in line outside of the locked doors but at least this way you'll certainly get a number.

Kataroma said...

They don't need more people working at the comune. What they need is for people to work a full day. I never got why workers in the Italian public sector get to work a half day when everyone else works 8 hours a day.

Delina said...

You definitely need to get there a good while before the commune opens in order to get a ticket. I agree with Kataroma, it's not a staffing problem, but a laziness problem. When I had to go for a carta di soggiorno I was fuming watching the lazy parasites sat there taking time over their coffee whilst I had to wait and wait.

It must be a refreshing change after LA.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

bleeding espresso - yes things are going better today. I know have health insurance. one task down, many to go. :)

anon - thanks for the tip. I'm going to bring some reading material as well.

kataroma - half a day?! seriously? The comune is open in the afternoon. I assumed they worked 8:30 - 4 or 5. I noticed that half the windows were empty, so that is why I was thinking maybe for a city this size more folks could be working there. Then again that would mean more money needed for the budget so maybe that's a bad idea.

delina - poverina! I can't really say anything too bad about the staffers at the comune. They were beyond helpful to me despite the communication problem (on my end). We'll see what happens when I go back next week.