Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Yes!!! I have cleared two major hurdles.

It's so sad how accomplishing a simple task these days makes me feel like just finished the New York Marathon. It's like I'm a kid again learning how to freaking speak. The other day I called Telecom Italia and ordered phone/Internet service. I missed their call earlier because I was on the phone with my landlord. I asked if anyone spoke English (after apologizing for my poor Italian), the lady said I was doing fine and let's continue. After everything was done she said "Brava!" and have a good day. The tech should be coming in a week and a half to install everything. We'll see.

Yesterday I got to the Comune (town hall) over an hour early and there was already a line! A nice women gave us numbers which was smart because the minute the doors opened everyone started running and pushing. I recognized this obnoxious guy who cut in line last week and he tried to cut in front of me again. I don't know which county he was from but I was prepared to curse him out in English and Italian figuring he might know one or the other. The same officials were working and Mr. The-Shield-look-a-like nodded at me. The line cutter was really pushing me now and I yelled "dodici!!!" (the number 12) as if my life depended on it. Mr. Shield glared at the other man who had a number in the 30s and told him to let me through.

An hour later, my number was called. On Friday I couldn't apply because I didn't have insurance, or a job in Italy that would be paying into the National System. Thanks to two very helpful expats, I found out you can buy insurance at the Post Office. I am paying in a year what I paid in two months in the U.S. for basically the same kind of plan. I pay for all doctor's visits out of pocket, this insurance is to cover only hospital/major illness costs.

The man stamped my paperwork. Spoke not a word of English. I have decided to get over my fear of speaking and making mistakes. People here have been more than happy to help me when I make the effort. If I start completely falling apart they usually will switch to English if they know it or try to find a co-worker who does.

The next step is the police have to come by my apartment to make sure I actually live where I say I do. I think after that I should be getting my residency papers.

I'm at another cafe/bar in Trastevere using their WiFi. It is so nice out, I think I'm going to walk to my meeting later today. I have a follow up meeting at a production company regarding one of my script ideas.

I just received notes on my script from my manager. One good thing about not having a TV (or the Internet) is I have no distractions as I get ready for this re-write. I hope to finish it in a month or so.

Okay back to work.


joanne at frutto della passione said...

I am so thrilled for you. Getting things organized when I first got here was an absolute nightmare for me and I am so glad that it is going so smoothly for you! Keep up the good work using Italian, most Italians will be very kind and generous in helping you and soon you will be looking back at this time and laughing about it!

Kataroma said...

Congratulations NYC/caribbean ragazza!!! Sounds like you're nearly there and with (comparatively) very little hassle.

In Italy, people generally don't speak foreign languages, especially in jobs where they should speak foreign languages (for example at the Ufficio Immigrazione) so you have no choice but to speak Italian. That's just the way it is here so get used to it. At least you learn very fast.

I just had a screaming match with INPS in Italian re my maternity leave (don't ask). Although I'm still shaking about this, on a positive note at least I've learned enough Italian at this point to hold my own in an argument with a bureaucrat.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

joanne - I am so looking forward to the day when I can look back and laugh. Right now it does seem so funny when I have trouble sending a registered letter at the Post office. ha!

kataroma - Yikes. I hope everything gets worked out with INPS. re: foreign languages, I wonder if it's generational thing. At my bank the older employees speak French or Spanish as well. The younger ones know more English. The man at the Comune asked me if I wanted to speak in French instead. Too bad I don't speak that language either despite having you know, a French passport.

All my friends here speak Italian, English and either French, German or Spanish. When G. busted out with French the other week while speaking to a French friend I was like damn, I know only and 1/4 languages haha. Another friend speaks Italian and Spanish...his English is so/so which means we have to speak in Italian. I don't know Spanish.

I get we really don't "need" to learn another language in the U.S. but I think we should really rethink foreign language education starting in elementary school and not in middle school.

You are right, dealing with non-English speaking Italians is forcing me to learn faster. I have asked my friends to stop speaking to me in English at least at beginning of our conversations. I fall back on English way too quickly. I'm in Italy I need to speak Italian.

Cherrye - My Bella Vita said...

Brava! I know what you mean about the little things making your proud. I had my own moment this morning!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

cherrye - complimenti :)

Jess said...

Some of the bureaucracy there sounds exactly similar to Dutch SXM, especially the numbers thing. Immigration here makes you get a number in order to be in line, and some people get there early and take all the numbers and give them out to friends/sell them. Frustrating! I can't imagine what it would be like in another language!

erin said...

Glad things are moving along...and what a great goal to keep reminding yourself of (I have to do it all the time as well) to not be afraid to make mistakes with the language. Piano piano my confidence is building.

bleeding espresso said...

You're making fabulous progress--and you're so right about not having distractions (not that I'd give up my Internet for anything!) ;)

Sherry said...

That's great news! Things are progressing indeed. Reading about the issues with the language barrier is definitely inspiring me to think about taking a course to reclaim the spanish I once knew and maybe learn some Italian for good measure since I am trying to go visit again as soon as possible!

gibber said...

you are just chugging along! congrats sis!

glamah16 said...

You are getting totally immersed. A year from now you should be fluent.

katerinafiore said...

congrats!!! you are really doing it!!! I am so happy for yoU!!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Your experience at the Comune, reminds me of learning to stand in lines in Communist Russia - and there was a real art to it. ;-)

Congrats on getting your feet wet and learning the ins and outs of real living there. And on the work you're doing with your script. Yay!

Linda said...

I know what you mean about people cutting in line. It happens all the time here. The Canadian in me gets so angry about it. But the Canadian in me that's also an excellent goalie is able to fend off nasty queue jumpers with my trusty hockey stick. I never leave home without it!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jess - selling numbers? I would def. go off about that.

erin - yes piano, piano is right.

bleeding - I don't miss having a TV but man it is hard not having Internet. :)

sherry - that is a good goal. I could kick myself for spending 7 years studying French during school and yet only know 3 sentences.

gibber - grazie :)

glamah16 - I really hope so. I hate that it takes me forever to read an newspaper article.

katerinafiore - thank you!

jen - I can't even imagine. I wonder if that situation is better or worse now.

linda - haha. I have learned I have to be crazy aggressive with people like that rude guy from the Comune. Even the Italian were like "what the heck is that guy going?"

Los Angelista said...

Oh my goodness, a year is the cost of two months worth??? That's amazing and yay for script revisions!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

los angelista - yep, I was very happy and surprised when I heard the cost.

Allie said...

Ciao! I just discoverd your wonderful blog! I've been toying with the idea of living in Italy, too. Is there a way for me to be in touch with you personally? Thank you, Allison

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Allison - you can send me a message through my Flickr page. Best,