April, 2010

Apr 10

La prima pasqua a Chiavenna

Apr 10

Italian Bureaucracy: The biggest “casino*” I’ve encountered to date…

*Italian lesson 1:
casino [ka ‘sino]
SM 1. mess, racket…
• Cos’è questo casino? what’s this bloody racket/mess?

The funny thing is that everyone laughs about this “casino” as if it’s a funny joke someone made at some stage in the past and forgot to fix. An april fool’s gag that has lasted decades past the deadline. I think the key for us was to expect the worst, which we did, and so far at least, we’ve been able to laugh a little at the silliness of it all with the locals. Without falling on our knees and breaking down in tears. No…it’s not all that bad really.

So here we are in a limbo of sorts. Everything is floating somewhere above us, just out of reach. At least for a couple of months we have an address again. However there’s still that dreaded question that crops up:

“Country of Residency?”
“Eh… (technically nowhere right now, considering my green card for the states ran out in February and I haven’t lived in Ireland for over 3 years)…eh.. Ireland?”

Hopefully if we can manage to sort out doing A before B at the same time as doing B before A we can organize residency here in the near future. And then we’ll be allowed to buy a car  🙂 and be officially accurate when we say we live in Italy. Which of course is the only reason we’ve made this whole crazy move, because it just sounds dead cool…

“Eh yeah, we live in Italy now… don’t you know my grandparents were Italian?”

All jokes aside, we are both so glad we went traveling before beginning this adventure in Italy. It has given us enough perspective, and time out of the wonderful Blacksburg bubble, to be able to cope a little better when thrown into orbit. We are also falling deeply in love with Chiavenna, our new home town, and the beautiful mountains that surround it. Our cutsy modern apartment in a gorgeous 500 year old building with a view over the higgledy-piggledy tiled-rooves of old Chiavenna. The fact that there is a panificio (bread shop) 10 metres from our building. And bars with l’aperitivo (a drink and some tasty snacks) every evening before dinner, where the locals gather. And pizzerias like you only find in Italy. The pleasure of buying parmesan cheese by the kilo. Being able to walk 5 minutes from our apartment and find ourselves at the base of a trail that shoots up into the mountains for a vertical km (literally). The wonderful delight in looking up from the main street and seeing snowy mountains surrounding us.

And then there’s the people. The ladies in the Post office who have spent hours with us (and I mean literally hours), trying to help us sort out our lives here. The sweet girl at the tourist office who always has a smile for us. The women at the Comune (townhall) who handed me the name and date of birth of another Irish girl who lives 5 mins walk away, even though I’m sure that’s confidential information. Our landlord who is allowing us stay 2 or 3 months in his rental apartment instead of the 2 weeks we booked, with a slight increase in price from €350 for 2 weeks to €400/month, all inclusive.

But reading about it just doesn’t do it justice…

La nostra casa. We’re open for visitors.