Archive for the ‘General’ Category
A few days after obtaining documents A and B, I’m back to my usual “Yes I can!” attitude, ready to defy any obstacle (or probably it is only the energy I’m getting from the spectacular amount of sugar I’m absorbing every day, thanks to my frequent stops to the bakery around the corner…). This time I need document C, so I head to office C. I get there, grab a number, sit, wait (not too long fortunately) and my number is called. I meet the same I-am-so-bored-I-want-to-die guy who checks the forms I filled out, then checks the computer and says: “This is not the right place, since this is the first time you apply for this document you need to go to another office”. These few words are enough to erase any trace of smile from my face, and my mind is already screaming Noooo! when he says: “It’s the building next to this one”. Quite relieved and full of hope I ask: “But, is it open today?”. “Yes, yes”. Pause. “I think.” I think? Oh boy… Things are getting bad…
But I do as he says and I walk those few meters to the building nearby. At the counter I meet an I-am-so-bored-I-want-to-die lady, who says: “Today that office is closed. But here’s a list of other offices you can go to.” After trying to silence my mind which, while yelling another Noooo!, I could picture transforming into the Scream by Munch, I ask: “Without reading this entire list, would you be so nice to just tell me where’s the closest open office?”. Not so nicely she indicates it to me, and I leave.
I take the bus, locate the building, locate the floor, locate the ticket machine and take a number for the office #3. And again: Nooooo!
Number 810 out of 289? What? Someone probably sees my consternation and promptly says: “Don’t panic, just look at the last two digits” . Ah, ok, so I’m number 10, which means that I have only 21 people in front of me. Should I be brave and stay, or should I be smart and leave? As I hear someone saying that it takes about 10 minutes for each person to complete their paperwork once they are called, I run some numbers and absolutely have no doubts: I’m out of here!
And for the second time, I decide that I need something to lift my spirit. So I enter into a salumeria and get a burrata pugliese (a creamier version of the mozzarella, more info in one of my next posts…). No sugar this time, but lots of calories nevertheless. Good.
A few days later I wake up feeling like Superwoman: I know what to do, where to go, and what time to be there. I dash straight to the designated office early in the morning (the arrow above should give you an idea of my state of mind), get my number, have the time to read only a few pages of 50 Shades of Grey on my Kindle and for the first time I’m bothered that my number is called (yes, this is what a good reading can do: the impossible). I get in, present my documentation, and 15 minutes later I’m out. Yes! I can!
Moving to Italy for 9 months also means having to deal with the Italian bureaucracy in order to get the documents you need for your stay. Therefore, about one week after I arrive in Trieste, I go downtown with the intention of getting document A. I drop the kids off to school and walk to the designated office.
It is a windy and rainy day, and, as you can see from the photo above, the famous Bora of Trieste has already exterminated hundreds of umbrellas. But because of the inclement weather, many people has been discouraged from going out, which is good for me… As I enter into the lobby I gladly notice only a couple of people waiting. Nevertheless I get the ticket with the number: 82. I watch the screen: number 0. What? Apparently the screen is out of order. Obviously I ask who’s the last one. I acknowledge it, sit and wait, filling in the form in the meantime.
After about 20 minutes it’s my turn. Cool, not too bad so far, I think. I meet a very nice lady, who looks at the form and points out that it is incomplete since it is missing an important data. I ask: can’t you look for it in the system? I mean, I was born in Italy, my whole history is stored in their files. No signora, you need to go to office B, get it and then come back. Office B, okay. Where’s office B? She explains it to me, however I decide to call it for the day, because if I go to office B right now (almost mid-morning) chances are that I’ll need to wait in line for too long. I greet her and leave.
A few days later I go to office B. I arrive there before they open (it is a good thing that the kids start school at 8am after all…). There’s already a line formed in front of the entrance. I join the “happy” group, and entertain myself with the Kindle while I wait. The doors finally open; the crowd starts entering into the building to be met by the infamous number machine. I check the screens: they work just fine. Yes, things are going well today. I get the number, notice that there are only 4 people in front of me, so I sit and wait. After a few minutes it is my turn. I meet an I-am-so-bored-I-want-to-die guy who retrieves my forms, provides the document B I needed and I’m out of here. Cool! Easy, efficient, I cannot ask for more. Who said that the Italian bureaucracy doesn’t work??
I let a couple of days go by before returning to office A with my complete documentation. And again, I drop the kids off to school; I start taking a nice walk admiring Trieste’s beautiful buildings (only when my eyes are not engaged in the effort to avoid the dog poops that invade all sidewalks. Oh, I hate this so much…) and I finally arrive to office A. CLOSED. Closed??? But it is Wednesday morning, why in the world should a public office with always so many people in need of their service be closed one day a week? It doesn’t make any sense to me. And to many other citizens, I guess.
The only thing left for me to do is going back home, but first I need to use the restroom. And since it is nowhere in sight I ask to the information desk where it is. Go to the second floor, room 00. Room 00? For a moment I fear I need to get another number from another infamous machine, but as I get to the second floor and start searching for the room 00 (obviously there are no universal signs such as arrows and/or the always familiar little man or woman showing you the way) I see no crowd and I exhale with relief. I see no crowd, but I see no room 00 either, so I ask a guy who’s passing by: Excuse me, do you know where room 00 is? Room 00? Ah, the restroom! Yes, thanks a lot. Then he points to a hallway. Room 00 is really a room with the number 00 above. No restroom sign whatsoever. Maybe they want to keep it secret? Never mind, I use it and go home.
The day after I’m back to office A. A few people are in front of me. I get the number, again. The display is broken, still. I ask who’s the last one, again. And sit, read, wait, you know the story. Two employees are working, but one has just left for a “few minutes”. After 25 minutes she is still gone. People keep coming, and only one desk is operative. Now it’s my turn, I deliver the documentation. Everything is ok, no missing parts. Relief. I decide I need a reward. I go to a bakery, get a little pastry alla ricotta and I happily go back home, slaloming again between dog poops. But today, after such an achievement, for some reasons, I don’t care.
The kids’ first day of school was September 12th, Wednesday. Silvia had just one introductory hour, from 11am to twelve, while Alessio started at 8am and had a regular five hour schedule (until 1pm).
He was extremely calm, certainly due to his nature (lucky him), but probably also due to the fact that he visited the school and met four teachers one week earlier. This is something I strongly recommend: getting the teachers (maestre) to know the child, his situation, background, strengths and weaknesses before the school starts is a win-win situation on both sides. And providing a copy of the kid’s last school report is a good idea as well. When I went to pick him up he was just fine, and has been since.
For Silvia things went a little differently. I tried to reach her professors (professori) beforehand with no avail up until 10 minutes before school started, when I met her Italian teacher, professoressa Zocchelli, to whom I explained Silvia’s situation: the fact that she finished 6th grade with an average of an A, that she is a very responsible student, that during the summer I taught her some Italian geography, history and grammar (obviously I didn’t mention that sometimes I literally had to drag her to our living room to study together…), and so on. Professoressa Zocchelli was super nice with her and when the bell rang she took her to class. However one hour wasn’t enough for her to get to know the kids and be known by them, with the result that she wasn’t very happy when I went to pick her up….
Now things are better, she is getting used to the Italian school system and her classmates little by little. She does complain, and does it often, but always seems serene when she comes home from school. As for me, I’m working on meeting the professors one by one, which is a very slow task since email is still not used here and communications happen through the diario (exactly like when I was a child).
Nevertheless it’s a small thing to bear, since I still think that Italian schools are among the best.
Coming from abroad, have you ever had any experience with the Italian school system?