It’s always beautiful here. Ugh.

This is every week, so far.

There might be scattered showers once every week and a half or so, and overcast skies are about as rare. This just about kills beautiful weather for me. Give me some rain. Though that may just mean that I miss what I’m used to.

Actual Italian alert: It generally rains this time of year here. God is obviously trying to mess with my mood.

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Man vs. Culture, Episode 1

Dear dia…erm, no, uh, what?

Last Friday, I applied for my residence permit, which one would imagine the visa process would have sufficed for, but whatever. Basically, a guy copied information out of my passport and visa and took down the names of my mother and father. Then, he got my fingerprints with some electronic fingerprint scanner. Then I went upstairs, where another man got scans of my fingerprints, again, along with scans of my palms. And that was it. Without a fellow researcher who had volunteered to essentially be a translator, I would have been royally screwed, though, as the waiting process was actually complicated.

This comes after giving a detailed form to people in a more central office, in Genoa, where I was issued an appointment here in Savona. According to my researcher/translator, coming to America for a long period, this is all done right off the plane.

This may be complicated and annoying for another reason than pure bureaucratic zest. A lot of these hoops were supposedly made with the purpose of making it harder for illegal immigrants to stay here. As with America, these immigrants come from the south. In the waiting area, there was a large minority of Africans.

With as much strife as there is in Africa, I don’t particularly blame them. At the same time, there are a whole lot more people out there living in hellholes than the entire population of the somewhat-free world (scratch-paper calculations there). So too bad.

I’m still in the hostel, even though classes started last Wednesday, because University housing is apparently completely unplanned. Freshmen show up and start living in the dorms, and then they see how much room they have left for everybody else. Which is funny because the guy who invited me here did a lot of work to get me housing for cheap.

Edited to Add: I just talked to an actual Italian in the same program as me in the University, who is also living in the seminary. He was told he could move in on October 15th. (I think he said ‘fifteenth,’ may have been ‘fifth,’ but that is probably wishful thinking on my part.) This hosteling thing is going to cost me through the nose. Jesus.

Which will hopefully work out at some point, considering I won’t see a pay check for a while. I need to have an Italian bank account to do that. I need a residence permit to get an Italian bank account. I may not have a residence permit for up to two months. I need one for money-man to even start the paperwork. Bitter? No. I’ll just keep paying for everything with cash I pull out of the odd ATM that can take American cards.

Not very fun to read? Have another church.

Another big-ass church.

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Pizza Americana


Street Fairs, Bureaucracy, whatever

Sunday, I biked downtown a bit to get at some food and found this nice surprise.

A street-fair

Mix a farmer’s market and a bunch of people selling new clothes and shoes and things, and put it in the middle of what would have been a moderately-busy street if it weren’t blocked-off, and you get what I found. It’s a great idea, at least on a Sunday. I don’t know if there is actually a dedicated farmer’s market in town, but I’m going to bet on a big no, considering the number of booths at this thing. I found some good grapes and sweets for myself.

As for the rest of last week…

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The Seminary: A Photostudy

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Savona at a Glance and Other Stories

Savona is a smaller city, with a population of about 60,000, an hour west of Genoa by train. It is on the Mediterranean coast of Northern Italy. Here’s a map.

All Hail the Omniscient Google

There's a little Google Map marker where I am right now.

So yeah, I can walk to the beach. There are a few hotels right there. I’m not sure if it’s really much of a tourist destination. It’s small enough so Americans don’t know about it unless they really know Italy. You can probably vouch for this yourself.

It has a rich history, that I don’t really know much about. It’s been around forever. And a half. There’s a fortress.

The fortress.

You can walk right in at any hour of day or night. A large part of the structure appears to be being used for office space now. Really. Those windows have modern glass. There is a nice restaurant behind the wall on the right side of the frame. There is also graffiti. A lot of it. There and throughout the city. It’s kind of ridiculous.

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About me. About the blog.

I am Zachary Santer. I am a student at West Virginia University. Right now, I’m in Savona, Italy. I was invited here to perform research for an Italian professor who I worked for at the Morgantown National Energy Technology Laboratory during the summer of 2010 while he spent a year-long sabbatical there. This is a part of a knowledge-sharing agreement between the Morgantown NETL site and the research group here. While here, I will be taking some classes, doing a bunch of research, and seeing the sights of northern Italy.

This blog exists to serve several purposes:

  • First, my extended family is interested in following my experiences in this foreign land.
  • Additionally, I wouldn’t mind gaining a few hours of Honors credit out of this. Don’t let this worry you, though. With any luck, this blog will never resemble an assortment of scholarly compositions. If posting becomes a chore, I’m not going to do it. I’ll write when I want, about what I want, how I want to.
  • Having a place to put my general musings may be a nice perk as well. You may have noticed that the name of this blog doesn’t reference being abroad. When I am back in America, I may try to keep this thing alive. If you are wondering what the name of this site does reference, look here. It seemed like a cool name for a blog.

I hope I can make this blog interesting and enjoyable. Let’s find out.

Also, this is a copy of the general About page. It seemed like a good way to start things off.