Man vs. Culture, Episode 1Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2011
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.
It’s apparently undergoing renovations and is closed to the public. It impressed me though, because, from the outside, it appears to be a bit of a departure from the standard church design around here. What’s that? You haven’t seen the outside of the archetypical Savona church yet? Well, then.
Yep. I have not taken a single picture of the outside of another church in Savona. I’ll have to rectify that little situation pretty soon here.
Also, the Mall.
You get a cart at the entrance and use it throughout the mall. But how do you go from one floor to another, you might ask?
I think it uses magnets. And if you are wondering what is in the big bag, that would be my backpack. A man is being paid to stand at the entrance to the grocery store and zip-tie people’s things into big plastic bags. I hope the savings in less shoplifting make up for that guy’s pay and benefits. Or, maybe I don’t, considering the hassle. Oh right, the Italian equivalent to a Wal-Mart is actually inside the mall here.
I guess there is no copyright on American military branches. Cue these assholes.
The legal drinking age in the vast majority of Italy is 16. But beer is in vending machines.
This was pretty close to a cashier, so I guess she could stop somebody who looked a little young. Still, they got us beat by five years in the drinking department.
I was finally yelled at by a cop for biking on the sidewalk a few days ago. I guess I’ll have to do it the legal way and risk life and limb with these maniacs on scooters. Although, it’s pretty awesome when you can bike as fast as others are able to drive, which is the case pretty often. Still. there was obviously very little planning put into the city’s streets way back when, and a lot of them being one-way doesn’t make it any better. I guess I’ll have to just get used to biking in circles.
Battery is about to die, so it’s time I got some food.