Zack, Meet Dorm

I moved in to university housing yesterday. I won’t have views like this anymore:

Yesterday's dawn, out my bedroom window.

In its place, I get this:

A view from my bed.

I haven’t actually figured the windows out, yet. There are some huge, angled, shutter-like things outside of them, so I can’t really look outside. I’ll figure those things out sooner or later. There really isn’t too much to look at, though.

My room is definitely a dorm room. After I get through a locked door, there are two bedrooms, each with two beds; a kitchen/living room; and a bathroom. Before I moved in, there was only one occupant, a Ghanaian who is studying to be a nurse. It’s obvious he’s been in the room for a while. I took the other bedroom and moved all my stuff in yesterday, with the help of a few coworkers.

Also accomplished yesterday:

My residence permit.

The coincidence wasn’t exactly lost on me. I just got the email Wednesday, from a guy who knew I was getting my residence permit, saying that I could move in. Also, as a part of filling out the paperwork for the apartment, a photocopy of my brand new residence permit was made. In any case, the building certainly wasn’t undergoing renovations. So, either the bureaucratic debacle of the century occurred in the S.P.E.S. office, or I couldn’t move in until I had a residence permit, and nobody elected to tell me. On the other hand, I met an Italian fellow in the same class as me who was also staying in the Seminary temporarily, so my bets are actually on bureaucracy. Really, bureaucracy wins either way. Seven weeks passed between handing in the original form in Genova and picking up my permit yesterday.

Also this week, I picked up my Italian debit card. I may not use it much until pay starts flowing, though. The fee for exchanging currencies isn’t much less than the fees for a few international cash withdrawals levied by WesBanco. And I don’t think online banking is available for debit cards at the bank that was recommended to me. Of note, my bank is actually named after a Catholic saint, Saint George. Don’t think I ever saw that in the Land of the Free.

Both my residence permit and new debit card contain visible rfid tags. Some rfid tags can be read from a ways away, and I was going to write about how this could be used to identify me from a distance with the right equipment, and how this is an intrusion on my privacy. Then I realized that I’ve already been using rfid tags for years. That’s how I entered and left the Morgantown NETL site when I was working there. That’s how I get into my current office. That’s even how I get into and out of campus at night.

Oh, right. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that. This campus is a former Italian military installation. The Italian military gave it to the University of Genova maybe ten or fifteen years ago. All the buildings here were here before that. Some nice architectural touches have been added here and there, but at the end of the day, the campus still looks a lot like a military installation. For instance, it still has a huge perimeter wall and steel gates. Which are still used. The entire campus is closed to the outside world between 8:00 pm and 7:00 am. I found that one out the hard way. Now, I have a nice badge.

Back on track. I’ve been using rfid tags for awhile anyway. So I may as well get used to it. Hopefully, Big Brother isn’t always watching.

At this point, Italy has definitely lost its new country smell. I may just try to fill this blog with pictures for a while.


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