Ciao a tutti!
I HAVE A CODICE FISCALE (pronounced co-ditch-ay fis-ca-lay)!!! It was disconcertingly easy! You have to go an Agenzia Entrata. My local one is in Ancona.
So let me tell you – I went to the front desk, I filled out a form (the guy at the front desk even helped me), they took a copy of my passport and then sent me to the waiting room. I got called to a desk a few minutes later and after a brief period of questioning about why on earth I’d want to live in Italy and was I crazy, the guy gave me a piece of paper with my codice fiscale number on. Just like that! I thought he might get into trouble and as he was a nice guy, I double checked that he hadn’t accidentally given me my codice fiscale by mistake when he meant to send me away for more documents and maybe a blood test. He laughed and we discussed bureaucracy in Italy for a bit. I should get the plastic card with the number on in a month.
We’ve had loads of new students this week which has been great – but it’s frustratingly been a week where I’ve not been at school because I’ve been budgeting! However, I’ve been gate-crashing the school trips:
- Strologo: Strologo is a cantina in Camerano. We had a quickish tour around the vineyard and the cantina which was interesting but alas, my Italian isn’t good enough yet to understand the nitty gritty of wine making so I struggled a bit with that. After, we ate out on their terrace and had a really lovely evening. The other students this week were more advanced than I am at Italian but not depressingly so, so I could understand things, could question the things I didn’t know and they could correct my mistakes when I made them. So in summary, a really fun but useful evening 🙂 I’ve not had a frustration free night out for ages!
- Aperitivo: A couple at the school have a house near Sirolo and they invited us all over for an aperitivo and some drinks – another great evening. Fab atmosphere. There was even singing in Italian. It’s a shame – half of those students have left now 😦 I’ve got a photo of that event but I don’t want to ruin my chances of blackmailing them at a later date so I won’t post it here!
- Spa: I went to a spa on Tuesday with a friend for her birthday and as a treat after the sailing trip last week. Every Tuesday there’s a half price deal on use of the spa facilities so it was a very good price. However, it felt a bit run down – the showers didn’t work well, the steam room wasn’t steamy when we got there, there was someone having some kind of therapy in the pool so we couldn’t go in there, and one of the jacuzzi’s (the one with hot water) was covered up for a while too… So we weren’t vastly impressed but the massage was good. Apparently my back is a bit “gonfio” (swollen!). According to the masseuse woman, I need to drink more (water I presume) to fix that and if I was more hydrated, I’d look slightly less battered (I’m still sporting an impressive number of bruises from the sailing). I already drink a lot (water!) so that’s annoying – I’ll have to up my efforts.
I had my first trip to the hairdressers this week too. Similar sort of experience to the UK only I got a coffee and a little bit of a cake (I never used to get coffee and a cake). They shampoo your hair whilst your hair is dry and then leave it in for a bit before washing it out. It includes conditioner as well. Very unusual! I suspect that was just with a product specific to that particular salon rather than what they do here in general. I’m pleased with the haircut too.
What else? I went on a couple of walks in Monte Conero this week too. I fell over! Just banged/grazed my shin a bit and it didn’t hurt too much at the time but it’s been a real pain since. I would like to have posted a photo of it looking nasty but you can hardly see it! Annoying. I’m a bit light on photo’s this week – sorry! Here’s an extra large picture of Monte Conero to make up for it…
I think I’ve found an apartment! Just by chance really – one of the other students was there in the last week and the owner very sweetly gave us a lift to the beach yesterday. I mentioned I was looking for an apartment and so he showed me the one he lets out. So – good things:
- It’s just next to the language school, in the same block in fact (the school is a couple of floors in an apartment block) – very handy for lessons and catching up with people.
- It’s a good size – it’s got two bedrooms, open plan sort of dining room and sitting room, a kitchen, bathroom and two balconies – the layout is good.
- The views of the countryside are great. Similar to my view here but the factories are lopped off so even better.
- One of the rooms has a double bed. I can’t WAIT to sleep in a double bed again. Why do single beds even exist?!
- When I think about living there, it gives me a slight warm glow inside.
- The owner guy lives in the flat above. Handy?
- The owner’s mother lives in the flat below – she’s really sweet and I’ve met her in passing a few times coming to and from the school. Apparently she’s a good cook. They’re quite generous in Italy – I think it could mean free dinners.
- The furniture is vile. There’s no excuse – there’s an IKEA a 5 minute drive away.
- They let it out complete with repulsive ornaments and other nasty looking tat cluttering every available surface. One doll / ornament type item apparently sports human hair.
- The view from the balconies are good but they’re overlooked – one of them by a snarling dog. Naked sunbathing will be a challenge 🙂
- The other “spare” bedroom has two single beds rather than a double. Family/friends: when I eventually get a double bed again, I’m not giving it up. You’ll just have to stay in single beds.
- The owner guy lives in the flat above. Annoying?
- I think it would be impossible to sneakily sublet the second bedroom with the owner on the floor above and his mother on the floor below. I’d have to not do it, or be honest about it.
It’s 600 euros a month which is amazingly cheap by London standards for an apartment but for here it’s expensive. The owner has two adult kids living in London so we bonded over that and he said that he’d like to keep in touch regardless of whether I take the flat or not (I think he wants to practice his English). The flat is completely empty during the winter months – I think I’d be able to barter them down. Anyway, regardless of the bad points, I’m really excited about the thought of having my own space again and it would be great to feel a bit more settled. I’ll try and get another look around in the next couple of weeks.
This week I’ve been meaning to find out more about residency. The HMRC website is useful but there’s no email address and the website points to the longest most boring document of all time. I’m going to have to read it. I don’t want to read it. If any of you fancy reading it and sending me through a brief summary with a recommendation then please, please do! Meanwhile, I’ll confirm this week whether I really do need to be a resident to buy a car.
In other news I’ve got new housemates – four American girls – they’re here for a month. Which is totally awesome! 🙂
I’ve decided to open up the “what’s a bit odd in Italy” section to everyone, so many thanks to Pete and Jackie who sent through this example of security and public toilets in Modica (a city in southern Sicily). I know there’s the mafia down there but surely having a strong room / safe next to the men’s toilets is just being paranoid?
Anyone else got any other examples of what’s a bit odd in Italy?! Send ’em through.
Have a good week!