Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beaurcracy and Trento (PART 1)

Hey guys!!! I know i've been kind of absent on my blog and pictures (especially pictures) for a while but I do have an excuse! I'm Really behind on my pictures i know, Im sorry, I will hopefully be getting caught up in the next few days. the last few weeks have been totally crazy because of my orientation then i had a whole bunch of stuff with AFS in the week in between the time i redeparted for Trento for a week. So i promise that I will have pictures up as soon as i possibly can.. And im going to warn you all now, I was told by a couple people that my last blog was REALLY long so ive decided to do this one in a few different parts so that it doesn't get too long:

Beaurcracy = Part 1

Trento = Part 2

Well you are all probably wondering why Beaurcracy is in the title of this blog right? it doesn't really seem to fit with the other parts of the title right? yes i know but i thought i would fill you all in a little bit about what I ended up doing the week between Carnivale/Orentation and my week in Trento.

Well around last December I got a letter in the mail from the Italian government saying that I had to come to Cagliari to the office of Immigration on March 3rd at 9:18. Yes you read right the time read 9:18. they actually wanted me to be there at this specific of a time. Well for the most part i forgot about it but when I got back from Trento my host dad said that we would have to go to Cagliari on March 3rd and thats pretty much when I remembered. So the night before we got all of my stuff ready that I would have to take: 6 Passport photos, My mail receipt, and my residence permit, and my school enrollment form. I honestly wasn't sure why they needed all of this stuff or why I was even going to be going to this place and what it was all for.

The next morning, which was a Tuesday which meant that I was skipping school so that i could go to the Office of Immigration, me and my host dad got up early because we had to leave the house at about 745 so that we could be there by 845 (because it was in Cagliari which is an hour away) and still have a half an hour to find the place where we needed to be because we had never been there before. This is earlier then i normally get up considering i normally get UP at 745 not leave the house at 745. (man im gonna have a hard time when i get back to the states lol, in the states im normally at school by 730 and up by 645 lol... its definitely going to be an adjustment for me) We got into the car and started the hour long trip that it takes to get to Cagliari. we weren't really talking that much because honestly i was still half asleep (ok possibly more then half) and it was still really early in the day and we still didn't know why exactly we were having to go to this place. We get to Cagliari finally but my host dad says that we're not really going to Caglairi really we're going to Quartu which is another city (actually bigger then Caglairi) that touches Cagliari so it took us a little bit longer to get there, It also took us a little bit longer because we got a little bit lost so we had to stop and ask for directions a couple of times but we still ended up getting there early, at about 900 am.

When we get there we see that there is a really big line of people waiting to go in. i was like why is there a line. it says 918 on the sheet for us? then my host dad said he knew there would be a line because this is how Italian government things work. well we parked the car (and it was raining really hard so we were glad we got there when we did because they were starting to let the people go into the building instead of waiting outside like they were before) and got our number "26" we knew that we would be waiting for a while. while we were waiting for our number we figured out that the people that work in these offices are not that nice. I mean i understand that they work with people that probably dont speak Italian very well all day but seriously they should at least be a little bit nicer!

We got in there and there were these 3 windows with people from this office standing behind them and they started to call 1, 2, and 3. me and my host dad started talking because we knew that it would be a while but we were hopeing that these people were quick. I started looking around the room to see who else was there, most of the people that were there were Chinese, Arabic or from Africa. In fact on all of the signs the directions were written in Italian, English, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Arabic. So almost all of the people that i saw were obviously foreigners. I did see one blond girl who seemed to speak Italian with just about the same accent as i do so i was wondering about her if maybe she was American but i didnt want to freak her out by going up to her and asking her where she was from. because one i didn't know if she spoke Italian or English and it would be really awkward just to go someone who was obviously foreign (you wouldn't be there if you weren't foreign) and ask them where they are from so i decided not to go ask.

It was taking soooo long because these people didnt seem to have the papers that they needed plus the people were really rude and didnt speak clearly so obviously these people couldnt understand. they were so mean to them. they would be talking to the people but be looking at someone else or be talking obviously way to fast. i felt so bad for the people.. the numbers were going up so fast and we started to get a bit worried because we were told if it wasnt our turn before noon we would have to come back. well back to this girl. i heard her talking on her cell phone in english with and OBVIOUS American accent so when she was off the phone i decided to go up to her and ask her where she was from in English.

She told me that she was from Chicago and im like WOW thats REALLY close to where im from. im from Wisconsin. then she's all like I love Wisconsin we go there all the time. because your from Wisconsin i can tell you where im really from because you will know.. shes like im from Rockford. im like thats like 1 hour from my house in Wisconsin. im from Monroe Wisconsin.. shes all like.. WOW me and my family go to Monroe all the time because my family loves Monroe. we go eating at Baumgardners all the time. It turns out she comes to Monroe at least 3 or 4 times a year so they can eat at Baumgardners and they know all about cheese days and everything and she only lives about an hour from our house.. it was so cool.

So i asked her how old she was and why she was in italy. she told me that she was 19 and that she lives in Italy because she married an Italian man when she was 18 and moved here with him. they live in a city just about 40 minutes from my house which is pretty cool. she was there trying to renew her visa so that she could go back to the states and visit her family. so we exchanged phone numbers and msns so that we could talk and stuff later

We kept talking for a long time because her number was 23 and mine was 26 so we both had to wait an insanely long time.. well her number was finally called so she went up to the window with her Italian mother in law and me and my host dad waited for number 26 to finally come up. she told us her visa wasnt ready yet that she would have to come back after her vacation to the states. she left then but we said we would keep in touch..

Well they finally called number 26 so me and my host dad went up to the window and the man started talking really really fast. he took my mail receipt thing and looked at it for like 10 mintues comparing all the information and then looked at my pictures and then at me and like he was making sure it was me. then i had to get my fingerprints taken by this really old machine and he was really bad at explaining about what i had to do and how long i had to hold my finger on there.. he was really rude.. i dont like him.. well then the next thing he says is that "the lady to do the other fingerprints isnt here so you have to come back on Thursday" we are like what? we live in Carbonia we have to come BACK another day????? it was so stupid. so we said our good byes.. for the rest of the day i stayed in Cagliari but my host dad went home and i took the train back.. soooo thursday..

We looked at the sheet that the man gave us on Tuesday and it said that we had to be there by 1030 on thursday so on thursday we left the house at 900 am instead because we didnt need to be there super early this time. well this time we got even more lost then we did the first time which was pretty funny to me because we already knew where we were going this time and we got more lost.. well oh well. when we finally got there there were sooo many people there but this time we didnt need a number which was good. we didnt know what we were supposed to do today because we didnt have a number so my host dad waited in a short line to ask our "friend" from tuesday what we were suppsoed to do. he very rudely told us that we had to wait in this other line (that was REALLY long) for this other door. we didnt even know what we were supposed to be waiting for all we knew is that door had not opened the entire time we were there.

Well we kept waiting.. and today there was this girl there who was about my age and she seemed to be there with an older man (just like i was) so i thought maybe it was another girl of exchange like me there with her host dad because the older man seemed to speak Italian really well but she wasnt talking to anyone so i thought that maybe she was with another program.. when they went up to the window i heard that she was on a scholarship to a highschool and that she was 17 years old so i figured she must be an exchange student as well so i figured i would ask her where she is from..

I started in Italian because i didnt know if she would understand english. but it turns out her host dad translated it into English anyway so then i just switched to english and told her that i was from the USA. she turned out to be here in Sardenga (elmas) with another program and she was from Austrialia. She has only been here in Italy for about 2 months now because shes doing her year program from Feburary to November instead of September to July.. because in Australia the school year is different because it is in the southern hemisphere. So we started talking about exchange and everything while we were waiting for this stupid room too open up but we had still not seen the door open up yet so we figured it must take FOREVER to get in to this room which was not a good thing because we were like the millionth in line..

Well finally the door opened and we saw this girl who was in all these doctors uniform and she had the thing over her mouth and gloves on so then me and Maddie (the austrailian girl) started to get worried because we didnt know why we had to go in that room or why the heck this woman was dressed like she was!! well we kept talking but it kept getting closer and closer too 1200 and we were afraid that they would tell us that we had to come back another day but i couldnt come back because i was going to leave saturday for Trento so i couldnt come back another day.. well our "friend" came out of his window and asked us if we were all in line to go in to that room and we all said yes and he asked us who was first so i started explaining to him who was where in the line.. but he yelled at me to be quiet so i just kept quiet and let him figure it out on his own..

We Me and Maddie.. some how ended up at the very end of the line im not sure how that happened because honestly we werent the last ones but ok it was fine because we were there together and it wasnt boring when we were talking so its all good.. she was going to go to Sicilly with her shcool right after i got back from Trento so we didnt know when we would be able to meet up but i told her that when we did i would introduce her to all of the AFS kdis because she doesnt know any of them and she is the only one from her program in Sardegna so she doesnt know any other exchange kids.. we exchanged numbers and everything and then finally it was my turn to go into this window.. well i went in and it was this really nice lady who just had to take my fingerprints (AGAIN) this time more professionally with the computer. it took about 10 minutes to get the prints and for her to print them out and everything.. then i went back out and told maddie what she had to do. then me and my host dad went home after we said goodbye to maddie and her family.

well i found out that im going to have to go to go back to this place to pick up my residence permit (which will be like a card) but honestly there a bit late.. i leave in 4 months and im just NOW getting my permit lol.. it's a bit useless lol.. oh well.. that would be italian red tape!!!

(this was part one.. im going to start writing part 2 right now...)



Anonymous said...

Kendra, you rock! I love your bureaucracy story. If you compare this story to one of your first posts about your frustrations with completing paperwork, etc. for the US government, I think you'll see how much you have adapted to living in the moment and accepting things that are out of your control. Bravo! You didn't rant about standing in line forever. You laughed, made friends, and found a way to entertain yourself. I think travel and learning to adapt to another culture helps with that. You could get really angry about the inefficient way the Italian government handles things, or you could smile and call the rude agent your "friend". I've had these experiences in Spain and Costa Rica and at the UW Madison. When I start getting angry, I usually remind myself that I'm experiencing a cultural difference. (In the case of UW Madison, I just choose not to donate any money or to recommend this college to anyone, even though I did manage to earn a Master's Degree there.) Ciao - Profe H

Anonymous said...

Don't know how you're finding it all now but I was in a very similar situation to you a year ago.

I finally got out of it when my Italian improved, which I managed by 1: reading Alto Adige and 2: studying italian with this school

between them I finally became proficient enough to navigate the Italian bureaucracy!

: )