It might surprise you (as it did me) that the greeting card industry did not make it to Italy, and in particular, to Venice. There is no Hallmark, there is no Shoebox, there is no 'it's Tuesday and I want to send a card to my friend'....nothing. There are no cards here at all. It boggles the mind really.
So, what I wanted was a sympathy card to send to Marco and his family for the loss of papa Gino. Apparently, the custom here is to send a telegram through the post office. I didnt even know the telegram system was still around except for Western Union money. Alright, I dont like it and I think it is rather crass, but I will do what they expect. So, at the post office I find out that the telegram machine is out of order and being Italy, they have no idea when it will be fixed. OK..back to square one.
Perhaps flowers..yes, I will send some flowers. Off to the florist where they show me all the available flower arrangements they have for deaths. Mind you, these are all coverings for the casket and burial plot at hundreds of euros. Not what I wanted. How about a small plant to send to them? Not really an option....well, at least not for delivery. And I am not about to take it over there myself. OK...back to square one.
There is a paper store close to me.....I go in and find lots of blank journals and writing instruments, etc. and lo and behold, also blank note cards....of course you have to buy in bulk and the choice is less than thrilling but it is a card with an envelope and it is all I have to work with.
So, I have written my condolences in the card and put in the mailbox. I hope it will not be offensive, particularly because of all the effort I put into doing 'the right thing'. But I am wondering why they dont have cards here. Asking around, there really isnt a reason--of course, the postal system is less than efficient and perhaps it is some conspiracy to keep Hallmark out so they dont have to deliver more (I have already been here too long as everything that crosses my mind consists of conspiracies now!!!). And, of course, it all makes sense now when I mailed Marco's birthday card to him and he didnt know what it was....I thought he was joking, but I now understand he really didnt know what a birthday card was.....and the fact that I had brought it from the States and it was one of those new Hallmark cards that sings a song when you opened it only added to the confusion I am sure. His comment to me was 'you are not normal'! which always makes me laugh when he says this but now it makes so much more sense.
Anyone up for opening a card store with me in Italy?????? I feel a niche.........