Life in Italy never ceases to amaze me. The US has its red tape and its moments where you say 'what is that all about?' but if anything, the US goes overboard to protect the proverbial 'rear-end'. You dont have that attitude in Italy and therefore, many things that you dont think can happen, will happen.
Take for example, the new IMOB card. This is a credit card sized, micro-chipped, passport photo ID card that allows you to get discounted rates for the vaparettos (water buses). When I arrived in May, the application was 8 euros and I was told that I couldnt get this IMOB thingy (which is by the way the new name--used to be Carta Venenzia until about a month ago) because I dont have my PDiS....the illustrious and ever elusive permesso di soggiorno that plagues me to this day (i.e. the ultimate in Italian beauracracy). Since that time, I was told by others that I could get it. So, finally, I took me a Venetian to one of the 'offices' and applied. The application fee is now 10 euros and there was much discussion about me not being a resident. I just kept my mouth shut and in the end, they worked it out amongst themselves and I have a card.
So, for 26 euros a month, I can ride the vaparettos unlimited. Or I can buy a book of 10 for 9 euros. However, for the first month, I have to buy the 26 euro option and then I can change to the booklet option later. So, September 1, I bring my smiley American face to a ticket booth and order my one month ticket and show her my mug on the new IMOB card. She tells me no! Tells me that this card doesnt get me that, blah, blah blah.....in other words, it all depends on who you go to and what day of the week it is and if your name starts with a Z or not (i.e. training and consistency is not high on list of priorities here).....in the end, I just went to a different booth and got my ticket for the month. I can hardly wait to see what happens when I try to get the booklet of 10 next month!
Then I am perusing my expats site for any updates on that elusive permesso di soggiorno that will magically allow me to travel outside of the EU. No such luck for me, but if you are applying for a renewal permesso and have your receipt, you are now legally allowed to travel outside the EU UNTIL Oct 30 of this year. I have three questions: 1. Why this date? 2. Why this group of people? 3. Why bother? A friend has intelligently surmised that someone who is really rich doesnt have their permesso in hand but they have enough money to make the law change for their upcoming trip. Somehow or other, this scenario wouldnt surprise me in the least.
And, finally, as I was chatting with a friend about the differences in interviewing and working between Italy and the US, I learned that you arent necessarily told how much money you will work for or for how long your 'contract' is. Contract work seems to be the big thing here..they dont have to pay your benefits and they can let you go anytime they want. I think America would lean this direction if it could. Additionally, in Italy, it is possible for a previous employer to hold your last pay from you until you help out to their satisfaction. How long do you think that sort of behavior would last in the US? Does the idea of sabotage enter your mind?
As I mentioned recently to someone, I am way beyond the like and dislike phase of living her and the comparing between two countries. I just take it as it comes and realize that I am not going to change any of this (nor do I want to). And sometimes, I get a good chuckle out of it all.