Go ahead, ask me how my first week back to Italy has been…I dare ya. Actually, I double dare ya!
This past year was a difficult one for me and I hit several milestones along the way. I got my permanent Visa and my driver’s license. The next big step will be to become an Italian citizen…but lets not rush all this fun at once, shall we?
After such a tough year, I was seriously considering my quality of life here. I was yearning to just-go-home, home to Canada, where all my family and friends are (except my mom, who lives in Nevis).
So, I was more than a bit curious to see how I would feel after seeing everyone again on my vacation. But more than that, I was afraid of how I might feel after I left, and my airplane touched down on Italian soil again.
It was sad to say goodbye to everyone. There is never enough quality time and as we get older, the harder those goodbyes become. I am truly grateful that I can still make these trips once a year and consider myself incredibly lucky because the expense of the flight is mostly absorbed by my husband’s employer (thank you Carnival Cruise lines!).
But when my plane touched down in Italy, I was surprised at my emotions. I was not depressed or sad, I was happy to be home. I was happy that the sun was still shining and that I would soon settle into my apartment with Coco quietly purring on my lap.
Quickly, my social calendar started to light up like a Christmas tree and I no longer wondered if I was going to yearn for Canada by weeks end. I started to see that bad customer service and a failing economy are everywhere. I learned while in Canada that my biggest issues and battles are not about Italy but about life in general. Do the Italians push things a bit further, you bet. But the bottom line for me boiled down to two very important things.
1. My attitude (my mom tried to point this out to me months ago but I was too stubborn to listen)
2. My ability to express myself (when will I ever be fluent in Italian?)
#1 is easy. Change my attitude. I’m working on this and already feel better for it.
#2. Is going to be my next big hurdle. I simply need to learn Italian better. It won’t change bad customer service or rude people but it will change the way I react to them. After having a very unpleasant experience with Telus Communications in Canada, I was so relieved that I had the right language skills to get my point across in a non-confrontational manner and also, more importantly, walk away satisfied at the end result. In Italy, I walk away frustrated and angry and brood about it for weeks.
Yesterday, I had to go visit a government office. As usual, the numbering ticket system was broken and everyone was screaming and yelling at any employee who dared to show their face in the waiting area.
Feeling a bit like a deer caught in the headlights, I latched on to the guy ahead of me and asked for his assistance. He was amazing. When things got out of hand, he stood up and told everyone that I was next in line after him! He protected me like I was his lion cub, from the wolves. It was a great experience!
I was in that office for over an hour. I read a book and ignored all the drama surrounding me. Did I get what I needed in the end? Sort of. In the typical Italian bureaucratic way, I will unfortunately have to go back to this office and repeat the entire episode again in two months.
But I don’t really care. I feel victorious that I managed to survive the wolves and was able to ask for help. Now, when I go back in November, I will have already been through the paces before and just have to hit the repeat button. And if the ticket number machine is broken again, well, consider it free entertainment 🙂
Note: Today I started private Italian lessons. I love my new teacher too so I’m very happy 🙂 🙂 🙂