Time flies when you’re having fun! I can’t believe we’ve already been in Italy for a week. Having arrived with all our bags and no complications, we were greeted at the airport by part of the “Italy team” of missionaries. We immediately enjoyed our first Italian cappuccino before leaving the airport with a brioche (pastry). Yum.
This first week we have focused on gaining our bearings around the neighborhood/city, the mass transportation system, and starting the process of obtaining our long-term documents. We have ventured out each day on ‘field trips’ and have enjoyed some delicious meals with friends.
It’s been a smooth and enjoyable transition thus far. Though some things are very different and will take some getting used to, it’s fascinating to observe and learn how Italians live. For the first six weeks we are in Italy, we’re staying in my (Jana) brother’s apartment in Milan while he and his family are stateside for the summer. Starting in August, we’ll begin language school–one month in Milan and then the rest in Bologna (6-9 months). I cannot wait to be able to communicate with people! Thankfully, David speaks well and I have been able to understand some of what is said.
I thought I’d share about our day today to bring you into our experience of adapting to life in Italy….
This morning I began a load of laundry at 9am (which takes about 2 hours to wash) then hung the clothes out to dry on the balcony. Then I swept the house which is mostly wood or tile of some sort. The mornings and evenings are cool and pleasant, but the afternoons are warm (HOT in David’s words). Since there is no AC in our apartment, we leave the windows open all the time. We hear the sounds of the neighbors, the street traffic, and the construction across the street where they are putting in a new subway–I think.
At about noon we left for Sesto Calende where the Lukers (fellow CrossWorld missionaries) live. They offered to help us go to the Comune (city offices) to fill out our application for long-term documents. This trip included hopping on a bus, getting on two subways, and boarding a train to Sesto. We arrived two hours later (normally a 40 min. drive) and went to the Comune. There we were told that we were at the wrong place and we needed to go to another office that is only open on Mondays. We had waited to go to Sesto today because THIS Comune was only open on Thursday afternoons. So, we went with Terrance Luker to the “bar” and drank coffee together. In order not to have a wasted trip to Sesto, we decided to go to the store and get a cell phone for me (Jana). We quickly learned that we cannot get a contract for a phone until we have an Italian credit card. We cannot get a credit card until we have an Italian bank account, which we cannot have until we have our equivalent to a social security number, which we can’t obtain until we have our long-term documents 🙂
So, we embarked on our two-hour trek home. While at the bus stop, we struck up a conversation with an Italian guy and found out he is a fellow believer! We were so encouraged to talk to him. We got home, ate dinner, folded the laundry, and realized it was time for bed. We will give it another try tomorrow–or Monday.
While I am tempted to be frustrated with the system and bureaucracy, I realize that it is quite a blessing that in a couple months I should be able to have all the above mentioned things (bank account, social, residency, phone contract etc). It may take several hours of public transportation and waiting in lines, but we’ll most likely be completely settled in a matter of weeks! I don’t even think it’s that easy for immigrants to the US!
We feel blessed to learn snippets of Italian culture through this document process, and thankful because we know God will grant us all that we need in His timing.
Here are some fun things I LOVE about Italy so far:
- Being able to function just fine and getting around the city without a car. Lesson learned: wear comfortable shoes!
- Delicious produce! Everything fresh seems to have so much flavor. At the grocery store, people are required to wear a disposable glove when picking through the produce.
- People are always out and about walking
- The month of August is THE month when everyone takes vacation. The small businesses will all close down and the public transportation schedule changes in preparation for a month of slow activity in Milan.
…More to come as we learn new things each day!!!