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domenica 20 settembre 2020

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My first week in Rome

20.11.2007 - Tammy Leung

I arrived in Rome a bit travel-weary, but looking forward to pasta and mozzarella and gelato and many, many new parolacce. My first few days were confusing and stressful and tear-inducing and I struggled to get myself set up but nothing seemed to go right. Finding accommodation was top priority, but was also impossible without a phone, and mine did not work for 4 crucial days.

Let me also say that Italian bureauceacy is not my friend. To get my visa I had to bring my passport, a recent bank statement, proof of accommodation, my plane tickets, travel insurance and the university acceptance letter to the Consulate in Sydney. Upon arrival, the visa needed to be confirmed. The Questura website said that I needed 4 recent and identical passport photos, a marca da bollo, my passport and my acceptance letter.

Bored? Want to stop reading? I wish I had that luxury. I don't, though, so I dutifully went about getting what I needed and presented my pile of stuff at the Questura, hopefully, only to be told that the website that I had looked at that same day was wrong, and " Non e' piu' cosi." Questura Lady was actually very helpful, and after making a whole lot of phone calls to a whole lot of people who were non in ufficio she turned to me and asked " Lei mi capisce?" Yes, I said, if you speak lentamente - but when you say this to people they tend to slow down to idiot pace, and so Questura Lady is going "Gli studenti... voglio dire le persone che studiano" and I'm thinking "Funnily enough, that is one of the words I do know."

At the end of all that I gathered that I had to go to the Post Office to get a kit full of forms I don't understand (and even my Italian friends are perplexed), asking for an address I didn't yet have. Deportation loomed large.

It's been a few days now and things have settled down a bit. I am hopefully moving into my home for the next few months either tomorrow or the next day. But if it weren't for a few native Italians who took me under their wing and helped me out I would be lost. And homeless. And possibly also an illegal immigrant. Am desperately hoping the next 5 months are a bit more straightforward!


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