New Car

on Monday, December 31, 2007

Our old 1995 Ford Mondeo has officially bit the dust. She passed away the Monday before Christmas, may she rest in peace. Of course she was the only car we had, in addition to my husband's second wife, his Cagiva Elefant.
The photo to the left is a similar model of what our new car will be. We're buying a 2001 Renault Scenic RXE, automatic transmission (of course ;)) We got a good deal on it, paying about 3,700 Euros for it and it has 76,000 kilometers on it. My husband was doing some checking on the internet, finding basically the same model going for 6,000 Euros. Why did we get such a good deal you ask? Well, the Renault Scenic we're buying is modified for a handicapped person, with a handles to manage the brake and gas pedals thus harder to sell. Our new car is a dark blue almost black and should HOPEFULLY have possession of it after January 7th, 2008.

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Transportation Strike - Recovered post

Italian truck drivers went on strike on Monday December 10th through Thursday December 13th. Life goes on right? Wrong. Italy's supply of anything from food to medications to gasoline moves on wheels. How does this strike affect the everyday person's life? More than you think. Imagine going to the grocery store/supermarket and finding empty shelves. You need to fill up your gas tank? Think again before hopping in your car and heading off to the gas station. Let's hope they have gas. Will you have your job in the morning? Maybe. Fiat Group temporarily laid of more than 22,000 employees as of Tuesday afternoon and the number is expected to grow in the next few days and involve all of the 50,000 workers of the manufacturing areas. No gas at the gas stations means people are unable to put gas in their cars which means they are unable to get to work which means they are unable to put food on the table. Literally the boot is on it's knees and is coming to a complete stop. This strike is potentially the longest transportation strike in Italy's history. Usually transportation strikes last only a day or two. But this is ridiculous! Also, what a time of year for this to happen, right at Christmas.

Wednesday December 11th I went the grocery in hopes of getting stocked up on some perishable items, only to find slim pickings. There is a green grocer across the street from my home, but who knows how much he has at the moment. Surely eventually when this strike does end that prices on groceries will increase due companies & farmers trying to recoup losses incurred by this week-long strike.

Why are the truck drivers on strike you ask? In a nutshell to protest the rising fuel costs and deregulation of the market. Sorry people but gas is expensive for EVERYONE. Gas at the moment for unleaded averages $7 USD a GALLON. Some truck drivers have blocked roads around many of the major cities such as Rome and Milan, others have formed convoys that deliberately slowed traffic on major highways. Barricades of trucks restricted cars to a single lane on many major highways and completely blocked others. Now for those of you who think that those of us that actually live in Italy live the "La Dolce Vita", does this seem like the Sweet Life?

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Retrieved post about the Italian Postal System

on Saturday, December 29, 2007

This was a post from January 2007 about the Italian postal system, or should I say lack of.

I am surprised with the way the Italian postal system functions, or lack thereof, that no one has gone “postal” yet.

First I should explain a little bit about the postal system here in Italy, Posta Italiane. It is privately owned, not a government run agency like in the States. In addition to offering the usual postal services, the post office here also offers bank accounts, fax services, recently also offering “kits” to renew a foreigner’s permit to stay (permesso di soggiorno). Also, in order to pay monthly bills, utilities and other various bills, one has to go to the post office.

This morning I had to go to the post office to pay a couple of bills. Like last month, I had to wait in line for over half an hour. I know, I could have gone to a different post office to TRY to avoid such a long wait, but seems this is common in the post offices in my town of Busto Arsizio. Always seems like there are at least a couple of people that have a transaction that takes a good part of the morning. Then there are the clerks that take their little old time doing such transactions. They have contract jobs so they don’t have to worry about losing their cushy jobs.

Then there’s the mail delivery. Sometimes it comes, sometimes it doesn’t, even if addressed properly and sufficient postage. Example in point, back in 2003 when I was collecting my documents to apply for Italian citizenship, I had sent my birth certificate back to my home state to have a form attached to it and they sent it back. This was in March 2003, a month later I went back to the States to visit my family, my birth certificate still had not arrived. So I obtained another birth certificate, sent it off while in the States. I received that one back in a matter of ten days. September 2003 arrives, I received the first birth certificate I had sent off, with a note from the State of South Dakota stating that they had received my first birth certificate back, saying that I did not live at such address, and the State HAD my correct address and sufficient postage.

*** Update February 13th 2009. The postal system is still something to be desired. My bank in the United States sent my debit card a month ago and as of today has not arrive. Then again, today the mailman has NOT arrived. Shoes I ordered off of eBay that were sent on February 3rd, not arrived. In the last month we've had mail delivery on average of 3-4 times a week instead of Monday through Saturday like it should be.

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First retrieved post

From my "old" blog on BlogCharm. The following is from a post dated December 19th 2007 about "The Sweet Life".

La Dolce Vita in Italian means The Sweet Life. Something that foreigners think that those that live in Italy have, The Sweet Life. But is this a reality? Do you call 21% of the Italian population, or 12.5 million out of roughly 60 million, living in poverty La Dolce Vita? Prime Minister Romano Prodi issued a decree that these poor will receive 150 euros ($210) next December. But how will that help the months following? I spend about that much at the grocery store for two weeks, just for my husband and I, and that's going to the discount grocery store. Buying store brand items versus the big name brand. That amount, 150 euros, would have filled up our Ford Mondeo 1.5 times, enough gas for about two weeks if we don't go anywhere on the weekends. If it weren't for my husband's parents helping us out financially, I honestly do not know how we'd make it month-to-month.

People here are struggling to make ends meet. Not only those of us who are not originally from here, even Italians are having a hard time. If I work 20 hours a week EVERY week teaching private lessons of English, I make about the same as a blue collar worker working 40 hours a week if not more. People are having a hard time paying a 500 euro a month mortgage payment. Let alone putting food on the table. , gas in the car and paying the ever increasing utilities. My husband sometimes complains I buy meat at the discount store versus the butcher. Sorry but it's cheaper and when money is tight, a person has to do what a person has to do in order to save some money.

Then there is the subject of employment. Today's generations are more education then their ancestors. But does that mean higher wages and better job contracts? No. Today's young people don't have such a bright future unless they move abroad. WHO you know is more important that WHAT you know. A recent university graduate what do they have to look forward to when they graduate? A difficult time finding a permanent contract at a decent wage. In the United States I had experience in Customer Service and also as a waitress. Here if I were to be doing the same type of work, full-time working 40+ hours a week I would be lucky to earn 800 euros a month and a temporary contract. In other words, every three months my contract may or may not be renewed. That is if I were lucky enough to land a job. Since I am a married female in my 30's (child bearing years), I'd be seen as a walking womb. A walking baby maker, with companies hesitant to hire me due to the fact I may or may not at any given time be taking maternity leave.

I am NOT saying the United States is the best country in the world, because it is not. Do I regret moving to Italy? No. Why? Because I've learned about the Italian culture, learned the language, learned how things work here, am able to cook some Italian dishes and am able to teach my niece English and watch her grow and learn new things. If you can't tell, I am a very proud auntie. Also, after moving and living in Italy for over five years now, I look the United States with different eyes. I realize the good and the bad in a different light. Is one country, Italy or the United States better than the other? No, that would be like comparing apples and oranges. Both are fruits yes, but that is where the similarities end.

So do we live the "la bella figura" (beautiful figure) lifestyle? Not at all. Yes Italy has beautiful scenery and just as delicious cuisine. But that does not put a roof over our heads, gas in our car and food in our stomachs. Please remember this before deciding to move here permanently if you are wanting to live and work here. Italy is a wonderful country to retire if you have a good size nest egg in the bank or for vacation.

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Updates

on Friday, December 28, 2007

Since my other blog has now bit the dust, and if you haven't followed along or have just stumbled across me for the first time, let me get you up to speed on things.

I'm originally from South Dakota USA, married to an Italian and have been living in Italy since May 2002. I obtained Italian citizenship in September 2006 after an almost 3 year wait when I was told it would only take two years. I haven't been back to the States since 2005 when my father passed away. First in part due to seems every year becomes more and more expensive to go and second I fear that if I go, I may not come back to Italy.

What else is new? Well, my husband and I HAD hoped on opening a gelateria (Italian ice cream shop) in Galveston, Texas but those plans fell through after the guy that was going to go in on this project backed out in not so many words. Actually no words. We pretty much had the business plan almost done, just needed some information from him which he kept putting off finding out. Two weeks became a month and so on. So needless to say my opinion of this guy isn't very high, unless it was his wife who was behind all of this, which wouldn't surprise me any.

My husband and I hope to one day move to Canada. No specific place in mind, anywhere that can find a job that will sponsor the visa necessary in order to move, through the Provincial Nominee Program. My husband is a computer technician with 13 years experience, working with both Macintosh and Windows OS. I have 12 years experience in customer service, 6 years waitressing and 4 years teaching English as a second language. I have been off and on looking for jobs, but has been difficult due to many employers being rather hesitant about hiring someone from abroad. I have put job hunting on hold for the moment in hopes we can save up some serious cash in order to move. HOPEFULLY we'll be able to do it. Neither one of us want to spend the rest of our lives here in Italy. Our motives for wanting to leave Italy and move to Canada, next post. So keep checking back!

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Death of a Blog

The end has come for BlogCharm. As of January 1st 2008 BlogCharm is no more. Unfortunately I cannot even access my blog on BlogCharm. If they are shutting down on January 1st, why cannot I access my blog NOW?!?! What a pisser. So now I am back to using this blog. I knew it was a good idea to keep this blog, just in case. Unfortunately I did not have a back up of that blog, so I beg your pardon while I get this blog a little more "up-to-date". Sorry for any inconvenience .

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BlogCharm down again and other things

on Thursday, September 13, 2007

This is the FOURTH time in the less than a year that BlogCharm has been down and is getting on my nerves, big time. I know it has been awhile since I have posted anything there, and even longer here due to this blog being my "backup/just in case this sorta thing" happened. It will be kind of a pain, but may switch back.

The reason I haven't posted in awhile on either blog is that I have been busy lately, STILL looking for jobs in Canada for my husband. I have sent out I don't know how many resumes with not a lot of response back. My husband is a Computer Technician by trade, with 13 years experience, with both Windows and Mac OS.

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Again!!!!!!!

on Thursday, April 12, 2007

I HAD been back to posting on my other blog, until BlogCharm/BlogExplosion decided to change servers, and I along with any other blogger who uses BlogCharm, have been unable to post, make changes to my template etc. The only thing that can be done is post comments. This is at least the 2nd or third time that this has happened in six months and it is really starting to get on my nerves. Va beh.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I am still looking for jobs in Canada for my husband, to no avail. Have not had a positive response yet, aka an interview, in two months. I know should not expect anything to happen overnight, but can be frustrating. Especially since we would have liked to move like yesterday. So we talked a bit last night, I am going to start looking for work for me up in Scotland, maybe around Glasgow for the time being. Then my husband will join me there, and I would continue to look for work for him in Canada. I think Canada may be next to impossible, but have to try. I am looking for a Computer Technician position for my husband, and if this position deals with Macintosh, the better since that is what he specializes in.

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Blogcharm is up and running

on Wednesday, January 03, 2007

and has been for a little while now. I am back to posting on my other blog, which can be found here.

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