We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Life in Venice- Filing for Residency - part 3

When the doorbell rang at 8 am yesterday morning, we were very startled to find out it was an inspector from the Anagrafe office to do Mike's residency inspection. We had expected to receive a phone call prior to the visit, but we had not yet gotten that call. I had about 10 minutes before I had to leave to catch the bus for the airport, so this actually would work out just fine. And- we were happy to just have this inspection be done with.

It was a different inspector than the man who had come the week prior for my residency inspection. This man sat down at the dining room table, asked a few questions, requested to see my Carta d'Identita, and was done. He played with Leopold, our corgi for a minute, then told us that in one week from that date we could go to the Anagrafe office to pick up the Certificato di Residenza. Bing, bang, boom, finito! The waiting on the residency inspection is maddening, and then the actual inspection is nothing. I think in our case the wait was prolonged only due to this man's illness ( we had been told by the Anagrafe office that the person who inspects in our area of Santa Croce was very ill and had been hospitalized). We' know of another person who had his inspection in 3 days time. As with everything else government related, we've learned to just have patience.

We are delighted to have this phase completed. This means that once we have the Certificato in our hands ( Mike and I will pick each of ours up at the same time next week), we will be able to then have our permanent Tessera Sanitaria cards issued. We were only given temporary Tessera cards until we could produce the residence certificates. This means another trip to another government office, but we're getting good at it!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Life in Venice - A little bit of holiday spirit- Venetian style

This being our first Christmas here, we've been eager to see how the holiday is celebrated. We've noticed that decorations are not "in-your-face" as they are in the USA. Shops are just now beginning to have some Christmas color in their windows, but nothing over the top. We've seen a few homes with twinkling lights on their balconies, and yesterday I found this Babbo Natale. I found myself with a huge grin on my face, wondering what he might be bringing the children at this apartment this year!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Life in Venice- Filing for Residency - part 2

Ok, I'll admit it, I'd been procrastinating on calling this Signore Bovo to ask about when we'll get a residency visit from him. I can only take Italian beauocracy in small doses... spread out, if possible. The gods smiled down on me this time though! Out of the blue 2 days ago Signore Bovo called me!!! And... even better, I was able to understand that he planned to come the next morning "domani mattina", if that was ok. Si, Si, Si !!!

Yesterday, at about 10 am, the doorbell rings and there stands our Signore Bovo. He's in high water boots, a heavy coat and wool cap. The visit didn't take more than 15 minutes, which I sort of expected. He had a form with him, from which he asked questions and noted my responses. I was able to understand and respond to him, and only had to ask him to speak "Piano, piano" once. His questions were things like " Do you own or rent the apartment ?" , " Where did you live before this ?" , "What kind of work do you do ?", and "Who else lives here with you ?". I got through all of those with flying colors.. ..must mean my ramped up Italian studies in the last month have sunk in a bit.

I asked if he also had a form for my husband's residency, he said that he would be returning another day to do that one. He had been sick, and had a list of names he needed to catch up with. I presumed he was going through them in the order in which they applied. at the Anagrafe office. That's ok, we'll take one step at a time. I know he'll be calling the day before he comes, and that he will return in the next week or so. I'm learning patience here.

Progress made. Now, I will have to wait a bit before making a trip to the Anagrafe office to have them print out a Certificate of Residence for me. Then we are done with Anagrafe,- Basta. At least until we move from here, and that not be for at least another 12 months.

Life in Venice - Filing for Residency in Venice

When I was going through the process of obtaining my dual citizenship, I had to obtain residency in Castel San Pietro Terme. Once I became a citizen, I then had to do a similar process here in Venice. I received my citizenship papers on Oct 30, and made my first trip to the Anagrafe office at the Rialto on Nov 3. I prepared for this trip, knowing I would be going it alone, without the aid of any of my immigration lawyer's assistants this time. Pouring over my Italian dictionary I made sure I knew what to ask for before I went in.

Registering your residence is something totally foreign to an American. In the U.S., you can move anywhere you want, every day if you wanted, and never have to register where you lived with any authorities. Here you must register with the city government, and they must validate that you in fact live where you say you live. I think it has more to do with whether you receive any benefits from the city, such as National Health Insurance.

So, I went to where I thought the office was, and was redirected by a nice woman there to another building down the street and around the corner. Once I was inside the Anagrafe office, I easily found the correct counter ( sportello) where I should register my residence in Venice. I managed to make myself understood to the girl behind the glass barrier, and she got started by handing me a long form to fill out. She had to go find another person to help in the dialogue at one point, but I knew when I saw her print out this really huge form that we had been successful. It was the same huge form I saw being used in Castel San Pietro Terme . The woman handed me a printed letter, which she stamped a few times and signed. The Italians LOVE To stamp documents. This indicated that I have applied for residency. The next step is that someone from the Comune comes to the apartment to inspect and ask you questions.

From my experience in Castel San Pietro Terme, I knew the police have 20 days to come do this inspection. In fact, when I went through this before, they came on the 8th day. I began looking for someone to come visit me in Venice, but the days ticked on, and no inspection. This wasn't looking good. It meant I would have to make a return trip to the Anagrafe office.

About 2 weeks after this, we did go back to the Anagrafe office, this time to do the same registration for my husband Michael, who had just received his Carta di Soggiorno. The process went a bit smoother because I had already been through it, and we walked out of the Anagrafe office with another letter, duly stamped and signed, and had been told that someone will come to the apartment.

On Dec 2, I made another trip to the Anagrafe office to ask what the status of our apartment inspection was, as no one had come yet. First, I studied up on , learning the correct sentences to say before I went. This was getting a bit easier.. and I was very happy that the woman in the Anagrafe office actually understood what I was asking!! I had to ask her to speak slowly to me, but I, in turn, understood most of what she was saying in response.

She made a few phone calls, and finally turned to me and said she was sorry, but the man who does the inspections for Santa Croce, where we live, had been in the hospital. She didn't know when he would be able to come, and gave me his name and phone number. Basically, I was supposed to handle everything else on my own.

I went home happy, on the one hand, that I was able to navigate this whole episode with the Italian government on my own little ability to speak and understand the language. On the other hand, I was not looking forward to having to deal with someone over the phone who I knew would not know one word of English when I faltered. I needed a few days rest before I tackled this call!

Life in Venice - A reminder of better weather.....

We're having lots of rain, cold, and Aqua Alta here this week. Winter is upon us!!!! It's snowing alot to the north of here too. As I was browsing pictures last nite I came across this one taken in late September. For me it's a great reminder of some perfect days.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I think I've died and gone to Cannoli heaven

I'm a cannoli addict, I won't deny it, always have been for as long as I can remember. I've done the cannoli tasting of every pastry shop in Venice. Rizzo Pane over on Strada Nuova in Cannaregio makes my favorite. That is--- until I had some of these bad boys at the pastry booth in the Christmas market. I will not be able to resist these. I just know I'll be finding excuses to go have cannoli's every day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Life in Venice - The Christmas Market 2008

For as many years as we have been coming to Venice, this is our first December.There are so many things we've been looking forward to, especially the Christmas market in Campo San Stefano we had heard so much about.

The market opened up on November 29, and will remain open every day until December 23, from 10:30 am till 7:30 pm. I watched them setting up the market during the days just prior to November 29, which was enough to really whet my appetite for the real deal when it opened up. I've been through it three times already, and I am sure I will find excuse after excuse to be back there many more days before the end of this month.

This is the entrance to the Christmas Market as you enter Campo San Stefano coming from the Accademia Bridge. It looks as if you have stepped into a little winter village up in the mountains with all these little alpine huts!

Each hut is filled with with delightful surprises...Christmas ornaments, gifts, jewelry, wines, cheeses, candies, meat...

The smells coming from this little shop is just too heavenly. I must go buy one of these citrus hanging things.

Meats and cheeses from various areas of Italy are mouthwatering to taste.. and take home!

If you are in town during December, here'a link to more information about what's going on every day at the market: http://www.nataleinlaguna.com/
Buon Natale!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Aqua Alta today right outside our window

The sirens went off about 6:45 am today! Last time, it was at Level One, indicating water about 110 Cm. Today it was a Level Three warning- about 20 cm higher! By mid morning, the sirens went off again, with an update to the highest level. Normally when there is high water, we don't see anything in our neighborhood.. but today is a whole new ball game. We have very high water here... even several inches into the foyer !
I've just seen people go by that have soaking wet pants as high up at their rear ends. We'll be going out to buy hip waders!!!