By sylvie | December 3, 2012
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in Italy? Well, let me give you a little example.
This morning, we went to sign up for classes for “Italian for foreigners”. The place where you sign up is at a secretarial office in a school close by the castle in Trento. It’s only open for a few hours each day, so you need to queue up early. Today, for example, it was open from 10 to 13. So we got there a bit early, went to have a drink while we waited for it to open, then went in at 10.
There was already a queue of people waiting to sign up for classes.
So we waited until it was our turn, at which time we went into the office (we had to wait outside in the corridor), went up to the counter and asked to sign up for the English classes.
The lady behind the counter didn’t speak a word of English.
This is a regular thing in Trento. Maybe because it’s not a major tourism spot, it’s often hard to find someone who speaks English.
Anyway, we finally made her understand what we wanted. She then told us, or rather handed us a piece of paper that explained to us, that we had to go pay for the classes at the closest Italia Post, then come back, fill out the forms she gave us, and then she would schedule a test for us.
So off we went to the post office (close by, luckily) where we had to wait in yet another line, paid our 25 euros each, got our proof of purchase, and went back to the office. Luckily, by then, there was nobody around (although we still had to wait while they were taking care of something or other).
But when we handed over our proof of purchase, the woman started going on and on about how something was wrong and we had to go back to the Italia Post to pay, and bla bla bla. Apparently, the postal worker should have cut in half the paper she had given us originally, kept one part of it, and given us the others, which we would then have handed to her. At least that’s what I think she told us. Meanwhile, André is trying to explain to her that, yes, we DID go to the post office, and we paid, as shown by the piece of paper we had handed to her. Of course, he’s talking to her in English, she’s talking to us in Italian.
Finally, another couple came in, the man actually spoke Italian, so things were cleared up (that and the fact that she finally realized that the document we had given her did indeed show that we had paid).
We then chose when we would go for our Italian test (next Wednesday evening). She was pressing us to finish up as quickly as possible. Lady, if you had done your job right and seen that the paper we gave you showed we had paid already, we would have been out of there a half hour before.
Sigh. You need a LOT of patience to get through these kinds of things. And they are a regular occurrence when you’re a foreigner living here.
I can’t wait to actually speak Italian so that I can understand what’s going on. This language difference is a huge disadvantage.