It looks like I have an apartment!
We went back to Trieste a couple of days ago and talked with people at the rental agency about contract details, and are supposed to go back tomorrow to sign the contract with the building’s owner. I’m not sure if I’ll get the keys on the 15th of January or the 1st of February, but it will, at any rate, be soon. I’d like to work on getting a bed in there, and things for the kitchen as soon as I can, as I won’t really be able to live there without a place to sleep and something to cook and eat with.
Getting a bank account was a little more challenging than I’d anticipated. The first place we went to was reluctant and the person we talked to said that services for Americans were much more restricted than for other people. Apparently after 9/11 the US government put a lot of restrictions in place for offshore accounts, and that means that people like me, who just want to be able to pay rent and the bills, will have a harder time than otherwise. He called around for us and said that another bank would be able to help us, and we thanked him and headed over there.
The process of opening the account there took half an hour or so, not counting the waiting in line. I had to sign a novel’s worth of papers, and was asked if I was a political activist. The answer to this question, unlike the answer to “are you a god?” is always “no.” If I do any deposits that aren’t electronic deposits, I have to fill out a paper saying where the money came from each time I make one, so I’m going to talk to the VA and see about them automatically depositing my disability check while still having my Social Security check deposited in my US account so that I have options for dealing with things in both countries. I have a debit card and some limited internet banking availability. I’m still not sure yet if I can pay the rent electronically or if I’ll have to get checks every month for the rent and my bills. At any rate, I am bank-enabled now and this is a start.
Amid the frustrations of dealing with banks and rental agents, we took a walk around other parts of the city. The Roman amphitheater is right across the street from the Questura office, so I’ll be able to find the place pretty easily when I need to go there to do things like renew my Permesso when that becomes necessary.
A little toward the waterfront from the Questura, and into a pedestrian street, we grabbed some lunch at a fish restaurant called Pescada. The décor was cozy and a bit funky, and they were playing chill electronica rather that the surprisingly ubiquitous English-language pop that most places seem to have going all the time. The food was fantastic as well. It’s definitely a place I’ll be returning to.
The restaurant generally caters to the office workers at lunch, with a fixed-price menu, except on Fridays. I’m betting dinner is really nice too. The stained glass separating one of the dining areas from the kitchen was oceanic, complete with octopus.
We walked around on the waterfront, too, and I took some photos of the city from the dock. The day was overcast and a little chilly, but not too bad. There was a little drizzle but certainly not anything I wasn’t used to.
I still don’t have a Carta d’Itentità. It turned out my brother’s landlady didn’t actually have to sign anything. The guy down at the office in Montereale has never dealt with an elective residence visa before and was concerned that the Questura would want one. They didn’t ask for it, so that wasn’t at issue. Since I arrived on an elective residence visa but am being sponsored into the country as though it was a family reunification type visa, he was not certain which category I belong in, and is not going to issue the identity card until I actually have my Permesso in hand. As previously noted in other posts, that may not be until the first or second week of February. While this isn’t really that long in the larger scheme of things, it does mean that I can’t legally change my address to Trieste until after I have a card for Montereale. Even if I get the keys to my apartment on January 15th, I can’t register my address there until that paperwork is done. I will still mostly have to be living here in Montereale. I suppose it’s not that big a deal, as I do still need to get things together to make the place actually inhabitable by someone who needs to be able to eat and sleep.