All your books are belong to us!

I went to the Questura in Pordenone last week to sign some forms, as noted in my last entry. I’ve been in a sort of legal limbo regarding identity and legal residence for a couple of months now because the people at the comune of Montereale would not give me a Carta d’Identita, apparently due to not having a clue what to do with an Elective Residence visa. The woman we talked to at the Questura was very confused as to why he hadn’t given me the card, as he was supposed to. This led to some questions about my being in Trieste rather than Montereale and we explained the situation and why I had rented here and had not yet legally changed my address and registered with the comune of Trieste.

I apologized for being a problem, even though the situation was largely beyond my control, and said that we’d been trying to make it less complicated. She said that since I am living in Trieste, she will transfer the forms I need to sign to the Questura here, which will mean that once the papers are signed, I can take the required classes here in Trieste rather than going to Pordenone for them. “You are not the kind of problem we have here,” she said, assuring me that everything would be all right, and that I should take the form she gave me to the Questura in Trieste sometime this week, and then register with the comune here to get my Carta d’Identita. Once that’s done, everything will be legal and proper and all the bureaucrats should be happy. The Permesso di Soggiorno is still approved and the current kerfuffle won’t change that; I’ll still be getting it about a month after I sign the papers here. My brother will be in town Thursday so we can take care of this.

After the appointment at the Questura, we stopped and got me an oven (combination microwave/convection) for the kitchen. I had to email the company to get a user’s manual in English; I couldn’t find a download on their website anywhere. I managed enough Italian to set the clock on it, but I didn’t want to take any chances misunderstanding the rest, considering that microwaves can actually catch fire under certain circumstances. Better to know what the different settings are supposed to do!

We also stopped at Ikea, where I got a bunch of bookshelves. I still need about three more, but most of the books, and all the dvds and cd’s are now up off the floor. The packing materials are broken down and consolidated into a mountain in the corner of the library, and some of the art is up on the walls. I feel so much better and more settled now that the clutter has been largely dealt with and that I have my books around me and accessible once again. Disorganized clutter tends to raise my anxiety levels a lot, so dealing with it as quickly as possible was as much for my mental health as anything else. One of the women at the American Corner said that she’d been here in Trieste for seven years and still hasn’t unpacked all her boxes. I do kind of understand that, if you haven’t got a place for things, or if you have closets you can shove less-needed things into and forget about them. I’ve done it before, usually with boxes of papers. Before I left Everett, I sorted through those and recycled about 95% of what was in them as the papers really weren’t relevant or needed anymore. Lightening that load helped a lot, as well.

I spent three solid days building bookshelves and shelving books. I finished up on Friday with what I had here, and am still aching like crazy.


Books in the office


Books in the library


Less of a mess at the desk

Sunday I met some new people. In the morning, I met with Michelle, a young woman originally from South Africa, who came to Trieste by way of London with her partner, who is working at the university here. She’s a photographer. I was introduced to her via Twitter by one of my writer friends, who’d met her in #blogchat a couple of weeks ago. We went to Caffè degli Specchi and sat out with tea (me) and a cappuccino (her) until the rain rolled in, at which point we went and had lunch at the pizza place here in Piazza della Libertà. She’s very interested in museums, as am I, so we are going to see about going to some museums together, possibly this coming week.

Later in the day, I was invited to an art opening at a small bar called Juice, on Via della Madonnina. The art is the thesis work by a woman who is, I believe, the sister of a friend of Giulia’s. We were told to show up at 6pm, only to find that the bar didn’t open until 7, so four of us – me, Giulia, another American, and an engineering student who is a friend of Guilia’s – went looking for a little snack. We grabbed a quick bite in Piazza San Giovanni, then headed back to Juice. Which opened twenty minutes late. We were going to meet Giulia’s boyfriend at Cinema dei Fabbri for a showing of The Imposter at about 8, so we didn’t really have time for more than just ducking in to see the art and leaving. The show was a bunch of sequential art, nicely done, with a manga influence.

Cinema dei Fabbri shows films in the original language. This one was an American film in English with Italian subtitles. I liked being able to see the subtitles to help with my Italian skills, which really do need a lot of work. I’m doing a little better and catching a bit more of the conversations as they go by, but am still having trouble actually speaking much. I did use a little of my Italian over the course of the evening, though.


Film projector at Cinema dei Fabbri

After the cinema, we went to Taverna del Giglio. It’s a burgers and beer place popular with the university students. They had a pretty extensive menu of flavored grappa, as well. I had a grilled chicken and cheese sandwich with a grappa rosmarino. Usually an herbal grappa would be a digestif for after dinner, but the rosemary flavor was really fantastic with the chicken and cheese. Several of the tables of younger people had ordered a long series of grappa shots, which were brought in on skis. It was an interesting presentation. I hadn’t realized that grappa came in colors, but these were creamy pinks and greens and other milky colors, with sweet flavors like strawberry and chocolate. I’ll have to try some of the other grappas when I go again.

We parted company after dinner, as it was about midnight, but I had a really good time and the people I met were very nice. Giulia’s boyfriend has done an extensive academic history of Masonry in Trieste and is doing a presentation at the university sometime in the next week or so. He’s apparently also done a short film on some of the Masonic locations in the city that I would like to find. I need to ask him if it’s up on YouTube.


13 thoughts on “All your books are belong to us!

  1. BEST POST YET!!! Glad you hit it off with Michelle. You are meeting such interesting people and having so much fun, it sounds like, that I am green-eyed! It makes me happy to infer that you are more at ease and enjoying life more now. 😎

    • She was fun. We’re talking about going to the history and art museum next week, though we haven’t scheduled a time yet.

      I’m still feeling stressed out a fair bit, but I am doing my best to function anyway. Having fun with new people helps a lot. Everyone’s being very kind to me.

      Michelle was talking about how all the museums in London are free, so it’s more of an incentive to keep going back to them. She also talked about how Trieste was small and provincial, and I said that, compared to London, everything was going to feel small and provincial. She allowed as how that was true. Sure, Trieste is a small city, but it’s got a nice vibe. I doubt anything could compare to London, really, though. 😉

  2. Ohhhh, I just get the most delicious book-loving squee seeing all the bookshelves and their happily settled books! Sorry for your aches and owies, bebe. You made awesome headway, though. *\o/* (waving pom poms)

    You adventuring about and meeting new friends is nice to hear, happy things are working out there.

    Still sighing longingly over those floors. I’m a weirdo, I know (not like you’re surprised or anything, eh?)

    Oh, something that might make you smile a bit – every time you mention your library, for whatever reason, I immediately think of that fic where J & W go forward in time and are sleeping in their hostess’ library. It always makes me smile, too. ;D

    • Though that library had twice as many books and half as much space… 😉

      I still have to get up the whatsit to call a doctor here and make an appointment. I hate cold-calling strangers for any reason at all. Italian language class tonight, though, so yay.

  3. those bookshelves look just fine. For matching the colors of the walls they help retain the airy feeling of spaciousness in the apartment.

    Every year I get a postcard from my commune “requesting” my presence at the local headquarters to re-verify I am actually living at the address I claim to be living at. Every time I show up, the guys behind the desk all laugh and say in Italian: “Oh, we don’t mean YOU when we send that postcard.” Translation is they are looking for the supposedly less desirable immigrants. In America, expressing that kind of open discrimination would create grounds for a lawsuit. Here, no.

    Despite all the complaints about Italian bureaucrats — and Italians complain the loudest about them — I have been surprised at how often Italian bureaucrats are willing to on-the-spot ignore standard procedure or just take my word for something and get me the papers I needed. I can’t imagine going into a immigration processing center in the US and having the INS people say: “Oh, you don’t live in this address with your relatives anymore? No big problem. Just take these forms to another county. They’ll give you your card to access the national health care system.°

    We’re having a cold snap. That bit of unusually warm weather we had here in Northern Italy fooled me into taking my winter jacket to the cleaners and now I have to pile on the layers!

    • Yeah, I would have gone with wood or at least a wood veneer, but the white does help keep the rooms light.

      I have definitely noticed that when Italians complain about immigrants, they almost always seem to mean Africans or other brown people. I am, sadly, unsurprised; it’s the same way in the US. It was still kind of surprising that my move didn’t cause more trouble for me.

      At the moment, I’m not sure I am eligible for the national health care system here, even if I do get my Permesso. I’m not here on a working visa and have obviously never paid into the system. I suppose they’ll explain it to me in more detail when I end up taking those required classes.

  4. Once you have established your residence in Trieste you most likely will be getting a “tessera” that will give you some access to basic medical services and discounts on pharmacy items. You will need to choose a local doctor as your primary physician but once you do that you can go see him or her if you have a concern without charge.

    Around where I live the undesirable immigrants include some Eastern Europeans and some groups of South Americans and Chinese, along with Africans and Muslims. At times we joke that they also include the Milanese, who arrive here in swarms with their dogs during the summer months (we have a much better climate). Like everywhere on the planet, if they actually don’t know anything about you they accept you totally. Where I live, I get the impression many people have zero knowledge of Jews and Judaism. In America, my husband’s name alone would instantly tag him to most people as having Jewish ancestry, but here, we are constantly invited to Easter celebrations, baptisms, wished “buon domenica”.

    I have a German grandmother and I just came back from a trip to Germany and it was amusing to me that Germans simply began chattering to me in German the minute they saw me. They were shocked when I babbled some version of Sprechen kein Deutsche back at them. Italians never mistake me for one of them!

    • Yeah, I have noted those attitudes as well, though perhaps not quite as strongly. I’m trying to schedule an appointment with a doctor, but I have to find one who speaks English. I’ve got a call in to one and am waiting for a call back. I expect I may have to call a second time, as my antidepressants are running low and I don’t have enough to last until I get back to Seattle to drop by the VA for a refill.

      • Have you tried taking your anti-depressants in their packaging to a pharmacy and asking for a refill? Bring along the original prescription if you still have it. A great many meds are within the power of Italian pharmacists to hand out. Some, no. Some yes. Usually worth a try. But even if not the pharmacist might be able to tell you which local doctor speaks English or who would write up a new prescription in Italian.

        The US embassy in Milan can usually help provide the name of English speaking doctors for all areas of Italy. And I once found a skin doctor in Genoa simply by googling “dermatologia Genova speaks English°. Turned out the doctor had studied tropical skin diseases at a Florida University. He’s still my skin doctor.

  5. PS: In case you don’t already know, the italian word for “prescription” is “ricetta”. So if at the pharmacy they tell you they need a “ricetta” or ask you for one then they are telling you that can’t refill the meds without a doctor’s prescription.

    • Unfortunately, the Veterans Administration medical system doesn’t work that way. You don’t actually get a prescription, as everything goes into the computer system and goes through their own pharmacy or they don’t pay for it. I have the bottle with all the information on it, but I have never held a paper prescription. I suspect if I were lower on the meds the pharmacy here might fill it on an emergency basis, but until I actually see a doc and get a paper prescription, I am unlikely to be able to get my meds. I’m working on it, though!

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