This past week

Meet Elvis the albino (?) python who has the misfortune to live in a bar in Rovereto. The bar is called the python bar by some, those reasons being obvious, and the fascist bar by others, due to the apparent or actual political leanings of the owner. Whatever the name, I was feeling very sorry for this slippery creature on Friday night. There was no subtlety of Harry Potter style parseltongue to communicate the misery of its red-lighted surroundings, just some head banging against the side of the plastic enclosure. This was only the second time we have been to this bar and it was nearly the second time where we didn’t get served. A friend, used to customer service of the American variety, had to interrupt the barman’s conversation to ask if he would mind serving us. Not the best place to be, obviously, but pickings are slim at 2am on a Saturday morning.

Despite our late night we still ventured out on Saturday afternoon (after spending the morning watching the depressing NZ election coverage) to catch a glimpse of other people being fit. We had every intention of running the Strongmanrun last year, but ended up in Cinque Terre instead. This year we mostly just gave up on the whole idea, which leaves next year, I guess.

We also found a dinosaur, advertising the start of the ‘dinosaur path’ that leads to fossilised dinosaur footprints. Woo!

Coming up for the rest of September I’m preparing for more bureaucracy pain and confusion. We have somehow lost our original tenancy agreement, with only a photocopy remaning. As I was the last one to use it, current blame is resting with me though I’m sure I remember putting it back in Matt’s giant folder of important documents. Luckily I have a trip to the Anagrafe coming up anyway, where I will sidle back into the upstairs office and ask my helpful friend if he unhelpfully, accidentally took it. While there I will also apply for an Italian carta d’identita. With this in hand, plus Matt, plus all documentation about our utilities account and hopefully with our original tenancy agreement, we will then pay a visit to the utilities office to attempt to switch everything to my name. Since becoming a resident, I apparently qualify for a reduced gas and electricity rate on my ‘prima casa’ or first house. As we only rent the one, there will hopefully be are no more astronomical gas bills in our future.

Next up I have to sort my health insurance. This is another of those situations where clear, universal information is lacking online and possibly doesn’t exist at all. The other situations being everything to do with bureaucracy in Italy. Because my proofreading contract is for occasional part time work, and because it is below a certain threshold, I do not pay contributions to the national health service. What I should be able to do, but am yet to find out if it’s actually true, is voluntarily pay an annual contribution to access the service. It is possible according to a very helpful friend at the university who spoke to the local health office on my behalf, not possible according to the unhelpful staff at the Italian embassy in Wellington. My alternatives are to continue paying for (more expensive) private health cover, or being hired by the language school I interviewed at last week, where an assumed contract and higher wage would cover the contributions on my behalf.

Matt has just tidied up his own health card struggle, after initially being told he didn’t qualify for one, to being told he did but they weren’t issued automatically, to finally realising that the postal address they had for him was wrong. Despite this being an input error at their end, a trip to a whole other office was required to have the address authenticated or updated in the system before the health office would update it in theirs. But, all things come to an end at some point, and Matt received his shiny new card this past week. The main use of which appears to be proof of age for access to the cigarette vending machines. Well done Italy.


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