So the beginning of the story is that my sister gave me these post-it notes as a Christmas present. And the end of the story is that, accidentally, one was used by Italian government employees to write notes for me, in a bid to help me with my health card. And the middle of the story is just one of bureaucracy that has not yet been solved.
So, my health card. In Italy, the government provides a nationwide health service that is accessible to anyone with a job that pays enough to cover the contributions. With my most recent job everything was sweet and my contributions were sorted, so long as I made the two-monthly trip to the office to renew my card as my contract was renewed.
Now that I no longer have that job, things seem to be a little complicated. I’m not quite unemployed, but my other work contract is for work that is both ‘occasional’ and ‘autonomous’ and it doesn’t pay much in a year. In itself, it isn’t enough to renew my health card, but it also means that I can’t declare myself ‘unemployed’, which would possibly make things easier.
I have read many horror stories about Italian bureaucracy, and this morning I definitely completed a little circular loop, but along the way the two offices I visited were staffed by employees who both wanted to help and looked for a way to help, even though they had no idea what to do with me.
Something about being a New Zealand born, Dutch passport carrying, Italian resident* makes things complicated. Heh.
But that bit about the post-it notes was also from this morning. When I was misunderstanding one office’s suggestion of what to do next, I asked them to write it down for me. The only piece of paper I had was my little post-it collection, that had come with a shopping list, a quote of a private health insurer and a spare post-it for my own notes. I passed over the empty square and hoped she didn’t know any English. Then, to my horror, I had to produce that post-it again at the Agenzia delle Entrate, where two women puzzledly examined the instructions before adding their two phone numbers at the bottom, to take back to the first office.
But no one reads the top of memo paper, right?
So much for a motto for the day though; the health office and the work (unemployment) office both took my phone numbers but I’m yet to hear anything two weeks later.. Looks like I have some visits to make this week.
In better news, I had an appointment with a labour union last week, who provide a hassle free tax-return service. For a fee. And hassle free only for me, the women who did it was muttering all kinds of things at one of my many tax forms from last year. And so my tax return was done. And I’m getting a refund for last year, which was the best possible news at that point. So happy.
*This really does trip them up. When we first arrived in Italy, one office told me that I should have travelled with a visa on my New Zealand passport, rather than my EU friendly other passport. Advice that was repeated to a dual passported Brit-Australian friend, who was also told that she shouldn’t even be here, and then that particular office rung immigration. Che palle!