September 20, 2012

A Typical Day in Florence

Yesterday, my husband & I experienced a perfect blend of the typical life here. I know that Italy has tons of perks, and lots of us expats like to write about the beautiful, charming things about Italy. But that is not the only side of Italy, and if you think it is, I think you are living in a dream world.

We were casually awakened by the cathedral bells ringing, had our morning caffe' and enjoyed the beautiful breeze making its way through our apartment. The weather has finally cooled down, so we are very thankful to have the natural air flowing. We set out into the city with our list of things to do. 

First & foremost : eating! We had both been craving 'chitarra pasta al pomodoro" from Osteria Santo Spirito, one of our favorite restaurants in Florence. We took our bikes across the river, stopping along the way to say hello to friends on the street, blissfully enjoying the sunshine & view of the Arno River. 

Then, we had to go back to the hospital because the public healthcare cards we had received had been processed incorrectly. We had already been there a week before, waited for almost 2 hours to get the cards in the first place, so having to go back was already a nuisance. We arrived to a bitter woman behind the counter who shrugged her shoulders and told us to come back tomorrow. So typical. We left frustrated but I tried to laugh and make jokes about the public healthcare system :)

Onto the bank we go! The night before, we wanted to try out our new bank account and deposit money by the ATM . We deposited the money, it spit out our card, no receipt. We had immediately called the information number to receive no answer. When we went to the bank to speak with the Director. He also shrugs his shoulders and says that the money is not there and they will not refund us. In true Italian style, they blame the consumer for some mis-doing, and therefore they are not entitled to give us the money! As a way to appease us, he offered to "Meet us halfway, and refund HALF the money back! I was appauled. The money is somewhere in that bank, obviously it does not just disappear. This guy probably took it to pay for his coffee & cigarettes for the rest of the year, while we leave the bank, absolutely livid. 

What does one do at this point? Do you become as frustrated and angry as they are? Do you "appease" them and keep quiet? "This is Italy" is the common response! Yes, being relaxed while having your lunch is beautiful, but getting anything done thoroughly here is frustrating. This way of life manifests itself into everything. We were so upset after leaving the bank, that we stood in Piazza Repubblica talking ourselves out of such chaos.

We decided to continue our bike ride, come home and do yoga together. That night we took a long walk through the centre, had an amazing dinner, gelato & conversation with an elderly Florentine who told us about life in Florence during the War.  These are the things that tourists see and believe the life here is oh-so-simple. 

I am convinced that learning to manage this lifestyle is a art form, one that Italians have grown to perfect - one that I clearly have a lot to learn. 


Murissa Shalapata said...

Thank you for being truthful.
As a traveler I ran into a few hiccups along the way too with rude people, you run into them everywhere so of course they are also in Florence, Paris, etc.

I got into reading travel writing by women and one of the things that made me annoyed was that in so many cases the writers made the trip/life look so idealistic (especially in Italy/France). The only thing missing was a man...Ugh.
But you gotta admit, gelato and yoga sound like a lovely way to make up for the crappy day! The bike ride was lovely too in all the locations you were referencing.

Great post and I am sorry about your money I hope you get it resolved!

The Wanderfull Traveler

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Good post, you will get there Christy and eventually learn to go with the flow, as there is just no point in getting agitated about the way things work or don't here. Believe me I have done my share of getting in a state about things since we have been here. If there is one thing I have learnt in Italy it is patience! Hope you resolve the issues without too much stress. I agree that life here is far from simple but I also think Italy is not the only place where this sort of thing happens.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the bank. My boyfriend is a lawyer, I wonder if I ask him he'd know a way to write a written complaint that MAY benefit you (as you know, there are many things that can be resolved but take pushing). If I know anything I;ll post back.

Ani said...

What a great post, thank you for this! I think it's great to be able to hear the good as well as the not so great about living abroad. I think it's especially helpful for those considering making that move (like myself). Patience is definitely something I need to work on if I am ever to move to Italy, mamma mia!

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