A few posts back I mentioned that my husband and I hope to one day move to Canada and I promised to share our motives for moving. Many consider Italy a beautiful country with an excellent cuisine. I agree to a point with that, yes Italian food is delicious and the types of dishes vary from region to region. There is no ONE TYPICAL Italian dish. What is typical in Milan isn’t typical in Naples. You get the point.
Speaking of regions and provinces, this bring up another topic. I have met people that are very “provincial”. Provincial in the sense of that they are the type of person that has barely left their province (county for Americans), let alone visited other countries outside of Italy. The type of person that is offended if you say you like other ethnic cuisine in addition to Italian.
The bureaucracy, getting things done. Taking 3 hours and going 5 million different places just to get something simple done. Example in point, getting one’s Italian passport. You can go to the post office, pay 20something Euros for the packet of forms you need to fill out and submit everything right at the post office. One stop shopping, Italian style. Or you can do it the old fashioned way, going to the police station, standing in line for 3 hours just to get the form you need to complete, go to the post office to pay for the passport then it’s back to the police station with the completed form and stub from the post office proving you payed, only to stand in line again for another couple of hours. That’s not including time spent trying to find a parking spot.
Then there’s the traffic. We live on the northwestern outskirts of Milan, the fashion and financial capital of Italy. The city of Milan alone, not including the urban areas, is 70.3 square miles (182 square kilometers), with about 1.4 million people. That is not including the commuters that work every day Monday through Friday. So you can imagine the congestion, smog and pollution.
It is hard to find a job, a job with a decent wage and also a permanent contract. I am not saying it is impossible, just very difficult. I’ve been in Italy for five and a half years now and have been teaching English since 2003. I have been unable to find a “regular” full-time job and a permanent contract. Part of which is due to I am a married women, in her prime time for having children. Employers are hesitant when it comes to hiring a married woman in her child bearing years.
High cost of living and relatively low wages. Average worker salary – 1,200 a month. Then there’s rent, we pay about 500 Euros a month plus condominium expenses of about 100 a month. In total, 600 euros a month plus utilities. Groceries, about 400 euros a month. Utilities run about 110 euros a month. That’s not even including car insurance and gas for the car. Between my husband’s and my earnings, we’re barely making it. But hopefully in this new year, 2008, things will change. There is one project in the works that will hopefully bring some prosperity our way. Nothing is set in stone yet, but am keeping the fingers and toes doubly crossed!