YOU HAVE TO REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WANT TO LIVE IN ITALY.
Seems dumb, but that's been the theme of the last four months for me. Between the inconsistencies and inefficiencies of almost everything from getting your permission to stay to obtaining a pre-paid Italian Visa card (the equivalent of the ones you can literally buy off the shelf at the grocery store in Canada), it's as if Italy makes it hard to stay on purpose. Have you ever seen the movie 300 when the narrator defines who can be Spartans and repeats dramatically...only the hard, only the strong. Well in case you haven't, here it is below. Now pretend instead of Leonidas going off to war, he's really going off on a trip to the Questura to get some legal affairs in order.
Unless you're a retiree with $4000 US in the bank for each month you want to reside in Italy (the going rate for a tourism residency type permit that the older, rich Americans use to stay in their Tuscan villas), you better be darn sure that Italy is what you want. And mark my words, it sure won't be the same as that summer abroad you spent drinking cheap Chianti every night, clubbing in Florence with the Americans and Australians, and chirping grazie at everyone you meet. It won't get you far when the person across from you doesn't speak four words of English and is just counting the minutes until it's socially acceptable for him to go on another pausa per coffee. I have been recounted a few different stories of girls who wanted to stay here so badly, but in the end, not bad enough because many have tried and failed and moved to another European country.
This is not supposed to be a negative post, sorry if it sounds that way. It's more a disclaimer to all those who see the dream as it sometimes is- weekend trips to Tuscany, steaming plates of pasta piled high with homemade tomato sauce, window shopping in Milan in oversized Prada sunglasses and a chocolate fondant gelato in hand. But other times it's waiting hours in a non-existent line somewhere, exchanging elbow pokes and nudges, or going to three different post offices in three different areas of town to get one task accomplished. Once, a British girl I knew told me about how a worker at the post office informed her they were out of envelopes to purchase and she had to go to another store (naturally not one around the corner either) to buy them. A post office out of envelopes. Classic Italy.
So all I'm saying is it's been four months, yes. And in those four months I've decided that I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WANT TO LIVE IN ITALY. Brace yourself Italy, I'm one of the hard and strong.