One Way Ticket to Milan

Perhaps the scariest thing in my life I have ever done is step onto that plane at Gatwick airport, because stepping onto that plane signified stepping into the unknown. A country where I couldn’t communicate as easily, a country where things would be different and above all a country where I would be completely alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love adventure so of course there was part of me that was excited, but as the plane took off it finally hit me… I was going to be living in Italy for 7 months. I managed to distract myself from such terrifying thoughts with a nice British Airways sandwich and some tea. Can’t tell you how excited I was to have a BA flight (sad I know) but after EasyJet and Ryan, it feels like you’re in first class!
When in doubt drink tea!
Luckily I have an amazingly kind and generous boss who picked me up from the airport so I didn’t have to struggle with organising transport in Italian (because let’s face it, they probably wouldn’t have spoken English).  However, thanks to the French deciding to strike, I was late arriving- great I thought, the first time I meet my boss and I’m late! But no matter, I made it to my house and upon arrival (just an example of how lovely my boss is) she gave me bed sheets, towels and even some biscuits for breakfast (yes Italians eat biscuits for breakfast). She also gave me a bike to borrow, one of those old fashioned ones with a basket on the front, so I can cycle around and to work which is great.

I've always wanted one of these bikes and can't wait to go shopping and stick my bread in my basket!

Then it was pizza time and the great thing about Italy is you can still go to a restaurant even if it’s 10 o clock at night. So I went to bed with a full and happy stomach and thoughts of, maybe I will be alright after all. However…the next few days proved to be quite a bit harder than I had imagined.

Waking up the next day I felt excited to explore this new place but I had to wait for the rain to stop first. Yes, that’s right it was RAINING in Italy (and it has continued to do so for a lot of the time L ). At least I can say it made me feel at home. So finally when it had reduced to little more than a light drizzle (Italians still wouldn’t go out in it) I ventured out with my coat and trusty map, that my boss had very kindly thought to print off for me. It didn’t stop me from getting a bit lost though. I’m pretty hopeless at reading maps and I didn’t have good old google maps to back me up.

Proof that it was indeed raining

So I was stumbling around my little town in the rain, trying to dodge crazy Italian drivers, because there seems to be hardly any pavement around here, with a grumbling stomach (because by this time it was 2.30pm) trying to find some food…something more substantial than a Gelato.  I spied some kind of pizza through a window of a cafĂ© (or bar should I say) and stood outside for a few minutes trying to pluck up the courage to go in and speak Italian. This may sound silly, because you know I’m studying it at University and everything but the fact that they might say something I wouldn’t understand. And what if I sounded funny? In the end my desire to eat over took my desire to be a mouse and not speak.


Then I had to buy some food I could actually make meals with so I went to find one of the supermarkets that my boss had marked on the map for me (once again so lovely!). I chose EuroSpin, which turns out was a bit like Lidls and my housemate afterwards told me it wasn’t very good. Hmm thanks. Also sort of forgot that I would have to carry everything back with my bike…AND I forgot to bring my own carrier bags..dam you Italy for trying to save the environment! But I managed and ignored the Italians staring at me like I was a crazy lady bringing home my favourites of Proscuitto, Grana Padano (basically Parmesan but half the price) and ciabatta. I think my housemates were quite impressed that my meal that night was an Italian one. They also seemed impressed by the fact I drink coffee - the espresso kind. Just goes to show I’m not just a silly English girl!

Who would even buy this?!!

But then the English aren’t the only ones who can be silly…

One word, no wait make that two : Italian Bureaucracy

I’m sure you’ve all heard that Italy is a bit of a mess when it comes to this, so of course, I thought I was prepared for the chaos that was to come (as it turns out nothing can prepare you). People had warned me that getting the codice fiscale would be a bit of a nightmare and that sometimes you had to wait half the day in a queue, which despite being English was not my idea of fun. Thankfully my boss was coming to help me do it so she could plead with them in Italian to let me have the code, which turns out you need for absolutely everything and I mean EVERYTHING.

1). To be able to work (pretty obvious)
2). For a contract for a house (ok pretty understandable)
3). To sign up to a Library (hmm ok)
4). To get a swimming/bus/train/any other kind pass (this is getting a little silly now)
5). To get the money that my Dad sent me from England through Moneygram through the postoffice. Ok so today is Friday, I don’t have it on me…ill have to come back on Monday. Ok so here is my code filled in on this form I got from the other post office. Wait.. WHAT? You need the ACTUAL document that my codice fiscale is on to make a photocopy? Nearly killed an Italian that day.

So yeah, as you can see this code is pretty important and this is how it went.
First time: queue to get a ticket…to get in another queue. Then they were being extremely unhelpful because they were understaffed and really busy and said we didn’t have the right documents (despite my boss bringing exactly the same things as last year when she did the same with the previous intern). Went to the bar next door to commiserate our failure in getting this code.

Second time: my boss says we are going to get there early. Cue me getting a train to Monza at 8.09 in the morning- however she’s already been there since 7.30. I get there at 8.30 and finally get called to see someone just before 9. The tension in the air is palpable as he scrutinises the documents in front of him. Then I sign some things and he stamps the paper! So painfully simple! Went to the bar next door to celebrate our success with a cappuccino. I am finally legally able to work! (and actually have a life, so it seems). 

England 1 - 0 Italy