I spent the majority of my week on a bureaucratic scavenger hunt. I am not sure if this was intentional but it was brilliant! I was given clues like “pick up your marca da bollo from a Tabacchi”, “ask for your codice fiscale at the Agenzia delle Entrate located in Via Euclide Milano” ( i got LUCKY! this place never seems to be open) and then “go to Al Elka Service for Foreigners on Thursday, March 22, at 9:00 in Via Mendicità Istruita for your permit of stay, collect the receipt and then go to the poste, pay 138,50e (!!) and bring the university the receipt”. i think my prize was two-fold…I get to stay in the country for an entire year and I got a gelato. I still need to get fingerprinted in May but the list is getting smaller…My list of Italian words…not so much larger but I have great hopes. Big plus, I can get around town now, and usually find my own way home.
For my first week of classes I have been taking the city bus from Bra to Pollenzo. My first day of class, I left the house with my backpack, eating breakfast on the way, because of course i was running late. I stood on the big white stone BUS …and waited…and waited… apparently this is not where one catches the bus. When I asked a lovely older gentleman he says ( in a marvelous voice) ahh, no, no no, Pollenzo bus? (followed by smiles and many many itailian words that i can not understand) and pointed across the piazza where, surprise! all of my other classmates, who had figured this out already (?!) were waiting.
My first days have been pretty typical, in a magical sort of way. We received stacks of new books, met many of the faculty at the University, made introductions and learned about our local Slow Food Convivium, the Gastronomic Society and the CSA offered for students. We were also invited to participate in this year’s final Cantè j’Euv – translated “singing for the eggs” which takes place in nearby towns at wineries…indeed. This part is quite different from my first week as an undergrad.
On my second day of classes, i missed my bus..yes. not a good way to begin BUT on the positive side, i discovered a large market across the street from my stop. Since i was already late, i decide to have a look around. Not only was there fresh produce, plant starts, meat, cheeses, fish and all number of other good eats, there was also a huge sewing supply stand, several clothing and shoe stands and a massive hardware stand!