Saturday 8 September 2007

Looking but not 'being' Italian

It is a strange sensation to look Italian, to by blood 'be' Italian, but to not be Italian at the same time.... Confused - well that it what it is like for me! Since moving to Italy last year I have met many people confused by my situation. I have an Italian passport you see, as I am Italian but I am Australian too. So if I don't speak people are fooled, but once my mouth opens the game it over. It has its pros and cons:


1: I get complimented on my English all the time by the Italians and foreigners. I thank the foreigners and tell them I learnt to speak English in Australia thus my accent. I cannot lie like this to the Italians as sadly my Italian accent is heavily Australianised and far, oh so far from fluent.

2: I can push to the front of the bar when getting coffee as the foreigners all move aside for the 'locals'

3: When people in the street ask me if I speak English, and can I help them with directions, depending on my mood I can shake my head and pretend I do not understand and keep walking.

4: I can also eavesdrop on people who are talking in English. I often notice this at bars, out with friends and talking Italian, the table next to us will point and say something, not realising we understand every word.

5: When the bus comes and the bus stop is full of tourists, I again can push to the front and be allowed on by the driver who a) thinks I am Italian and favours me over the tourists b) the tourists give way to the locals.

6: When I am out with obvious looking foreigners, no one hassles me at bars I do not have that 'I am easy and a foreigner on holidays looking for a good time' look.

7: I have an Italian passport so can live here without any problems.

8: When the Italians do something silly I can dissociate saying, I'm Australian, not Italian.

9: When the Australians do something silly I can say the opposite 

1: When someone sees my Italian passport, they want to know why I cannot speak Italian. 

2: When someone sees my Italian passport they want to know why my parents never taught me Italian 

3: When they know I am Australian they want to know why I left my beautiful country to come and live in theirs, which mostly they don't like
4: Due to my poor Italian language skills, people often look at me like I am mentally challenged due to my speaking like a baby. 

I guess the pros far out way the cons...and because of that it is time to become official! On Monday I am off to the Municipale with Luisa to once and for all find out how I can gain residency. 


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Hah! You definitely "look" more Italian than I do, but I pass because I have dark hair and eyes, and some of the local cheekbones :) All of what you say here is *so* true.

As for the residency, it shouldn't be any trouble at all. Basically right now you are registered in Australia at the consulate as an Italian resident abroad in AIRE. Your comune now will just have to transfer your registration in Australia to here, and you'll have residency (after the vigili urbani come and check to make sure you live where you say you do)--and then you can get that wonderful carta d'identità!

Actually I went through a similar thing because my Italian citizenship was finalized when I was already in Italy; I had been illegal here up to that point (shhh). So when I went to my comune here to request residency, I took them copies of my Italian birth and citizenship certificates (proof that I'm an Italian citizen) and my American passport (photo ID) and they did everything for me.

You won't need any of that stuff as you already have an Italian passport--a photo ID saying you're an Italian citizen--and that should be enough.

Shouldn't be too hard at all :)

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Ciao songnatrice,
Thanks for the advice - I will wait till I next visit my dad's village to do this, as I have no proof of living anywhere in Italy. I pay no bills, I have no bank account and I have no lease for a house as work pays for that and I get paid via my English bank account.
If I go to dad's village then it should be easier as the family friends I always stay with work at the commune... Always who you know isn't it? It is just the viligi people coming to check on me,which is the problem as I don't live anywhere in particular!

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for finding my blog, and for the link! I look forward to reading more about your adventure!

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Thanks Jessica,
Like wise with your blog (in particular the wedding party)

Kataroma said...

I get that in Sweden as my dad is Swedish and I take after him (tall, blonde etc.). My mum is Anglo-Scottish Australian but I don't look like her at all. Here in Italy, I get subjected to the usual sexual harassment meted out to tall, blonde tourists. It gets rather old after 2 years here and I am thoroughly sick of being stared at, followed, whistled at and having comments made at me in either bad English or crude Italian. The fun part, though, is answering back in romanesco. That gets em. :)

BTW - I'm dragging my boyfriend back to Australia in Jan/Feb. He's never been there. I gather from your last post that you went back to Oz with your boyfriend recently. Any suggestions for placed which a European might like where I can take him to get away from the family in Sydney?


Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Oh you are going back to AUS with the ragazzo! I am from Melbourne, and to get out and about we spent one week in far north queensland. We stayed in Carins for 4 nights as accom is cheap and you can join lots of tours to the Great Barrier Reef. We loved it so much we went twice, and Giuseppe scuba dived while I snorkelled. Then we did a tour up to the Daintree Rainforest and spent 2 nights in the forst which was so beautiful.
You should def go to Melb too, and we even went to Tasmania and the Cradle mountains which are stunning. The rest of TAS is a little quiet and all.

damo said...

hi i want to move to italy for ever asmy gfriend is italian, i have no italian roots. but want to move over there and get a job etc.. i can speak the language so thats fine.. what would you suggest

i'm 33 and desperate