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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Accounting 101 in Torino

For the first time in my adult life, I don’t have a job. For the first time in my adult life, I am not producing any income. For the first time in my adult life, I am relying TOTALLY on the income of another party. This situation generates a bit of stress and anxiety especially when it comes to managing the finances.

Last weekend, while we were in Rome, we traipsed over to the post office, open on a Saturday (thank heavens), to pay a few parking tickets and the start-up costs of our utilities. My darling husband loves to expose me to a variety of social situations, and rightfully so, in the hopes I will be able to handle things on my own and garnish for myself some semblance of autonomy.

As we entered the building, we took a number, queued and waited. As our number came up, we headed over to a friendly looking guy that proceeded to sing “American Pie” by Don McClean. The process was actually quite painless; we gave him our ATM or as they call it here BancoMat card, our super secret PIN number and he proceeded to debit our account dry. He spoke a fantastic English and stated he has been to California, twice, for 3 months at a time. Nice guy, we were drained but none worse for wear. However, I still have not figured out how to mail a package, all I know is that it involves a totally different queue.

A side note about the parking tickets: Since we live in a busy area of town, we have to pay to park on the street. Yes, we have a garage but it is partly filled with boxes and is used to store the moped. Our first two weeks at our new apartment was wrought with tickets because we did not have a perking permit. After a bit of complaining on my part, we went to the motor vehicle office to ask for a permit. To make a long story short, a parking permit, valid for 24 hours a day and for 1 year, costs about 8 Euros. What a deal!! We paid 70 Euros for 3 months, why you ask? The lady at the desk told us that since we are not official residents of Torino (we are in the process of changing this), she cannot give us the permit at the regular cost even if we are renting an apartment, pay utilities at said apartment and Deme works in Torino full-time. My ever patient husband almost blew his top. In the end he graciously accepted the permit and said “At least it’s better than 35 Euros a day.” We left in a huff.

Our next set of bills will arrive this month, I am the only person in my apartment building with a dryer but I am scared to death to use it. The weather has been great and I have been drying clothes on the drying rack but got the dryer for use in the winter. I don’t see waiting 3-4 days for a towel or a pair of jeans to dry; maybe it’s just my American impatience or my capitalistic needs talking. Slap! Slap! A friend of mine told me she bought and air conditioner for her apartment and ended up paying 600 Euros last August. Now I am envisioning drying 3 pairs of jeans costing me 25 Euros a pop. Yikes! Lately, I have found myself turning off all lights as I leave a room and not leaving any appliances on in the hopes that all these measures will allow me to use my dryer at least once this winter.


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