Just this week I went into the Department of Motor Vehicles in Torino to pick up my practice drivers license. After turning in all the paperwork, I was told that it would be ready in about a month. This practice license allows me to drive accompanied by someone else with a valid license. One stipulation is that I must drive within my neighborhood. Another stipulation is that I must place a giant (P) taped to the back of my car, which lets the general public know that I am a practicing driver.
After I picked up my practice license, I asked if I could schedule my theory exam. I wanted to take the test orally but was told the oral examinations have been suspended. I was then asked if I would like to take the written exam, having no other choice I said “yes“. The woman behind the window then asked me if I wanted to take the written exam in Italian, I asked if that was my only choice. She said Italian is the only option. For a minute, my heart skipped a beat, as the minuscule chance of taking the written exam in English crossed my mind. When I found out that my hopes of taking the oral examination in English had been dashed I settled for the written exam in Italian. Once my mind had been set as to what I had to do next, which was study for and book my theory exam in Italian; a colleague of the woman behind the window told me that I could take the test orally. Huh? Isn’t that what I wanted all along? In the span of 20 minutes, I got three different answers from two different women behind the window. Sigh…
I was then told that because I had applied for my practice license before the cutoff date of September 14, 2006 I therefore qualified for the oral exam in Italian. I was happy once again for a chance to take the exam orally. As I was about to book an appointment, Demetrio read taped to the glass in front of us, a notice that said there are six foreign languages that the oral exam is administered in: English, French, German, Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish. Woo hoo! I felt like I hit the jackpot. I was asked to fill out a written declaration requesting the oral exam in English and to bring back a marco da bollo (tax stamp) for the amount of $14.62.
As I left the Department of Motor Vehicles, I read it the declaration more carefully. It stated that in requesting that I take the theory test orally, I was declaring that I am not in possession of the certificate from an obligatory school. At first, I was upset by this because obviously I can read and write; I just feel more comfortable reading and writing in English. This declaration seemed to imply that I had no formal education whatsoever and therefore could not read. The lawyer in Sharon, told me to look at the declaration from a lawyer’s point of view. I may have a formal education but I did not receive that education and do not have any documentation from Italy. I felt much better looking at it that way. Now begins the mad cramming for the exam. I went back another time with the signed declaration and the tax stamp and left my cell phone number with the woman behind the window. She told me I would receive a call in no less than 10 days and they would let me know when my appointment was. As I left the building, I shook my head in dismay. Was it so impossible for them to look in an appointment book or on a computer screen and let me know when an apartment was available?
A side note: how many Italians does it take to find a form at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Torino? In my case, it was three. How many Italians does it take to find out how much it costs to take an oral driving exam? In my case, it was two.
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