Adventures in getting a permit of stay in Italy

Before you know it, 5 years has already passed since I migrated in Rome. It doesn’t feel that long ago though.

Comparing myself from 5 years ago, a lot has changed and I guess that I’m settling down well – although there are a lot of things that I planned but didn’t materialise. On the other hand, there are a lot of things that  wasn’t in my original life goal but I managed to reach anyway.

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One thing about living in Rome is that you’d need a ‘Permesso di Soggiorno’. This is a permit of stay which lasts for 5 years after which you will be eligible for the ‘Carta Di Soggiorno’ which lasts indefinitely. So Cart and I went to the ‘Questura’ or the Police Headquarters to get my new Carta late last year. Unfortunately, due to their misunderstanding with my passport, I had to go to the Singapore consulate to have them declare that my first name and last name is so and so.

Apparently, in the Italian system, they have a code where their passport will be printed as Lastname<Firstname. Mine was printed in inverse as Firstname<Lastname.

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At first I thought that it was a universal code and I was indignant that my passport was printed wrongly. But it was only later that every country prints them differently. Especially with a lot of different people having different naming systems.

Armed with all the documents needed ready at hand – the bollo, the ID pictures, the lo stato di famiglia (which we had to do in the municipio in another location), we went back to the Questura…

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where we found out that because of the mess with the passport, I’d have to get another 5 year Permesso di Soggiorno anyway and only get my permanent card in 2020!

It’s not a big deal, because it’ll not affect me in my Italian residency, it’s just that it’s such a hassle going to the questura which is a distance from where we live, and it’s a depressing place – crowded, full of crying, screaming children and many times there’s tension in the air with people arguing with the clerks behind the counter.

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I don’t know if I could mentally handle it by myself if Cart wasn’t with me. I felt kind of bad for the people who had to go through all these, and I think that there should be an easier and clearer way for all these bureaucracy.

And after waiting for hours, I had my hand and finger prints and was done and have to come back again in a week’s time to collect my new Permesso.

I kept telling Cart that I think it’ll be much easier for him if he married an Italian lady and thanked him for taking the days off to accompany me, saying that he’s been really kind.

Cart : No, I’m actually being selfish

Me : Selfish? Why?

Cart : I want you to stay here, so I’m doing all what I can to keep you here

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Aww! Cart may not be a poet, but that was sort of romantic.

Buon viaggio Pino Daniele

I first heard Pino Daniele’s music time ago while attending a concert at Circo Massimo. He has a distinctive, soft voice which grows on you and eventually I found that I enjoyed listening to his music which ranges from the blues, jazz and pop.

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When listening to him speak, he sounds like a nice person. He was from Naples, which is why some of his songs has a Napoli dialect but he also infuses some with English too like, “Yes I know my way“.

His music was timeless to me, which was why I was stunned to hear about his recent passing due to a heart attack. He did a concert just a couple of days ago!  And reading his last tweet gives me the sads…

Buon viaggio Pino Daniele, probably one of the most talented Italian Singer-Song writer. You’ll always be remembered.

Happy befana day!

Cart and I were at the mall the other day to buy some pandoro and panettone.

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These baked treats are commonly seen during Christmas but they are usually sold at a discount after the first of January, so we wanted to get some to last us for many week’s worth of breakfast.

While we were on our way towards the hypermarket, there was still the presepio, or the nativity scene display there. For me, it was interesting to see the diorama as I’ve never seen anything like that growing up in Singapore. The only one I’ve seen prior coming to Rome is probably the one from Mr Bean.

But there were so many here in Rome, even in the scuola elementaria where I used to patronise.

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According to Cart, the nativity scene is a reflection of life during the birth of Jesus and on the days leading to the 24th of December, there will be an empty manger and when midnight strikes, a little baby will be placed inside.

Coincidentally last Saturday was the first day of sale in Italy so there would be a lot of people conglomerating around and the atmosphere could feel quite claustrophobic and chaotic. Better to avoid unless you’re a die hard discount hunter. But we weren’t there for the sale, and instead managed to reach ipercoop.

To my surprise, I saw rows and rows of decorated socks filled with candy and I realised that they were sold in anticipation of the upcoming befana festival on the 6th of January.

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I really wanted a pair of this one, but it’s quite pricey at 7 euro each. 

When I first arrived in Rome about five years ago, I felt the befana was more popular and given more importance compared to Santa Claus. In a way, the Befana is similar to Father Christmas in which she drops down chimneys, brings candies and presents to children or coal if they were bad. She’s thought to be a witch due to her always being with a broom, but she’s said to be a housekeeper instead and sweeps the floor after her visits.

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I don’t understand the connection between the socks and the befana though, and I peeked into one of the socks. Interestingly, I saw a candy shaped to look like coal. Good for when the kid is both naughty and nice :P

Happy new year!

Welcome to the first days of 2015! I hope that you had a lovely time celebrating the new year.

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Cart and I didn’t do much during new years’ eve though. It has been freakishly cold these past weeks so much so that I feel a freeze burn just being out for a couple of minutes stepping out of the car – it’s not so much the cold that bothered me, but the wind multiplying the cold factor. I don’t ever remember it being that cold in Rome.

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Brr!

We spent it by going to the city centre and I managed to visit the Singapore consulate to ask some questions about my Singaporean passport which was going to expire in a few months.  Just as I expected there wasn’t anyone around to serve us, but it was interesting to roam around inside – it’s quite posh.

Despite the cold, there were lots of people roaming around the city centre – it’s hard to miss the festive vibe all around.

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Especially at Via del Corso where there happened to be plentiful of decorational lights of international flags. I tried to find the Singapore one, but couldn’t. So this one of Malaysia would have to do since she’s our neighbour.

We thought about joining our friends at Gianicolo like we did a couple of years back but it was so cold! Too cold to even throw things out of the window! I’d much rather stay indoors and watch the fireworks over a plate of lenticchie in the hopes that we have lots of riches in the next months :-)

In any case, I hope that you had a lovely new year celebration thank you for reading Marina’s Bloggariffic and here’s hoping to love, peace, happiness and richness!

A year in a post

I wanted to update and blog earlier but with the past week I’ve been enjoying myself and eating so much that I was feeling too stuffed to even switch on the laptop.

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And this was /just/ the appetizer. Truth be told though, I can’t wait for the new year’s eve so I could stuff my face even more. Heh heh heh. 

Before you know it, 2014 is already coming to a close. And before you know it, Marina’s Bloggariffic is already 10 years old! If my blog was a kid, he’ll probably be getting ready to go to Scuola Secondaria and maybe even start to be as tall as I am?

Wow! Where does all the time flow. A lot of things has happened and changed in the span of years. Just for this year alone I had quite number of ‘firsts’ like training and completing my first full marathon, getting my scooter stolen, starting doing regular comics in Italian, travelled out of Rome by myself, and met so many wonderful friends be it from Singapore or from Italy.

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Like last year, I did a mini project on taking a picture of the same place each month. While looking through the pictures, perhaps I should choose a better location, like Laghetto Eur but I find it relaxing to see the leaves on the trees as I go for my walks.

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January, with no trace of leaves at all, but the sky was so blue and clear during these days.

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February. Brr!

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March, when you start to see buds appearing.

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April, leaves are already appearing. It’s Spring and such a beautiful sight to see new flowers appearing.

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May, and the temperature starts to get a little bit more comfortable now.

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June is when everyone starts to go head to the beach.

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July and it starts to be sticky hot. My best friend Juli came over to visit and we had such an unforgettable time together.

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August is when it starts to get unbearably hot.

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September. Time to go back to school and work.

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October, when the temperature starts to cool down.

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November. It’s fun to trample on the fallen leaves.

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December. The last remnants of leaves stay before completely falling off towards the end of the month.

And we start all over again in January!

Diary of a Singaporean now living in Rome, Italy