Interview with BellissimaTina in Bari

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Blog: http://tinatangos.wordpress.com
Date of Interview: May 10, 2011

Area of Italy you live in?
Puglia

Let us know a little about yourself?
I'm a tango dancer/DJ and translator, living in Bari in the region of Puglia. Born in Seattle to an Italian-American family.

Why did you decide to move to Italy?
I've lived here before (see below for my first interview in Perugia), and my reasoning has definitely changed this time. I had been living in Argentina and with the global economic crisis a lot of things changed for me, professionally. It made sense for me to come to Italy since most of my clients are here, and there is definitely plenty to do in the arts (since I also work in Argentine Tango). Also, it's pretty easy for me to feel at home here so it felt natural.

What type of process did you go through to be able to move here?
Years ago I applied for recognition of my Italian citizenship (jure sanguinis) and the process was complete and I was Italian on paper in November of 2008. That in itself was a long, sort of complicated process that mostly required waiting in the end.

What problems did you run into during the initial process and how were you able to fix them ?
We (my family and I) had the usual problems of having to correct the spelling of my grandmother's name on her birth certificate, things like that. We were very content to find out, upon our appointment with the consulate, that everything was in order. It was just a matter of waiting. Which we did for a couple of years.

How long have you been here?
I have been here over a year and a half, this time around.

What type of adjustment problems have you had?
I don't think I had adjustment problems since in the beginning everything was already familiar to me. Something that comes to mind is that social circles take time to build and the dating life certainly struck me as different (just how women and men approach each other, things like that). It can be very frustrating to try to get things done when you come across a lot of people who don't want to do things "in regola" because they'd rather avoid some tax. I'm learning to be insistent and keep moving forward.

What do you wish someone had told you before you made the leap?
I wish someone had told me to be patient. Well, people did, but I didn't listen. I rushed myself through a lot of decisions because I just couldn't wait for my Italian citizenship to come through. The best thing I did in the meantime was live in Argentina and find that there are so many things to focus on in life. Once I stopped worrying about it, my citizenship came through.

What inside secret could you pass on to others looking to move over?
It's not much of a secret but I would say that there's always way. You just have to get creative and think outside the box.

Do you have any disappointments, things you thought would happen but haven't for whatever reasons ?
Not really. I'm pretty content with my life here. It's filled with a lot of interesting things, I love my work, I eat well, and I'm getting to see lots of Italy.

What has changed about you since you have been here?
I'm more secure with myself, happier, I'm learning to speak up and say what I want (an ongoing process). I also think I could be happy anywhere, not just here. It's quite a feat when your happiness comes from within yourself and is not based solely on your surroundings.

Do you think that you will stay forever?
It's so hard to say. I don't see myself leaving at this point.

_____________________________________________________________________

Name: BellissimaTina

Blog: http://expatsinitaly.com/tina

Date of Interview: Oct. 3, 2006

Area of Italy you live in?

Perugia

Let us know a little about yourself?

I'm single and just returned to the life of a student. I'm 29, born in Seattle, WA USA, to an Italian-American family.

Why did you decide to move to Italy?

Having grown up with tastes of Italian culture and language, and eventually having come to Italy many times, I realized that deep in my heart this is something that I have to experience. It's always hard to go back to the States after two weeks - so why not stay longer? smiley

What type of process did you go through to be able to move here?

First I applied for my Italian citizenship but that's going to take a couple of years or so, and I realized this past spring that I didn't want to wait, so I decided to apply at the Universita' per Stranieri di Perugia and get a student visa. It was a relatively simple process. I'm taking language courses there and not going through an American university so for me it was a little bit different. I simply faxed over my application and proof of payment to the school, and they sent me a certificate of pre-enrollment, stating the period of time that I was to be studying in Italy. This document was full of all sorts of stamps. I brought this, my application for a visa, the affidavit of health insurance, my passport, my flight itinerary, and bank statements, as well as a self-addressed, paid express mail envelope. The SF consulate does not do FedEx or UPS. I went in person to the Italian Consulate in SF, though you can apply by mail as well. It took a month in all to get my visa, and was approved past the six months that I had requested.

What problems did you run into during the initial process and how were you able to fix them ?

I went to the consulate on the wrong day. The visa desk is only open on Mondays and Thursdays from 1pm, and I was there on a Friday morning. I solved this problem by smiling really nicely (and showing up with extra mascara and curled hair - seriously!) and explaining that I don't live in San Francisco, apologizing for not knowing the schedule. They were very forgiving and took my application anyway.

How long have you been here?

As I write this, I have been here five days. Wow!

What type of adjustment problems have you had?

I thought I was prepared for the backwards bureaucracy, it stil got to me when I had to first ensure three hours of waiting in a room full of pandemonium at the University, and then two hours at the Questura, to get very little accomplished. I also have issues with things being closed during the middle of the day, but I'm finding that it gives me a good chance to relax at home and take care of myself. I'm also having a hard time adjusting to being in a region that is not Tuscany. It's seriously very different in Umbria - it just feels different, I can't explain it. But, Cortona is just a short train ride away! smiley

What do you wish someone had told you before you made the leap?

I wish someone had told me to just do it, a long, long time ago.

What inside secret could you pass on to others looking to move over?

Don't be afraid to curl your hair a bit for the bureaucrats...? Also, bring a book. Also, no matter how "Italian" you want to be, remember that expats are your friends - I have managed to form rather quick friendships with several people from outside of Italy, just in this short amount of time.

Do you have any disappointments, things you thought would happen but haven't for whatever reasons ?

I don't feel as "high" on Italy as I thought I would. Then again, it's only been five days.

What has changed about you since you have been here ?

I'm really good at being creative while waiting in longs lines now.

Do you think that you will stay forever?

I really don't know, now that I'm here. I'm going to give it some time and just see what comes of it. I know that no matter what I choose, or where in Italy I wind up, I will have an amazing support system, which sort of calms me.

 

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