Interview with Professoressa in Campania
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Date of Interview: January 25, 2007
Area of Italy you live or will live in?
Let us know a little about yourself?
I am married, currently unemployed. Before moving to Italy, I was a university professor.
Why did you decide/have you decided to move to Italy?
I moved here because my husband is Italian. I have fewer roots in the U.S. than he has here and I had much more experience of Italy than he had of the U.S. We also think that Italy is more suited to the kind of lifestyle we prefer (simple).
What type of process did you go through to be able to move here?
I had to gather the documents necessary to marry in Italy. These included an apostilled birth certificate, a nulla osta (sworn at the U.S. consulate in Naples and notarized at the Prefettura) and various documents required by my husband's diocese (i.e. baptismal and confirmation certificates, proof of having taken a pre-Cana course, publication of the banns, etc. Everything required by the church had to be translated and then notarized by the Italian Consulate in the U.S. I've heard that other dioceses require much less.
What problems did you run into during the initial process and how were you able to fix them ?
I had no problems with the documents for the civil marriage. The church requirements were another story. Even though we were to be married civily before our church wedding, the parish priest asked for the some of the same documents: he also wanted a nulla osta, for example. The publication of the banns was tough because my U.S. parish hadn't been doing that in years. Then the fact that they were published in the parish bulletin was frowned upon. There was also the problem of my middle name, which appears on my passport and birth certificate. At the curia the examiner wanted to know why in the banns and the letter from my parish priest regarding the pre-Cana course I was only referred to by my first name. I guess in the end he decided to trust us. (I advise everyone with a middle name to watch out for this type of problem!)
How long have you been here?
I've been here little over half a year.
What type of adjustment problems have you had?
So far I've had a few different problems adjusting. At times I find it frustrating that doing simple things has become so time-consuming, either because of bureacracy or inefficiency. I'm not sure yet which of the two bothers me more. I've also had to get used to not working. My career was a huge part of my life before I moved here and sometimes I find it hard to fill all my free time. One thing that I will never get used here to is the emphasis on conformity, which I find truly discouraging.
What do you wish someone had told you before you made the leap?
Nothing that anyone could have told me would have changed anything. I suppose had I known more about the ingrained conformity, I might have better prepared myself. But even then, I knew that I would be moving into a deeply traditionalist culture, so what difference would a slightly deeper knowledge have made?
What inside secret could you pass on to others looking to move over?
I can't really give any advice on moving over here except to be really organized about your documents, and whatever situation you are in, make sure that you really know every single document that you'll need. This may mean asking the same and different people many, many times. Oh, and don't use courier services to ship anything. I was warned about this, did it anyway, and wound up paying way too much money to have my own used stuff. Seriously, people. About living here, I would say that it is imperative that you focus on the positive aspects of life here, unless you are a person who is not easily saddened or discouraged. Personaly, I think about the food. For example, I had never eaten fresh figs before coming here, and frankly, I don't wasnt to pass the next two-thirds of my life without them. Whenever something negative about Italy gets me down, I think about summer days filled with fresh figs. Maybe this is simplistic, but it works for me. So find your own personal fig, and life will be a bit easier. And this isn't a secret, but know Italian. It makes a huge difference in your quality of life.
Do you have any disappointments, things you thought would happen but haven't for whatever reasons ?
I'm not happy about how hard it is to find female doctors where I live. I live in a fairly small town, so I guess it shouldn't be surprising. (I once lived in a small town in the U.S. where there were only 2 or 3.) I just didn't think about it before I came. (Not that it would have made any difference though.)
What has changed about you since you have been here ?
I've become much more patient. I think everyone says that. I think that I've also reached a higher level of self-awareness. I think this happens more easily when people remove themselves from their ordinary surroundings and thus can no longer depend on the routines and habits of their lifes to construct their idenities. Don't know if that's going to make sense to anyone else. I don't get many chances to express myself in English, and I'm losing the ability, I fear. One thing I never expected is that I have become quite proud of being an American, and that makes me happy.
Do you think that you will stay forever?
Probably, but every so often my husband and I consider the possibilty of moving to the U.S. He works is a field that is much more appreciated (and financially rewarded) there than here.