Back in Italy

We’ve made it home to Italy. That’s really how it feels. I couldn’t believe how beautiful everything was as we saw familiar landscapes unfolding themselves outside. The journey, unfortunately, was fairly miserable, although we only had one actual meltdown, in the train station at Nice. Axa and Raj had a large meltdown, and Tony and I had a smaller, more socially acceptable one. And then we all had some fabulous French pastries and felt better.

The reason the trip was so bad (at least from my point of view) was that I’d been sick in bed for a week previous to it. In fact, Tony pushed me in the stroller to close our Irish bank account. It was the last ride for the trusty stroller that has been our main vehicle on and off for the past two years. We left it in Ireland, the land of Irish twins and double strollers. Due to being sick, I also had a chance to check out the Irish medical system, and I must say I was very impressed. A ward member recommended a doctor. We called him up at 3:00 p.m. the afternoon before we departed, and he gave us a 3:30 appointment. He was very nice, and spent quite a long time with me, drew my blood himself, and generally put me at ease. At the end, he had us drive my bodily fluids down the street to the lab ourselves. Total bill (lab work included): 50 euros. We spent another seven euros on two prescriptions, and were done with everything in an hour. I’ll just say I have never had a better medical experience.

The doctor did pronounce me fit to travel, so we did. We’d rented a car, which we loaded up with boxes (we weren’t about to repeat the fiasco it was to move from Italy to Ireland last time, lugging all our possessions on busses and planes). I’d found a nice low-cost delivery service to Italy. The only caveat was that they only do deliveries where either the departure or arrival address is in the United Kingdom. So Tony found a kind bishop a couple of hours away in Northern Ireland, and left our boxes up there to be picked up the next day.

Wednesday we spent in the car from Mullingar to Dublin, plane from Dublin to Nice, train from Nice to Cuneo, and taxi from Cuneo to Chiusa di Pesio. It was a long day, but we survived.

Since our arrival, we’ve taken the bus to Cuneo, just like old times, to get raw milk, crates of peaches, and gelato at Corso. Actually, the reason for our trip was to visit a couple of government agencies. And we suddenly remembered how much we love Italian red tape. One should always consider the first trip to any Italian government office as a fact-finding mission to alleviate disappointment that you don’t get anything done on the first visit. It feels like the fairy-tale where the evil King sends the young hero on an impossible mission to bring back this or that golden fleece or head of a dragon. And once he’s accomplished that trifle, he can have his desire.

For example, at the Questura on Friday, they told me I couldn’t do my declaration of presence (which is a prerequisite for my permission to stay) until I’d brought them back the Gorgon’s head. And of course, I only have eight days to do it. That means that in between now and Thursday, I need to find Mercury and get him to loan me his winged sandals, visit the Greae to ask them where she lives, hack off the head, being careful only to look at it in my shield, rescue Andromeda from the sea monster, and fly back to the Cuneo Questura, head in hand. No, really all they asked for was a Declaration of Hospitality, which Tony was supposed to do for me in town, except that he’s not registered here yet, so he can’t, and before he can get registered we need to get our rental contract done, and then wait for the police to come verify that we actually live here, and there are probably some other hoops to jump through too, and it really is supposed to be done all before Thursday. We should start today, except nothing is open in Italy on Mondays. Ha ha. Anyway, everything will be fine. We’ve already performed the twelve labors of Hercules so Tony could become Italian. Anything else is cake.