If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

31 May 2005

A not-to-be-missed experience:

Me. Scooter. Streets of Florence. And... ACTION! Whew! Wait a moment while I re-fluff my capelli (hair). Helmets are a necessary evil.

This morning, Andrea (who really *does* deserve his own blog name - but for now, he's just Zio - Uncle - Andrea), met me at the Discover Tuscany office and we arranged a game plan for our festive morning of bureaucracy. Andrea, bless his heart, has agreed to help me jump through the Florentine hoops in a hopefully-not-vain attempt to get my work authorization and 'nulla osta' (one from the Provincial Labor Office, the other from the Questura - the Italian equivalent of immigration.) Bureaucracy is the same the world over: these are not easy tasks, even when you have all your ducks in a row. We are not daunted, though.

I should preface ALL of this by mentioning, ahem, (stage direction: brief aside to the audience...)Andrea non parla inglese (does not speak English - please, kids, tell me you got that one? I'm trying to be good with the sprinkling in of words and translations, but really...). Anyhow, he does speak a word here and there (hello, thank you, ok), but basically none. (By mentioning this, I want to be clear that I do NOT in any way consider this a fault! He has lived in Italy his whole life, therefore speaks Italian. I have lived in America my whole life, and speak English. Well, and enough Spanish to survive - albeit badly, and now, a bit of Italian.) I bring it up as central to the story because it makes this particluar situation a bit more challenging. This morning, we are relying completely on my ability to understand him (and make myself understood) and somehow navigate our collective way through a bureaucratic web -- somewhat akin to a blind, deaf, and mute duo holding hands and finding their way through the New York subway system on the first try. But we are not daunted.

Shortly past 9, after a very strong caffe, we hop onto his scooter, and take off for the centro (city center). I have the utmost confidence in his driving abilities, though these little scooters zip in and out of Florentine traffic like mosquitos. (Actually, the brand name 'Vespa' means wasp in Italian!) With just the slightest admitted trepidation, I (in my flippy shoes, flowy skirt, and perfect hair), strap on my casco - translated as 'crash helmet' in my minidictionary, which does NOT invoke confidence - and swing my leg over the back of the scooter. I am not daunted.

As we cross over the river (the office is in a section of town just South, i think, of the Arno), Andrea tells me to look at the beautiful city and the Ponte Vecchio just off to the left. It is indeed a picture perfect moment. Me on the back of a scooter, blue sky, sun shining, looking out at the historic, beautiful skyline of Firenze. I think I'm gonna like it here.

More later on the travails of Tuscan bureaucracy, which certainly deserves a post of its own, but suffice it to say that on the morning of what turned out to be a 93 degree day with no airconditioning (crazy, abnormally hot for here this time of year), the wind whipped ride careening through the streets of Firenze, seeing the historic streets and buildings through the fresh albeit rapidly jading eyes of a resident -- on my version of the white horse and knight helping me along ... pinch me, I really *live* here... is a perfectly polished memory.


Blogger green gazelle said...

...now, the most important question: what COLOR was said Vespa? :) gg

2:57 AM  

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