It has been quite luxurious having so much free time with nothing to do but to talke long walks and to explore the city of Bra. The joyfulness of being able to do that is tempered, however, by the hard reality of what we need to get done by next Thursday. We have to file our Permisso di Soggiorno per Resienza Elettiva within 8 days of arriving. That will be this Thursday. To do that we need an address. Hopefully we will get some paperwork done and have an address by Monday. I say hopefully because to rent an apartment we need a Codice Fiscale (tax number). We cannot get that until the beginning date on our visa which was set by the Italian Consulate in Chicago as March 14, the date that the University of Gastronomy listed as the start date of my program. So technically we can’t get an apartment until we get the codice fiscale and the permesso di soggiorno and we cannot get the permesso di soggiorno until we get the apartment, but…”they say” we can get around that. Hopefully we will have an address of an apartment that we will be signing a contract for “soon” on Monday. We can then submit that address with our packet for the permisso. The office helping us with that isn’t open on Monday (actually a lot of businesses aren’t open on Mondays), so hopefully on Tuesday that agency will help us file for our permisso without an actual apartment contract (“they will ask you for that later and then you will have to produce it”) nor with a codice fiscale (“that is sort of optional”). On the 14th many students will be arriving all needing a codice. I picture a swarm at the office that issues them and am planning on being at the front of that swarm.
So, today, Sunday, is another relaxing day with nothing planned. Tomorrow…we meet with the apartment agent who hopefully will be able to produce some document that will assure us that we have an apartment and that will at least stall the authorities from kicking us out of the country. Tomorrow…we make sure we have all the paperwork in order to file for the Permisso with copies of copies as backup. Tuesday we will meet with the agency and hope our packets meet the minimum standard for filing. When we file we will get a receipt that we can use as a temporary Permesso and we can once again breathe.
But, I digress… I mentioned that it had snowed but it didn’t accumulate. That was before we went to bed. In the morning things looked much different.
The temperature was again in the mid to upper 40s so by the end of the day the snow was gone. The greass is green, some bushes are blooming, and people are beginning gardening (mostly in hoop houses). It looks like spring.
Saturday we took the bus to town. It was the first time we used the city buses. When we got on it was empty. At the next stop about 20 kids and one adult accompaning them got on. The kids all had small duffel bags and seemed quite excited. The noise level, mostly high frequency young boy/young girl sounds, was remarkable. When we got off in downtown Bra, balloons were being hung above the streets. As we walked we began to see children (and some adults) in costumes. Suddenly we found ourselves at the head of a parade. There were dozens of people, mostly children, walking in the parade with music, confetti, and general playfulness. Later we discovered that it was for Carnivale. There were activities all day long. Many of the employees in coffee shops were also in costumes.
One thing we learned in exploring Bra is that finding food should not be a problem. We went in and walked by many shops that sold fresh pasta, meat shops, and small grocery stores. There are also many coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and…pastry shops. It may well be that Bra has more pastry shops per capita that any where else in the world. June seems to be taking it as a challenge, over time, to visit them all. We stopped at just one yesterday, after all we have a year to try to get to all of them. We bought some fresh ravioli in a style that is the specialty of Bra and some groceries and decided to head back to our B&B.
That was when we discovered that we need to learn more Italian fairly quickly. We have been trying to figure out the bus schedules. We thought we had it down until we tried to leave Bra. We got to the bus stop in plenty of time for the 6:00 bus and waited…and waited. Finally we decided it wasn’t coming and took a cab. We asked the cab driver about it and she said that on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays the buses stop running early. Now we think we understand the fine print at the bottom of the bus schedule means when it says, “Nei giorni ferilaidi di Sabato si effettuano solo le corse n. 2-4-6-8-10-12-14“. We were waiting for “corse 18” which doesn’t run on Saturdays after 14:30 (2:30 PM).
It is good we had a lot of time, and no deadlines, for getting back.