Living on an island in Italy has its up and downs. I’ve lived here for almost three years and every day the ‘system‘ changes, a new law passed, the Prime Minster can buy votes, and maybe the post will arrive domani. It’s no wonder most of the habitants here are ‘fuori di testa.’ How can anyone possibly trust/rely on a system that is corrupt and changes only for the good will of the already made billionaires. Nothing, I mean nothing runs with organization and the people are left helpless and confused.
Which brings me to the wonderful Italian Postal System. We’ve had the same mail woman for three years and for three years she’s been beeping the horn on the car, my signal – Oh yes…a package from Canada. This year my mother sent me three holiday packages. All three mailed the same way, three different sizes of small, medium and large.
The medium package was first to arrive. The horn beeped down our tiny cobblestone street. I went to the window and sure enough it was or me. Opening the door I said a polite Buongiorno. She informed me that I must pay a 12.62EUR customs fee. No problem. I ran back up the stairs to get some money, all I had was a fifty note. Unfortunately for me she was not able to break the fifty to give me change. She gave me a ticket to collect my package in the postal office for the following day.
The following day, down I go delighted to open my holiday package. I made the mistake of asking the clerk “Is it normal that the mail woman does not carry change for customs fees.” She responded with, ready … ” I’m not sure, let’s ask her.” And in that moment the mail woman had arrived into the postal office. As always the postal office was packed with pensioners gossiping, and as always all eyes were on me. The clerk asked the mail woman why she had no change. Mail woman went ballistic and turned her back on me to face Clerk woman. They went at it in all the Italian fashion of hands waging and tempers flying. Eventually I got out “Sono qua.” And in my head “I know what you are saying, even if it’s in dialect.” I told the mail woman that I’m sorry (and in hindsight, why would I be sorry? I only enquired about how the ‘system‘ works here, so for future I would have the right change in my purse. Sorry probably because I’m Canadian, and that’s what us Canuks do.) With my face flush and the door swinging closed as the mail woman left, I paid my customs fee and walked out the door … all eyes still on me.
The second package to arrive was the large one. We had just finished lunch when my Sardinian mother tapped on the door. With her was the large package! I asked my SM why the mail woman had left this package with her, I was told that the mail woman can never find me. WHAT? Never find me? For three years she’s been Ms. Happy Beep and all of a sudden she can’t find me? All SM had to do was sign on the dotted line. No customs fee, no ticket telling me to head to the postal office first thing, nope, nothing. Strange, bizarre ‘system‘ here in Italy.
I knew a third package was on its way as my real Mother informed me when she had mailed them. To my complete and utter surprise after returning from working at the local bakery, I found the third package in our lower level garage beneath our mail box. We have three large levels to our house with us living in the top-level. The middle and bottom levels are used as a garage until the rest of the house is completed. There are approximately fifty stairs to get to the lower level garage. There was no notice of a customs fee, no sign on the dotted line and above all no beep beep.
I’m baffled at the ‘system‘ in this country. The mail woman as thrown me for a loop, maybe next time my package will be delivered to the roof. Little did I know that a simple question about the ‘system‘ here would result in such a mess as it has. I’m tempted to let dead dogs lie, but there’s something inside me that just can’t let this go. Maybe only for now.