Early this morning, I finally set in motion the bureaucratic ball to obtaining the dreaded Italian driver’s license by visiting my local family doctor who issued me a clean bill of health, but first, I must visit another town thirty minutes away to see an Eye Specialist, who will determine if my forty-something eyes are good enough for these Sardinian mountainous roads.
To see the eye specialist you need an appointment. So, I called the local hotline four times and I was able to speak to a person who quickly directed my call elsewhere, where I was put on hold again. Then, this automated robot that talks too fast in Italian said that all operators are busy and to try again another time. Click.
It’s not the first time I’ve started the process to obtain the ominous Italian driver’s license. I wrote about it some years ago too: about the struggles with the language and how the exam questions are written just to confuse you. I’d love to share that link with you, however, I’m presently blogging from my cellphone and I haven’t figured out how to add a link within text. I’ll share it with you in the comment section.
It’s back to basics it seems, right from the start and, after having driven only automatic vehicles for close to thirty years, this dog needs to learn new tricks and a whole new style of driving.
Stick shift, standard/manual transmission have very different styles of driving. I’m not interested in taking corners like a Formula One driver so the idea of stick shift doesn’t appeal to me in that sense, it just makes me more freaking paranoid about taking a corner in these small mountainous towns.
There’s more foot and hand movements needed to safely complete those actions compared to an automatic car, where the car just effortlessly glides into gear and you’re able to sing your favourite song while the panorama slowly opens before you.
My Italian friends keep persuading me to learn stick shift for the sake of driving like a Formula One driver, as they all take such corners so tight and fast that my stomach flip flops. They love it! I want to vomit and they don’t seem to understand my complete annoyance at having to learn a whole new style of driving and their tight corners.
There is the option of taking all the required written and road tests in an automatic car, but you will be forbidden from driving a stick shift, sounds fabulous doesn’t it? There’s a catch. Most driving schools only provide stick shift cars to their learners. There could be an automatic car available but it’s stuck in someone’s garage 250 kilometers from where you live and it’s missing the steering wheel.
After exhausting all options, I’m about ready to book the written exam, I’m getting three to four errors on the at home quizzes and the odd few times zero errors. I feel confident that within the next few months I can accomplish this ominous goal.
And just a heads up to the people in the valley, I’ll be coming to learn stick shift, take it easy on me. 😉
If you have any tips on the theory or driving exam, I’d love to hear them.
There are a few things I dislike about living the island life in the Mediterranean, it can’t always be la dolce vita.
Those few things are, and in no particular order, and only two make my blood boil: raw tomatoes, dog owners not cleaning up their dog’s shit from my front porch, and having to enter any type of government or banking office.
It was mercato Monday morning in town, a place where all the local farmers come to sell their fruit, vegetables, honey, bootleg wine, handmade leather goods, candy and clothing. It’s honestly the highlight of my week, all this shopping!
I headed to the local atm machine to withdrawal the weekly funds and my card was blocked from even entering the ancient money machine. I tried again, and no luck. There was no choice, I could feel the anxiety creeping up on me knowing I had to enter this office, it’s always such a hassle, such a disaster!
In I go … and wait an hour before it’s my turn.
Good morning, the atm has blocked my card, it won’t go into the machine.
Good morning, okay, can I have your ID card? Oh, is this still your phone number?
No, Im sorry, that is no longer my number. I have just returned from Canada after two years and no longer have access to that phone number. Here is my new number …
Okay, thank you. Allow me to input your new phone number. Do you have your cellphone with you?
(a little chuckle) No, sorry, I didn’t bring my phone because I didn’t think I would need it this morning. I just wanted to use the atm. Why?
Because we will send you a verification code to your new phone number that you must use to approve this new change to your account.
Oh, okay, but I hadn’t planned on coming into the office today, otherwise …
*the teller beside spoke up and even pulled their mask down to scold me… You, you, you must always bring your cellphone with you when you enter an official office!!
This was repeated to me several times by a teller that wasn’t even helping me in the first place. They berated me so loudly and with such a tone that my blood boiled, my right fist clenched hidden in my winter jacket, my teeth clenched so tightly that my face turned to stone.
I had no idea that I was coming into this office, I’m sorry I don’t have my phone. May I close this account?
Yes, you can close …
The maskless teller … I don’t give a crap if you close your account.
What on earth just happened?!? I was so shocked at the tone and treatment of this teller that I just wanted to run away. Not only weren’t they directly helping me, they have no opinion on whether I close my account or not. They also made my business, the business of everyone else waiting in that office.
The verification code is valid for twenty-four hours. Once you’ve verified your card should work.
Have we finished here?
So, I didn’t even need my cellphone in the first place as the code is valid for twenty-four hours. Ugh. What ignorance! I turned on my heel and walked right out the door, and cried. (Well, far way from this office, so they couldn’t see me.) Yup, I freaking cried from the wrath of this person. It was more of a “shock” cry than a “poor me” cry. The audacity. I’m still reeling from this maskless scolding.
Has something similar happened to you while trying to peacefully do your business in Italy?
The Sardinian mountain sounds here are still the same and I wouldn’t change it for the world: goats bleating gleefully in the distant, the echo of donkey’s heehaw-ing as they chase each other under a twisted cork tree, farmers calling up the mountain to their cattle that it’s breakfast time, a solitary owl that makes its presence known in the wee hours of the morning, every morning perched atop the roof, and the distant sea that roars her mighty strength onto this island’s shore with dazzling drops of sea water.
Hello, Ciao. I’m finally back after a two year hiatus from Sardinia, Italy. The last two years have seen a dramatic change in the way we view the world, and it’s my hope that I can continue to inspire through this blog with tidbit’s on the culture, traditions and snapshots from this glorious island in the Mediterranean.
It’s the simple stuff that I’ve found in Sardinia that brings me the most peace. Take for example this dirt path to the sea, with colours so vivid it seems quite like the set of a Hollywood film. It’s the simple stuff in Sardinia where I love to get lost, because our senses become so alive that our brain goes into overdrive trying to decipher the beauty before our eyes.
Where do I even begin? I am a writer, but have no words. My mind wanders, flips and flops, I read one page of a book only to turn over and have a second nap of the day. Love does bring us closer, but in this uncertain time it tears us apart. This is love in the time of Coronavirus.
Love in the Time of Coronavirus – My story
We flew back to Canada on a direct flight from Rome on December 27th, 2019, and as an already extreme germaphobe, I had purchased sanitary wipes, and I wiped down our entire row of seats the moment we boarded, people looked at me strangely and I could hear a few comments from the adjacent rows. Covid-19 wasn’t even the moniker, yet, for this virus that has rocked the world, we flew in peace, not even a bump of turbulence.
We’ve all dreamed of owning a home on some far-away exotic island where they don’t speak English and life is the clichéd dolce vita. The town of Ollolai, a luscious green zone in the Barbagia region of Sardinia, are now selling abandoned homes for €1. Shocking but true. The internet has lit up from joyous dreamers who want to pack it in and live the la dolce vita, I mean who wouldn’t want a taste of this attainable dream, for only $1.52CAD you too can stop dreaming and make it a reality. But how…? Continue reading →
It was an overcast day but not chilly when we decided to head up into the mountains for an afternoon walk with friends. We weren’t in search of anything, in particular, just the meeting of new people, dialogues, laughter and panoramic views that stretch as far as southern Corsica to Limbara and to the northwestern tip of Sardinia. Pure Sunday bliss in my books, a perfect Sunday spent between mountain and sea. Continue reading →
UPDATE: 1/5/2018 Deceit is an ugly form of extortion that can lead people to believe something that is not true. I was lied to and I believed it until I did some research. I’m in disbelief that the supermarket owner, where I’ve done my shopping for the last three years, lied to me about the “automatic charge” on biodegradable plastic bags for fruit and vegetable purchases. I was led to believe that it was a mandatory charge; that if you buy one lemon you will be charged automatically .2c for a biodegradable bag whether you use one or not. I fell for it, but only for two days, then I went into other supermarkets around town and asked.
The law only states that supermarkets cannot give out free biodegradable bags like they have in the past. Makes sense. There has never been an issue with paying for the bag if used or needed.
At one supermarket, the owner told me that he cannot give any bags out for free and that there would only be a charge if you use a biodegradable bag. Punto basta.
It’s comforting to finally realize the truth about this scandalous topic that has overtaken social media. I’m glad I did my homework and continued to question people as deceit is hidden around every corner here … fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
However, this new rule/law still has some flaws dear Ministero dell’Ambiente. Consumers should be able to bring their own mesh bags from home to buy produce. The supermarket needs to be held accountable for health and hygiene measures. They need to train people who work at the cash tills to clean the belt and scanning area several times a day. Eliminating and banning the use of plastic bags within all supermarkets is a start. I’m sorry I said that you suck, I was hangry.
*****Below is my full rant on the topic before I found out I was being lied to. Continue reading →