Home stories ‘Meeeeeerrrrcaaaa! Bringing My Italian Husband And Poodle To The USA

‘Meeeeeerrrrcaaaa! Bringing My Italian Husband And Poodle To The USA

written by M.E. Evans December 19, 2013

f in america

As you guys know F and I are in the U.S. for a bit. But I have enough Italy posts saved to keep this blog going until the end of days. And I could probably even keep it going after that. F talked with a psychologist who prescribed Oliver as an “emotional support animal” for F’s “anxiety during travel.” Trust me, I’m just as surprised as you are. So Oliver was allowed to fly for free without being in a cage. We arrived to the Rome FMO airport with F’s parents. We all said our goodbye’s and F’s mom sobbed “Oh dio!” and I patted her on the back and was all, “we’ll see you soon! We’re not leaving forever!” but she just glared at me so she obviously thinks I’m a liar.

We were fully prepared for disaster with Oliver but as life goes when you prepare for the worst your dog suddenly becomes a different dog and is PERFECT FOR THE ENTIRE 24 HOURS OF TRAVELING. We boarded the plane and he crawled under the sleep and slept for the 11 hour flight into Atlanta. F was sulking the entire flight because the stewardess made him check (for free) his gigantic carry-on bag. “But I don’t understand why everyone has to follow the rules! It’s stupid!” And it totally makes sense that following rules would be shocking to him since pretty much nobody in Italy has ever followed any rules ever. I once flew through Rome with nearly a gallon of water in my carry-on. Nobody even checked it. And they never cared about the random fuzzy handcuffs that were in there since my honeymoon (a funny gift from my bridesmaids) but apparently you can’t have them because in Paris THEY TOOK THEM OUT AND WAVED THEM AROUND and were like, “hey guys, hee hee hee, you can’t bring these with you.” Because a terrorist would totally take over a plane with pink fuzzy handcuffs. Anyways, what was I talking about? Oh yeah! So F was furious that the stewardess was following the rules so he spent eleven hours glaring at her and mumbling, “Your people are so annoying” under his breathe.

When we arrived in Atlanta we had to go through immigration because F has his Greencard. At that point Oliver hadn’t peed in 13 hours and I was freaking the fuck out. I asked everyone if there was somewhere he could go outside and they all shook their heads sadly and said, “no, sorry.” I tried making him pee on his potty pads in the bathroom but he was all, “What the fuck is this!? THIS IS NOT GRASS YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!” Immigration was really easy at the airport and super fast. When he was given his permanent resident status in Naples they sent him a super secret brown package that says, “DO NOT OPEN” in big red letters on the front. The American  government obviously doesn’t know that red writing gives people anxiety and that’s why they don’t use it in schools to correct work anymore because we’re too emotionally fragile for red ink. I think they do it on purpose to shake up the ALIENS. The guy that did our immigration was nice and fast. I held Oliver in my arms who wiggled uncontrollably while a little Columbian girl pulled on his leg while she waited to immigrate too. The guy pulled out F’s papers, wrote a few things, had F sign something, and then was all, “Welcome to America,” and I considered telling him that America is a continent and not a country but I thought it was probably the wrong time to correct someone’s poor geographical knowledge.

After that Oliver had to go through agriculture inspection which took less than thirty seconds. We read online that he needed seven million documents all translated in English but all the guy cared about was his rabies vaccination. He didn’t even look at the other stuff that cost me 150 dollars in translation fees and weeks to collect. He didn’t check Oliver at all. Just looked at the paper and pointed to the exit. We had to recheck our bags and then go through security and I kept Oli in my arms so he didn’t piss all over the airport. Finally, after he’d been waiting for 15 hours (we felt horrible for him and like the biggest assholes in the world) he could finally go outside. The airport in Atlanta has a tiny grass area with a fire hydrant for dogs in Terminal F. He peed for a full minute, made his doody, and we ran full speed with him through the airport to our next flight in Salt Lake City. In the US nobody asked to see his paper work which was nice. They just asked, “Is he an ESA or Service dog?” we’d nod and they’d just smile and then molest his head with love.

Four hours on another flight and we arrived in Salt Lake City at 9:45 p.m. after a total of 20 hours of straight travel with five bags and a poodle. Oh, and I had the flu. It sucked. They lost the carry-on bag that they checked in Rome because Americans follow too many rules and last we heard it arrived in Atlanta and then was shipped somehow to Germany. Way to go Delta! In SLC my step dad Brian picked us up from the airport because my mom said, “I can’t drive after five because after five is drinkin’ time” and we drove for one hour to my mom’s house where we were fed some kind of pasta with cream sauce and shrimp (cute mom, but no).

Right now Oliver is angry because he doesn’t understand going outside in the snow to use the bathroom and he just pees on the lawnmower under my mom’s balcony while glaring at me. F and I both have the Flu and F is panicked about the “shit you people eat here” otherwise known as poor quality American food. But everyone keeps screaming MERRY CHRISTMAS at us so that almost makes it okay. Almost.

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Janice Robinson December 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm

What a bummer. I am here too for a month, but at least i have grandchildren to enjoy, and i do the cooking. Still, supermarket food here in the US is pretty disgusting, agree with F on that one. Hang in there Oliver, lol. Merry Christmas M!

M.E. Evans December 19, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Thank you darling! Merry Christmas to you too! The food quality here is absolutely disgusting and it’s scary that people have no idea (for lack of comparison) just how terrible it really is. Where are you in the US?

Pippa Pirrip December 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Bexley is also a service dog and just about the most perfect little baby to ever set foot on an airplane. As long as she’s in my lap, she’s an angel! The best was we were flying back from Chicago last year & since I had her, I got to board first. We’d no sooner sat down than the lovely flight attendant came over to coo over her and then asks if she needed water. I said sure and he comes back to hand me a liter bottle of S. Pellegrino! Which is when I told him that Bexley also would like a lemon with her water… if it was no trouble. (Amazingly it wasn’t! Seriously, flying without her I never get that kind of service!)

This is going to sound all fucked, but since we’re from New Orleans, Miss Priss Schnoodle often refuses to pee outside in the snow, I even have to keep puppy pads around in the winter because I’d rather her pee on one of those than on my floor (which is luckily hard wood.) A coat and shoes have helped, though it’s still not perfect our wintertime success average is now something like 80% rather than 30%, so I think it’s been worth it.

I hope you settle in well! When in doubt, find one good restaurant and you should be okay. Look for hipsters, they usually have good, cheap restaurants with quality organic food, though it might end up being solely vegetarian, it’s better than suddenly cramming chemicals in your body that you haven’t developed a tolerance for. Trust me, that ends VERY poorly.

M.E. Evans December 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm

That’s adorable! I’m pretty sure that Bexley and Oliver need to be life partners. We had tranquilizers on hand for Oliver in case he had a nervous breakdown but he literally slept under the seat the entire time. Have you traveled with Bexley internationally a lot? I’ve heard that France is really difficult with service dogs.

Pippa Pirrip December 22, 2013 at 4:15 am

They should totally be life partners!

She’s never made an international flight, but she’s done several domestic flights with no problem. I thought about bringing her on my trip to Italy last year, but she’d have lost her shit being left alone in strange hotel rooms while I was roaming museums. It’s crazy to think France would be bad about service dogs considering they love dogs as much as the Italians! I did read that it’s pretty easy moving to the EU from the US with your dog, hell, most countries almost make it easier for your dog to go without you! I wonder if Bexley would sponsor me…

If I remember tomorrow I’ll look to see if I can find a photo of Bexley in her service dog jacket, it’s pretty sweet.

M.E. Evans December 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm

hahaha. That is true. At least for Italy. I think it’s a little more difficult in Ireland and England because they are “rabies free” countries so your dog has to be in quarantine etc., but Italy and the US both have the same rabies classification so you can go back and fourth between them and your dog doesn’t require anything besides a rabies vaccine and a bill of health. Florence is the most dog friendly city that I’ve ever been in. Everyone has dogs and they treat them like part of the family. Dogs can go in restaurants, in stores, etc. The only place they can’t go is the grocery store and some museums. When we take Oliver to restaurants they greet him, bring him water, and often bring him some kind of snack too. It’s hard to go from that to the US where they are so terrified of lawsuits and “germs” that dogs have to stay locked at home most of the time. Kind of ridiculous really. It also makes it so difficult for people to own dogs here with so many apartments, etc being “no dogs allowed” places. Completely stupid.

Pippa Pirrip December 24, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I missed Bexley while I was in Florence SO much, everyone had their little dogs out to rub in my face- though at least there’s no problems if you pet a strangers dog, people basically expect it. Dog love is one of the reasons I think I’d be perfectly happy living in Italy, I’d just have to tell people I was an orphan with broken ovaries and maybe they’d forgive my eccentricities?

The big problem with Americans is that the culture is very irresponsible, so instead of taking care of ourselves, we blame other people. Instead of teaching our kids not to smear dog shit on their face, we consider dogs dirty, then sue the owner- because clearly it has to be someone’s fault that the kid is covered in shit, and all fault is extrinsic. It’s the same with dog owners, there was a couple that used to live in my building who had a couple of big dogs who barked and howled all day when left alone, someone left a note on their door about it and the couple lost their shit and put this huge passive aggressive sign on their door telling everyone to fuck off, so they ended up getting evicted (they also did shit like leave bags of trash in the hall instead of taking it outside to the dumpster, but still.) And had the apartment manager done nothing, I bet people could have broken their leases over it or sued for an inhospitable living environment, because ‘Mercuh! When I first moved here, someone left a similar note for me. Bexley had some separation anxiety after my divorce and subsequent move, so she was crying loudly after I’d leave for work in the morning. I started taking her to daycare once a week, because she’s my dog and my responsibility- and I don’t want my dog to be sad and crying all day, but that’s just me. 😉

Expat Eye December 19, 2013 at 10:18 pm

LOVE this post! Love all the ‘you people/your people’ stuff, the way Oliver turned into a total charmer, and your stepmom’s attitude towards the sauce 😉 I can’t believe it was all so easy! I had more trouble getting around the States with a f****** tweezers in my hand luggage! Happy Christmas to you all! Hope F survives the deep fried turkey 😉

M.E. Evans December 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Thanks darling! Right now we’re avoiding any “American” food. We’ve been making everything at home from scratch because F is terrified of becoming a “walmart person.” Are you going back to the motherland for the holidays love?

Expat Eye December 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Yep, time to get the hell out of dodge before I’m lynched 😉 My blog went a little viral and attracted some less than positive critique! 🙂

M.E. Evans December 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Oh shit! That happened to me last month! I had 80,000 impressions last month and while a lot of Italians read this blog, many of the people who came across it during the viral streak were FUCKING LIVID (it spread across FB like wildfire). Mostly because they didn’t speak English and couldn’t understand irony. But I was pretty sure that I was going to get punched in the face as least once. Or poisoned.

Expat Eye December 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Yep, pretty much same this end! I let one post be translated into Latvian but they forgot to translate the humour 😉 Anyone who just read that version was MAAAAAAAD! Cue a lot of ‘get the fuck out of our country…’ etc, etc. 🙂 I was really nervous walking around – still am a bit, it only takes one weirdo!

M.E. Evans December 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I’m actually doing a youtube video later today about the comments I got when my blog went viral because they were hilarious. It varied from, “Get out of our country” to “your people are fat and wear flip-flops.” I was kind of nervous at first too but then a few fellow bloggers assured me that this shit happens all the time to anyone with enough traffic (even if you were blogging in your own country) so not to fret. I really hope you don’t get lynched though. I really enjoy your blog and that would be a really lame ending for it. Will you return after the holidays or are you going home for good?

Expat Eye December 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Ha, of course I’ll be back 😉 Takes more than a few bitches to get me down. Some people suggested I be ‘nice’ from now on – I’m going to start self-defence lessons instead 😉 Yeah, they did the same with the Irish – all we do is sit around in bars, eating crap and being ginger 😉 It was even on TV and the radio – madness! I’m getting a t-shirt made up based on one of the comments I got ‘you are horny too long time!’ – people seem to think that if I was married to a useless Latvian and popped out a couple of sprogs, I’d suddenly go blind and not see anything around me 😉 (Hope they let us both back into our respective countries!!) 😉

M.E. Evans December 20, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I love the t-shirt idea. I can’t believe you managed to piss them off so bad they put it on air. People are insane.

Expat Eye December 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm

They don’t like the truth 😉

cupitonians December 20, 2013 at 6:33 am

This is hilarious and quite like the journey of the Hobbits to Mordor! Hope you feel better soon!

M.E. Evans December 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I’m kind of like a tall hobbit in a lot of ways. Thank you honey! We’re feeling a little better. Happy holidays!

Nicole December 20, 2013 at 8:19 am

You have such a great voice in your writing! You are hilarious and I love reading everything you say about life in Italy, I lived there for a year and I miss it so much! Your blog is the only blog interesting enough for me to return to again and again. When you publish a book I am totally buying it

M.E. Evans December 20, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Nicole thank you so much! That means a lot to me.

Joseph December 20, 2013 at 2:21 pm

What!? I wish the airport security was that lenient when I had a (small) bottle of olive oil in my bag, but that was Florence, so maybe they’re more lax in Rome lol. (I could imagine though. From what I can recall the immigration officer in Rome was reading newspaper while stamping everyone’s passports)

+ If you ever go to one of the Eatalys in the US, you’ll find them filled to the brim with Italians, tourists or otherwise. They just love their food!

Jennifer Avventura December 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm

People often ask me what a typical Canadian dish is, I’ve tried to explain ‘Beaver tail’ but it doesn’t go over well, then there’s back bacon and that’s about it. 🙂 I have to agree that North American food standards are not up to par with Italy’s delicious flavours! Great post. 🙂

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G W December 29, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Funny! Like stuff about dog and F but not so much the cursing.


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