Street Style In Florence In October: Stalking People And A Day Out Embarrassing My Husband

I spent the day out with my husband stalking people in the center of Florence. My husband finds it highly inappropriate to take pictures of people I don’t know and he followed me around whispering, “stop DOING THAT!”. He needs to loosen up a little bit OR I need to have a different attitude about documenting other people’s lives. Anyways, I took a variety of different people all rocking their personal style for fall in Florence, Italy. You’ll notice the men in Italy are dressed very well with perfectly coordinated outfits. The women are similar and most of them were sporting the standard black boot that is ever-popular in Italy every fall/winter. This is an excellent Italian style guide for traveling to Italy because magazines are usually more focused on Milan style and what celebrities wear. This is how real people dress in Firenze. I threw in a few pictures of the city too because it was a beautiful day and because sometimes when people would stare at me for stalking them I had to take a picture of a building or something to look “normal.”

 

Moving To Florence: Studying And Living

A lot of people who read this blog are either drunk or interested in moving to Italy, or both, which is why my community of readers are both fun and adventurous and basically better than everyone else. Since I love all of you so much I’d like to help import you to Italy by supplying whatever information I’ve learned to get you here and keep you here (mostly) legally. If you live in Italy or have lived in Italy feel free to comment and add to my suggestions!

Staying Longer Than Three Months And The Dreaded Visa

Let’s start with visa information. Compared to other countries, it’s fairly easy to get a visa for Italy if you’re from a developed country (if your country is considered third-world, they’ll still give it to you but you’ll have a few more hoops to jump through. I’d recommend just taking a boat and running for it.). There are a few different visa options and what you choose will probably come down to what you can afford. Anything up to three months doesn’t require a visa at all and that’s great if you want to come and do some tourism or a WWOOF program for the summer.

After three months you’ll need either a student visa or an extended tourist visa. Getting a work visa in any country is nearly impossible so I wouldn’t even bother. If you choose to do some kind of study program here you are allowed to work twenty hours per week which is nice although keep in mind that the average hourly pay here is like seven euros. The easiest way to come here is if you’re already attending an American Uni that has connections with a Uni here in Italy. However, I didn’t do that. I took out huge loans and attended the post-bachelorette program at SACI. Though, there are much cheaper schools here for literally everything you can imagine from cooking to wine-making, to sculpture and language and let’s not forget about apprenticeships. Getting a student visa is a pretty straight shot. The website lists everything you need to do and submit and once you do that you should be fine for whatever amount of time you’re studying. If you are an artist or a writer you can probably do a Self Employed Visa, the only downside of this is proving you have the financial means to coast through a year or so. You’ll find the information on the same website I linked above.

Money is for sure the biggest problem to tackle because getting a visa requires you to have 1,000 bucks in the bank for every month you ask to be in Italy. It can be a lot. I didn’t do that, instead I submitted bank statements showing that I get paid regularly a certain amount and then I had my mother do the same and write a letter saying she would help me financially if I needed it and that worked just fine. (You should try to have at least a couple grand saved before you move here just in case you don’t find a job right away.).

With that said, I do know a few people who never bothered with the visa, instead they just leave the country every three months to go on a mini-vacation outside of the Shengen area. Apparently, this works, although the risk is that if you get caught over-staying your visa you are banned from Italy forever and also it’s not easy to find work if you’re not legal. Probably better to get the visa.

After you get your visa, when you arrive in Italy you need to go to the Police station within eight days and apply for a Residence Permit or a Permesso Di Soggiorno. I’ll be honest and say that IT FUCKING SUCKS. You’ll be in line for hours, plan on having a shitty day, it’s part of immigrating here. The Permesso is nice to have because once your student visa runs out as long as your Permesso is up-to-date you can  still stay. My old room-mate originally came on a student visa, but then she found a job as a tour guide and stayed on her Permesso alone. Make sure you have it and keep it current. 

Schools

Going to an Italian school is a good deal cheaper than going to an American school. Well, basically going to school anywhere on earth is cheaper than an American school but Italy is really cheap. As far as grants and loans are concerned there are a number of cultural grants that one can apply for from most countries (I know Canada offers them for example). The downside is I haven’t found many in the United States because ya know Ammmmmerca doesn’t fund a lot of cultural exchange programs. However, Italy gives some money to humans who want to study in Italy. 

Finding the right school can make all the difference. If you study your ass off before you come to Italy you can go to an Italian school which is cheaper, but everything will be taught in Italian. If you are like me and you suck at languages (because you are shy and awkward), you can find schools that are affordable and cater to English-speaking humans. Make sure the school is reputable, and that the degrees, certifications, etc. transfer to your home-country. More than anything just make sure you cross compare schools to make sure that you’re not getting ripped off. And do not do housing through the school! They always jack up the prices on student apartments and many schools make a large profit on the apartments. I know from experience.

A Few School Recommendations For Florence:

http://www.artfuji.it/

http://www.lorenzodemedici.it/en/home

http://www.scuolacucinaitaliana.com/

Rent And Apartments

I think it’s similar throughout Italy but most of my experience is with Florence. In Florence you’ll pay around 300-400 euros per month to rent a bedroom in a shared apartment. I highly recommend doing this. Frankly, it’s better for  money, you’ll learn Italian faster, and you’ll be living like the locals. Italians don’t rent their own apartments usually. They live with their parents or they rent a room in a shared apartment. They’ll probably ask for a deposit and first months rent, you’ll most likely have to sign a contract which you can break anytime in Italy with a written notice. Most rent should include utilities. The best way to find a room for rent is to come to Italy and go to universities or cafe’s and look at bulletin boards. This is how most people find room-mates and places to live. Ideally take a friend or someone with you just to be safe. If you are in Florence and insist on an English speaking room-mate try to find someone from the rent wall at the European Institute.

Jobs: How To Make Money

Almost everyone I know either works as an English speaking tour guide (easier to qualify for the job than you might think), teaches English, or works in a pub of some sort. There is also the dog-sitter or nanny thing but those are jobs that take some time to establish. Most other jobs will require to to speak Italian fairly well.  A lot of the people who I know that teach English just tutor kids or whomever here or there. You can advertise in a number of ways from putting up an add online to posting things around the city. Remember, Italy is not very internet friendly. Most things are still done in physical form such as posting “English Teacher” ads on boards in coffee shops or at schools etc. around the city. It’s not easy landing a job before you arrive here. People conduct everything face-to-face (a cute habit which quickly becomes irritatingly inconvenient.). Another option is to do freelance work for American companies. That’s what I do and I love it. You can sign up to a number of freelance websites to write (textbroker.com or freelancer.com are examples), or do graphic design, or a number of other things. If you can do this steadily before moving to Italy it’s probably the easiest option in the beginning.

Romance

You’ll probably arrive here and fall madly in love with some Italian Stallion because a lot of them dress well and they are good at the sex. It’s not that difficult to land an Italian man these days since there are way more of them than there are Italian women. Most of them, because of the culture, are what anglo-saxons equate with “prince charming.” Although keep a few things in mind: His mother probably controls his life and irons his panties. He is probably still friends with every girl he has ever slept with and he comes from a country where having a little somethin’-somethin’ on the side is considered normal and is talked about openly among dudes. He also might be fascist like all “yay fascism”. If you find one who isn’t a cheater, who has stopped breast feeding from his poor mom’s dry and chaffed teets, who isn’t pro-mussolini, and who washes his own panties: marry him. Then you can stay forever and make super cute mixed babies. Tuscan rainbows.

What would you add? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below. 😉

Random Stuff I Found When I was Bored: Entertaining Things From Across The Globe

“Struggle is proof that you haven’t been conquered, that you refuse to surrender, that victory is still possible, and that you’re growing.” -Walden

Dolphin Dog: Adorable dog named Grizzly who swims with Dolphins on the reg. If you’re having a shitty day this will surely cheer you up.

Woman from Milan Who Offers Her Virgin Ass As A Reward For Someone Who Finds Her Lost Cat. “My grandma gave me that cat,” she says in the ad. I’m sure the ad is totally granny approved. If granny was a prostitute.

Amazing Photo of Nude Mother and Her Two Daughters. Say what you will, but I love it. My conservative husband (that’s right F, CONSERVATIVE!) shit himself and was all, “Oh MY GOD! Why are they all naked!?” But I think the photo is amazing and you will too if you don’t suck.

For Laughs: Great Pinterest Board Full Of Funny Stuff. I wish I would have made up some of this stuff.

I Shouldn’t Be Allowed Around People Or Google.

Every once in a while my in-laws come from Cassino to Florence to visit us and stay at our apartment for the weekend. This past weekend they came on Saturday and left on Sunday, a short visit, and I have to admit a pleasant visit (for those of you who read M.E. regularly, you’re totally shitting your pants right now. I know.). Usually when they visit I find myself crying hysterically in the bathroom or I spend hours thinking of interesting ways to murder my husband. This time I decided something that I should have decided a long time ago: I do not give a flying fuck. I made my husband clean and prepare the apartment for them, I refused to be bothered or stressed because Misty is tired. When they arrived I said hello and was  polite, but I did minimum hosting which means I only handed out water and made sure my dog didn’t bother anyone t0o much. Everyone was fine and it was mostly not weird until someone had to go and ruin it for everyone.

We were all gathered in the living-room, my in-laws, F and I, drinking coffee when the attention turned to Oliver who was being his usual-self, attacking and enthusiastically humping Mr. Oinky his new stuffed pig, in his bed. Then, as though he was trying to make me look bad, he stopped, panted, lifted his leg and PISSED  on Mr. Oinky. Right on his head like he was all, “take that bitch” after a disappointing exchange. After all my work with this dog I’d still managed  to raise a canine version of R Kelly. Everyone exchanged uncomfortable glances and I leapt up to express clean while I explained that he had never done that before (which is entirely true) but it was too late. Obviously, I had a raised a freak and there was no getting around it.

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Later that evening we were invited to dinner at a friend of the family’s house who also lives in Florence. I realized a few things. The first thing being that I love how people do table spreads here. I mean, the entire table is literally overflowing with food. The second thing is that now that I’m married everyone is really interested in my vagina and concerned with how much action she’s potentially getting.

My in-laws, my brother and sister-in-law and the hosting couple, almost at the same time, leaned in and started asking questions. When are you guys going to have a baby? When? WHEN!?? Someone demanded that we have more sex. Have sex every day! Everyone seemed so excited about us having sex that I was kind of waiting for it to be suggested that we make a baby on the dinner table. No really, do it now. NOW. NOW!

I said, “well make one when we can afford it unless you know of a way to make it live off of air. Also, babies pee inside of you. THEY PEE INSIDE OF YOU! Speaking of pee, I should not be a mother. Did I tell you all what Oliver did to his stuffed animal today? Really, you don’t want me to reproduce.” And I think they all agreed so maybe the thing with Oliver was a blessing in disguise. It’s not that I don’t want kids, it’s just that I don’t want kids now. Or soon.

(And  I might reconsider doing it ever after reading this article on fetal masturbation. Seriously? Why babies? Also, I would like to know what the church thinks of this. Kind of puts a damper on the no touchy-touchy argument, doesn’t it?)

The sex talk faded away and I was able to focus more on eating and wine. I had Oliver chained under my chair with his Kong so he couldn’t freak anyone else out. The more I drink the less I can speak Italian, or English, so at some point I was just staring at everyone. I don’t know about any of you guys but bored is bad for me. Usually my imagination kicks in and it’s all downhill from there.

Lara, our nine month old niece was sitting on my mother-in-laws lap, poking her with little bread sticks that are about the width of a pretzal but longer. Then she started feeding my mother-in-law the bread-pretzal. And I leaned over to F and was all, “I want to feed your mom a breadstick !” And F was all, “DO NOT DO THAT.” I tried to stop myself but she was sitting next to me so at some  point I was waving one in front of her face making an airplane noise and then trying to poke it into her mouth. She wouldn’t eat it. Unaware of how to repair the awkward thing I’d already done, I bonked her on the head with it instead and said, “dooopidooopidooo.” Francesco was horrified. She shot me a mean look and somehow I felt an odd sense of satisfaction that is really inexplainable.

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On Sunday everyone returned to Cassino. The weather was shit in Florence so F and I decided to stay home and  watch Underworld because, you know, werewolves and vampires!

F: What if I was a Lycan and you were a vampire?

ME: Clearly, we’d get married and have a half-breed baby. I don’t see the issue.

F: What would your Vampire name be?

ME: Something gothic and ridiculous like Seraphyn.

F: What would my name be?

ME: PUPPY!

F: My name would NOT BE PUPPY! It would be Rocko!

ME: No. Your name would be puppy. That’s a good name!

F: I hate you. [Gets up and adjusts sound]

ME: Good puppy! [pat, pat, pat].

F: UUUUGH!

Royalty, Dragons, Wine And Fire: Getting All Romantic In Chianti

As a wedding gift one of my oldest, dearest friends gifted us a free night at a really cute little Inn, Castello Di Tornano, in Chianti. F and I decided to finally go last weekend. It’s a beautiful drive from Florence through Chianti. Everyone should do it at least once in their life, preferably in the summer.

When we arrived we took a stroll through the hills. I found wild boar shit which I was kind of excited about.  I felt like a super-tracker, if there is ever a Zombie takeover I’ll survive because I can hunt things. Like a cheetah. I ran up the hill following the boar doodie and hoof tracks , thinking about that sad movie where the dog is attacked by wild boars and then gets rabies. Where The Red Fern Grows? Is that it? or Old Yeller? I don’t know. Something depressing. At the top of the hill F told me to stop stalking the animals  because “it is weird,” and I was all, “you won’t think it’s so weird when you’re starving and I have like three hundred wild boars.” Then he said I can’t watch The Walking Dead anymore. I pouted for a minute and then we were romantic under an olive tree because, ya know, the wild.

Our cute little Inn

Our cute little Inn

We went to a little village nearby for dinner. The village was a ghost town, like post-apocalyptic empty. I don’t know if anyone really lives there. The  city consisted of one empty street lined on both sides with small business’ on the ground floor for wine, paintings, and other tourist things and apartments above. There were no lights or people talking inside the apartments, only darkness and an old man having an inappropriately long conversation with his labrador under the only lamp at the end of the street. It seemed like a movie set. We popped into the only bar for coffee and learned that we didn’t need to search any further because it was also the town bakery and  restaurant, so we stayed for dinner and dined outside.  The highlight of our dinner was our waitress, a cute woman from Morocco, who spent a lot of time making fun an Italian woman behind her back, calling her “electric” with an eye roll. I liked the insult and noted that I should use it in the future. We laughed so she liked us and subsequently fed us 300 bags of chips.

After dinner I convinced F to start a fire. In our room. In the fireplace. I did not have him ignite a nearby forest. At least, not this time. It took him an hour of intensive laboring and forty rolls of toilet paper to get the fire going and for a moment I’d given up on the idea and crawled into bed. Then he scared the shit out of me when he jumped and screamed while banging on his chest, “FIRE! I created FIRE! My a babe wanted deh fire AND I GAVE AIR DUH FIRE!” So, he was super proud of himself and all “one with his caveman”. Then I convinced him to put the bed in front of the fire place, “so it would be like camping” And we did. And it was awesome.

The next morning we visited castle Ricasoli, where the family who invented Chianti Classico still lives today. Or as I like to call them, rivalry. While F and I wandered the gardens in the back he spoke in an old English accent (or tried to, not easy with his Italian accent) and pretended to be aristocratic and I was all, seriously, you have to stop before everyone looks outside and wonders why I married a peasant and I’ll have to go into a lengthy explanation of how you’re down-to-earth and how I wanted someone new and different.” As we walked around the front I noticed some odd decisions regarding the fortification of the castle wall. Off with his head! And the drapes? All will suffer my wrath! 

F: This is awesome huh babe? I mean, could you imagine living here?

ME: Yes. I can. I finally feel at home. If given the opportunity I would totally reclaim this place. Fix the drapes, and kill whoever decided that this wall was adequate defense. I mean seriously!? Do you know how easy it would be to breach the front wall?! An army of humans, or trolls, nobody is safe!

F: You know, the scary thing is that you used the word, reclaim, and that you really believe everything that you’re saying right now.

ME:  I would ride on the back of a dragon. All would love me.

F: Oookay. Could I live in your castle?

ME: No. No you can’t. Wait, actually, could I FINALLY have a Capybara?

F: Dio mio! Yes. FINE. If you own a castle and you let me live in it you can finally have that stupid giant rat you want.

ME: You know what? He’s not stupid and I’d watch my mouth if I were you. The Queen is easily angered. You can have that tower over there. But you can’t live in the main part, that’s for me and Dwayne.

F: Sigh. Whatever. So you belong here with this family, huh? Are you like the long-lost daughter or something?

ME: This family? Fuck no! These guys have been living here for like thirty generations. Do you think that they have Chianti royalty meet-and-greets or use FB? No. They don’t. So basically everyone inside is super inbred. In fact, I’m sure it’s super exciting at this point if someone is born without tentacles. The octopus clan. No thanks. Though I’m sure it makes them worthy adversaries being able to hold like eight swords at a time.

F: Right.

ME: This kingdom is as good as mine. Follow me or perish.

F: Sigh.

Am I right?

Am I right?

Note: The Chianti Classico by Ricasoli is incredibly good wine. Come and drink it.

Because My Dog Wants Me To Die

Taking Oliver to go potty is like walking a drunk, homeless man. First of all, he smells like pee, secondly he runs aimlessly in random directions, and darts  back and fourth across the sidewalk without reason. Also, like all drunk people, Oliver has incredible strength despite his appearance. I learned this the other day when he accidentally (on purpose) tried to kill me.

Last week I took him for a walk as I do every day. We were strolling along enjoying the sun, I talked with myself a lot, things were going well when he randomly leapt in front of me for no fucking reason and  jolted forward yanking me behind him. Simultaneously, I looked down and yelled, “The fuck, OLIVER.” And, BAM! 

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Some asshole at Telecom left some giant plastic cupboard thingy open on the street. Almost instantly blood trickled down my face and neck and onto my jacket. I was still a block and a half from home so I used the sleeve of my jacket to soak up the blood while I made my way towards my apartment. Oliver  clearly didn’t realize that I was dying because he stopped to pee every three seconds and I’m fairly sure he kept mumbling something about NAM and the 99%.

This whole incident happened about the same time that every kid in Florence got out of school so the sidewalk was flooded with parents gawking and shielding their children’s eyes from me while I was all post-prom Carry. I sped up and tried to walk through the crowd as fast as possible but then Oliver decided he needed to take a massive shit right in the middle of everyone. So there I was, all haunched over, cleaning up his business while blood droplets rained over the sidewalk while everyone watched in silence. Thanks dicks for offering so much help while I was bleeding to death. Oliver hopped up and down all super excited that he just went to the bathroom while I searched desperately for a garbage can with blood in my eyes. I was feeling really bad for myself, plus my head fucking hurt, but I was kind of excited to go home and call my husband to tell him that I was dying cause, you know, sympathy. 

Anyways, I did not die and I did not need stitches. Apparently I’m just super anemic so I bleed a lot. Husband came home and was all, “The fuck Misty!?” Then he made fun of me for the rest of the week for nearly knocking myself out and was all, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, HOW DOES THIS SHIT HAPPEN TO YOU ALL THE FUCKING TIME?” And I was like, “I don’t know! GIVE ME WINE!”

And maybe being drunk is the solution to most things. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to round-up your drunk friends when you’re sober but when everyone is drunk it’s just fun? Exactly. It’s all coming together now…