Being a Newbie (or How to Learn Italian and Make Friends)

Women studying at table

My husband has many talents (e.g. making risotto, doing mental math, assembling IKEA furniture), but teaching me his native tongue is not one of them.

Becoming Italian Part 5 (or How to Get Legit in Italy – Permesso di Soggiorno Continued)

Woman holds "Like a boss" mug

“What I did today and yesterday is not arrogant, it’s just proactive,” Renzo explains.

Being the Coddled Daughter (or How to Use Your Privilege in Italy)

Lady bug crawling on plant - sign of luck

I’m looking forward to the day when I don’t feel like a 10-year-old only daughter whose adoption papers were just finalized.

Using a Senior Subway Card (or How to Argue with Italian Transportation Authorities)

People riding escalators in subway station

“Why did you let me come in then but not out?! Are you going to keep me here as a prisoner?” my father-in-law demands.

Becoming Italian Part 4 (or How to Get Legit in Italy – Marriage Certificate Continued)

Honey in bowl

Remember the signora with the URGENTISSIMO sarcasm stamp? I was completely wrong about her.

Becoming Italian Part 3 (or How to Get Legit in Italy – Marriage Certificate)

Marriage Certificate

“You and your husband have the exact same birth date?” the Milan city hall employee asks me. "No, no, we don't," I say, showing her my passport while a nice cup of anxiety brews in my belly.

Becoming Italian Part 2 (or How to Get Legit in Italy – Codice Fiscale + Tessera Sanitaria)

Italian jets in sky form colors of Italian flag next to angel statue

We head to Agenzia delle Entrate to get my codice fiscale (more or less an Italian social security number) and tessera sanitaria, a card that will allow me to enroll in the public health system in Italy (suck it, Paul Ryan).

Becoming Italian Part 1 (or How to Get Legit in Italy – Permesso di Soggiorno)

Old fashioned wooden drawers for documents

In Italy, of all places, of course government work would be an art form. You see the Statue of David, I see a misshapen gargoyle that will delay the legal process by fourteen months.

Flying Solo (or How to Bond with Your Italian In-Laws)

Pouring coffee into multiple cups

In a jet-laggy fog, I wish Alberto good luck -- it’s his first day at a new job and my first Monday alone in a foreign city.

Going Commando (or How to Move to Italy)

We plowed over women and children in our rush to make the connection from New York to Milan, arriving an hour late from MSP. It was a good crash course in shedding my passive-aggressive Minnesotan skin to become an aggressive-aggressive Italian, but karma bit us in the culo.