I’ve been back to Naples now 6 days, almost a week. I can’t believe that time flies so quickly no matter where you are in the world and I guess it goes even faster when you’re trying to keep your head above water, trying to prevent what seems inevitable.
Since I’ve returned to Italy all I hear about, be it on a newscast on TV or on the radio, or just simply turning the pages of a newspaper, is the economic crisis in this country and around the globe. All they talk about is the price of gasoline climbing from 0.99€ in 2002 to 2.00€ in 2012, or the hike in electricity and natural gas bills. At one point I had to turn it all off. I just can’t listen to all that every day, because if I start thinking that I’ve been without a job since July 1st and with my unemployment no where in sight after two months of applying for it, I start to get really nervous and afraid. Yes, afraid of not being able to make it through. How many families out there are in my same situation? And yet it seems that the world worries more about the death of the Cardinal of Milan, don’t get me wrong the death of any man is always a sad event, but really? What was the purpose of all the major politicians being there and paying their so called “respect”? Was it to show the close, tight relationship that the Italian government has with the Vatican? Or was it something else? Honestly with all respect to the now passed Cardinal, but with all the problems that the Italian people have, do we really need to see for hours and hours on TV and on every newscast, the life and miracles of this man? The Vatican’s presence in Italian everyday life is just a bit too excessive for my taste. Considering how the Pope, his Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops live, I see no resemblance or connection to the life of Christ. Didn’t Jesus live in poverty? Wasn’t he always trying to do good onto others? I just do not see that in the Vatican today, not at all. Let’s not even touch other topics like values and all, this could be something to write about in another post.
A few days ago, I received an email from the Italian unemployment office (INPS) basically replying to mine sent back in August, asking them how long does a person have to wait in this country to get his unemployment benefits. Here is what they answered?
Gentile Sig.******, registriamo il sollecito in data odierna. La prestazione
sarà posta in pagamento, se ne ricorrono i presupposti di legge, nel più breve
Meaning “Mr.*****, we’ve received your reminder today. You will receive payment if you meet the requirements, as soon as possible.” In other words, no need to rush us (it’s not like two months have already passed and you might need the money to feed your family and pay the bills) when we get done with it, you’ll get it. It is just really aggravating that the people who work in these offices take their sweet time in providing sustenance for those who pay their salaries with taxes automatically withdrawn from their checks. Because even when I am not working and when I’ll receive that check, I’ll still have to pay taxes on it. What I find greatly offensive is that I pay taxes no matter what and always on time, yet when the State has to pay me, they can take as long as they want and there is no one to tell them otherwise. Not sure how it works in other countries of the world, but I am a firm believer that the checks and balances should always be in place. Italy just doesn’t seem to have any checks (no pun intended here) and surely no balances. Unless you are a politician, a Senator or an MP in general. In that case you get it all, immediately and with no questions asked (see all the corruption in the Italian political caste). What this government is doing for its people is further from anyone’d mind, except that they are making us poorer than ever.
So, September is on its way, my kids will be back in school next week and me? I have no news on when and where the Naples’ office for Education will call us subs, for our annual contracts. In the mean time life goes on and we’re barely surviving. Survival that depends entirely on the help of family abroad. I’m fortunate (most of all my children) to have still someone who is out there willing to help us make it, yet another day. Many people out there, however, have no one to help them out and the State should step in immediately, not months later at their time and leisure, when they return from their summer holidays, to help them out. The strangest thing here is that people are just accepting of everything, they take it sitting down. They are well aware that in the summer months nothing works (usually things get along, not in the best possible way, but they do), hospitals barely function in the month of August and don’t even think of getting anything done in public offices in this period, just forget it. What kind of system is it, I do not know, but I understand why Italy is going down the drain. There is no efficiency in most things and you just have to fight to get even the simplest of services. On the other hand YOU better pay your taxes or they’ll send people to your house and take it all away. They could take my 15-year-old car, yes because I can’t buy a new one, they will not give me a loan, it seems that working only 10 months a year doesn’t qualify you for anything at all these days, go see!
News travels by word of mouth, via the grapevine, don’t even think of being notified in an official matter, unless you owe the State some money, in that case they’ll be a thorn in your side, never mind “uncle Tony” knocking on your door asking you for the monthly quota, the’ll put him to shame. They’ll start sending you registered mail and bill you for it, just to make the thing a bit more ironic.
This is another side of Italy, a side which you’ll only get to know if you decide to make this boot your home. What a country it would be if it all could be redone from scratch.
I’ll sign off now, lunch time in Italy is a sacred moment and it is that time of the day. Buon appetito!