That would be me, Mrs. Moglie. Married to a native Italian, Mr. Marito.
Mother to a daughter in high school, Ms. SmartyPants and a son in middle school, Mr. Uometto.
Employed at a private British School as an English teacher and Coordinator of Children's Studies.
Part of a small, but growing Protestant church in Frascati, a small town in the hills just outside of Rome.

This is where I sometimes gripe, complain and grumble about the things I dislike, have yet to get used to or simply don't understand about bella Italia.
I do, however, have many people, places and things that I dearly love and I am more than aware of being blessed by each and every one of them.
Also - a few helpful posts for visitors to Rome or for newly arrived ex pats. Check the side bar for tags. I've even some recipes that I've borrowed, tweaked or invented. One thing I've come to love about Italy is how it's changed the way I eat - slow food !! Although ... I do miss Taco Bell ... and Jack in The Box ... and KFC ... and ::sigh::
Thanks for stopping by !!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Money, Money, Money.... MONEY !!

soldi = money
Today marks the fifth day of school. For Mr. Uometto, his first week of school has ended and he can finally relax and watch some Italian dubbed American programs on tv. On the other hand, Ms. SmartyPants will have to wait until tomorrow to finish her school week. Some, but not all, middle and high schools in Italy have 6 day school weeks. For the moment, her school hours are 8:15 - 12:30 each day. We've been informed that after the 18th, she'll have new hours, but we don't know if that means longer school days or if they intend to simply move the present time frame forward.
The photo above is what we have had to withdraw from the bank in order to send our 9th grader and 6th grader to P U B L I C school with all the required books and materials. Just so we're clear, there are 23 fifty euro bills. That's €1150.00 ... yes, that's right ... one thousand one hundred and fifty euro
Or in US dollars, $1504.00 !! 
This is unbelievable .
Just a small note: Here in Italy, the period and comma are used differently than in the US. An amount, like, $1,234.56 would be written as $1.234,56. That goes for all situations where numbers are used. Pi is written as 3,1415926blahblahblah and one ton, being 2,000 pounds is 2.000 libbre in Italian.
Between the two of them, the cheapest school book was €7.20 while the most expensive was €81.00 - the mean, or average price of books we've purchased was €27.46. Lots and lots and lots of books. Materiali, or school supplies include gym shoes, tracksuits, art cases, paper (specific kinds: 4mm quadrille ruled, lined, columnar-type, loose leaf, binded, etc.), compasses, and so much more... so very much more.
We will be obliged to purchase MORE new materials within the coming days and weeks as teachers and professors introduce new subjects and assignments ...

Like yesterday:
F4 drawing paper, smooth and course . mechanical clutch pencils with hard and soft lead variations . 24 coloured pencils (AND a certain brand is required !!) . 24 coloured markers (again, the same name brand) . staff paper (music sheets with preprinted staves for musical notation, writing) . "La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi," a book (mandatory monthly novel, the title will be announced each month) . pencil 5H . pencil 2B . Pencil F.
Total: €62.00 or $81.00

We've been going to the libreria, the bookstore specifically carrying scholastic books, every day since Monday. Normally, one would bring the list of required books, go once to buy or, if necessary, order them and then return again when they've come in. That's the idea. And someone somewhere sometime in Italy has had this rare and coveted experience, it's just not me. I have never had this experience. This year, we have had to return each day because although we have her list, Ms. SmartyPants' professors have insisted that parents wait until we've received confirmation from each instructor. There may be some changes. For example, one Italian text is called, "Forme della Lingua 1" - but there is also a "Forme della Lingua 2" - The professors within this section may want both books. Simple enough, right? We'll just buy the first and then eventually buy the second if need be. Nooooo. Should they want both books, we will need to buy the new "Forme della Lingua 1&2" !!  Same books, same content, same authors, same publishing house - the only difference being that they are combined to form one book. It's stuff like this that leaves me more than a little dazed and confused... 
So each day, Ms. SmartyPants comes home from school and hands me a piece of paper with one, two or three book codes written on it. After lunch, Mr. Marito drives us to the libreria and while he double parks and waits in the running car (you never know when the car you're blocking will need to move), I make my way through a crowd of other parents going through similar buy-one-or-two-books-a-day circumstances. It's loud, with names being called out left and right, part-time seasonal employees rushing to take down orders, running in and out of stock rooms, arguing over ownership of newly arrived books... kinda sorta chaotic . certainly deafening . altogether stressful .
Not that these qualities can't be easily found in most every other situation here:
waiting for school gates to open
oh great ... 
I've just realized, we forgot to buy Mr. Uometto's gym shoes yesterday ... 
the kind that must have pointed toe tips and soles that "adapt" 
to the shape of the feet, whatever that means ...
h e l p ... m e ...

On The Bright Side:

°all of Mr. Uometto's books have been ordered, purchased and received
°we were able to find 2 used school books and so saved €13.05
°my friend, Ms. NewYork, has given me her very expensive Italian/Latin dictionary, saving us over €70.00
°stopping for snacks and ice cream on the way home
°receiving a free package of black, blue, red and green pens at the cartoleria, the stationary store
°listening to "Satisfy Me" by Tenth Avenue North on my iphone while waiting in line

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