Monday, September 24, 2007

La Dolce Vita.....Says Who??

In my spare time I like to read blogs from all over the world. It seems lately that blogs originating in Italy are posting about the same things. Whether it's dissatisfaction with prenatal care, strikes, depressing beauty contests, bad organization, or political angst, it all points to one thing. Life in Italy isn't as "dolce" as we like to dream it is. Maybe it's become "Hollywoodized" by movies like "Under the Tuscan Sun". Not only have I read all these rants and raves, I've heard them first hand by Ale, the Italian and collaborator of this blog.

It seems Italy's political system is a disorganized mess. After everything I've read and heard, I wouldn't be shocked if there were some kind of revolution being planned. Healthcare, albeit free (well, who are we kidding here, nothing is ever free...taxes!) or rather socialized, is not the best. I mean, who tells a pregnant woman who wasn't overweight to begin with, to lose weight while pregnant???? runs rampant in Italy. If you don't have friends or family in high places, then you are just out-of-luck. Or, if your family doesn't have 30,000 Euros to get you into medical school, then you are just not going to get anywhere. You might get a job, but you'll either get paid peanuts or nothing at all. People complain, but nothing changes. Professionals are choosing to leave Italy to find better opportunities. Crime is getting worse because the polizia does nothing to the illegals and they continue to commit crime because they are well aware that they will get away with it.

Don't get me wrong, I love Italy. It's absolutely beautiful. I love the culture, the art, the food...etc, but it's just not all it's cracked up to be. I feel so bad when Ale tells me about how he could wait years, even decades and still never advance in his career because he isn't "well connected". What is happening to this country that is so rich in history and art?? How can a country function when they would rather hire the guy who is so and so's cousin, rather than the guy who is actually qualified for the job??

Lately people have been asking me why I don't go to Italy to live with Ale. Well, the answer is simple. What would I do there?? I'm still learning how to speak the language. Ale has a Master's degree in his field and can only get 6 month to 1 year contracts for work. One of which was not renewed for this fall. There are temp agencies here in the U.S. that can do better than that. Ale is frustrated with all the walls he keeps coming up against and it hurts me to see him that way. I would much rather he come here and work to his full capacity. I want to see him get the recognition he deserves. Until things change, I'm staying put and Ale will come here as soon as he possibly can. Maybe in the future, or perhaps for retirement. I don't know, but even with all the political problems we have here in the U.S., it's still going to be a better situation for the both of us.


Romerican said...

You hit the nail on the head! A sad but true description of the state of things in italy nowadays. I have several Italian friends who've moved to USA in search of better job opportunities and they've succeeded! They only return to Italy to visit family & friends, but have NO intention of ever moving back. It kills me to see such an amazing country full of resources going to waste. I've been in Italy for 10 years and have really seen and felt the change, it's not good. People aren't happy with it and quite honestly, I don't think things will be improving any time soon )=

KC said...

Sometimes I do wonder why we stay here. To be honest, as far as my pregnancy experience goes, it is by no means the worst- Michelle of michellanea has really been having a hard time of it. But then there's everything else, too. N has worked for years in his field,but can't find anyone willing to hire him unless he accepts a ridiculously low salary or a short term contract. So he works for a company in which no one is rewarded for hard work- the people who do nothing get the same salary (and respect) as the two or three who actually carry all the weight. He found an opportunity to do some extra freelance work but won't be taking advantage of it because he'd need a partita IVA the taxes are so high that it's not actually worth it. People who have ideas for businesses are impeded byt bureaucracy and red tape. Every aspect of the infrastructure down here where we live is crumbling. It can be very depressing, and like romerican, I don't it getting better any time soon.

Farfallina said...

Yes, probably things wont be getting better any time soon! I'm just preparing myself mentally for it.

Meanwhile, things might work out for me. Med school is free after-all, and I did find freelance work in Italy. The social life style is great! and Rome's living culture, uh la la!

The people. I go there for the balance of culture, education, and people around me. Those who are part of my life on a day to day basis.

Though after 5 or 6 years of living in Rome, I don't expect doors to open for me and I'll have to look elsewhere for my professional life.

It is too sad. Such a beautiful country! Well, the US has a lot of very serious problems, too! We can't have everything, can we?

Kataroma said...

I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that all that "under the Tuscan sun", "dolce vita", relaxed lifestyle stuff is pure Hollywood. It drives me completely bonkers when my friends overseas seem to think that I live in some kind of perma-vacation fantasyland. Unfortunately, Italians are stressed as never before (unless they have permanent contracts!) because the economy and public administration are crumbling.

I've never seen myself as here permanently and I'm not Italian so it's not quite as upsetting for me to see all of this as it is for my Italian friends - but it is sad to see how bad things have gotten here. :(

Elizabeth said...

I am here for the long haul, already 27 years, with two sons and a husband. I have worked full time, part time and been a stay at home mom. All of this as a "dependente", CoCoCo, "a progetti", "occasionale" and under the table. I have seen it all and at 49 have found myself starting over once again and find that none of my experience really counts for much. I have run an office, hired and fired, prepared budgets and marketing plans, held conferences, travelled lots and now get asked if I could "help out" doing airport runs for a pittance. Well, if I am going to work and not get paid, I may as well have fun! So I am writing articles, editing a newsletter, conducting workshops, blogging away and contemplating, what next.
Maybe write a book?

There was an article the other day in the newspaper on the "discouraged worker" -- someone who doesn't even bother to look for work anymore and therefore is not considered unemployed. They just "get by", whole army of university graduates who have dropped out of the job hunt.

While my son enthusiastically starts his studies...

Dame Aurélie said...

Hey Piccola and the others,
Ive just discovered your blog, and Im glad I did. I am a Belgian, living in Italy since July of last year (2007), 50km from Milan. Italian man, of course. I am psychologist, and finding a job here in my field seems impossible. Ive been searching for over a year, Im working as educator, underpaid, contratto a progetto (which gives you, for the ones who aren't familiar with the concept, nothing in means of advantages : no sick leave, no paid holidays, etc. Im -badly- paid for the actual hours I work, knowing that when the kid that I take care of is sick from school, Im not paid of course)
Anyway; Stefano works here in an environmental association, of course him too. The urge to go back to Belgium or to move elsewhere, out of this chaotic country, is growing every day. But Stefano is not very willing to leave hiw country... I don't understand this!! How can you want to stay here, when you know that opportunities are much better elsewhere? leaves me speechless.
I don't think I will stay here much longer. On professional level, it's been nothing but waste of time, unfortunately.
And yes, in, ITaly you eat well, the climate is ok, there are lakes and mountains. But you need more in life.