2 February 2007.
After six nights, no more hotel life for a while. I will spend the next three weeks at the place I found, before moving to another one. This first one is not perfect, but I have nothing to complain about. (Well, if you know me you know I always have something to complain about, but let’s not get into that.) But the place I will be moving to is much better.
I have never had roommates in my life, and now all of a sudden I have five: four girls and one guy. They all seem like good people, and it will be easy to live with them. There are two Austrian girls, a Swiss and a French girl, and a Greek guy. Apart from the conversations between the three native German speakers the common language of the apartment is Italian, which is a good thing. Because they have been here already for a while, they all speak better Italian than I do, which is also a good thing.
Having to speak Italian regularly will help me learn, but it will not help me integrate myself to Florentine life. I would like to know local people as well, not just exchange students. This will be easier once the spring term begins and I get to talk to Italian philosophy students. Making a friend or two in the city would be fantastic, and a good way to avoid falling into the kind of parasitical existence that is common to exchange students. It is too easy to live with and hang around fellow foreigners, retain the mores of one’s own culture, and in general live in a new and different environment without really being part of it in any meaningful way. I have no delusions about becoming a Florentine in five months, but I think it is enough time to adopt a new set of daily routines. And that is much easier when you are in regular contact with someone whose life is already organized around those routines.
After what was hopefully the only major bureaucratic hurdle of my trip, I now have a residence permit. It took me slightly less than three hours of standing in lines with quite a few Romanian jobseekers, trying to get my hands on the necessary forms, and trying to understand how to fill them out. I guess it’s necessary to take this as an educational experience, and actually I am glad that they accepted my application right away and that I don’t have to go back there to stand in lines anymore.