Getting a Name Sticker / by Brea Persing

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When you are a new arrival to a country, and are there to live rather than just tourism, you quickly find out that you don’t always find things where they normally would be in your home country. 

Let’s take Italy for example, when I first arrived to live there in 2011, I didn’t speak much Italian and I had no idea where to buy things. Thankfully, I had a colleague with me who did speak Italian, but had been in a different city in central Italy. Things change from city to city, just like they would everywhere. 

Well, both of us arrived one day a part from each other and found apartments, owned by the same person, on the same day! It was quite extraordinary. He also turned out to be an AMAZING landlord, which is rare overseas. Ok, so the building we were in had locked doors with call buttons. However unlike in a lot of places, they didn’t have the apartment number on them bell, but our names. Eventually, they would permanently put our names on there, but temporarily we needed to go and buy a sticker to place on there so people would know which button to press.

So the landlord told us what we needed and we set off to find where to get one of these. First we went to the “convenience store”, which is actually called a Tabaccheria. We explained to the man what we needed and he said that he didn’t have anything like that and that we needed to go to another place. So, we set off to go to the other place he told us. There, we told the lady what we needed and she said she didn’t do anything like that and we needed to go to another place. For me, I was getting frustrated. For my colleague, this was normal in Italy, so she was unfazed by it. So we go to the place the lady told us to go. This was place number three, third times the charm, right?! In this case, it was! We described to the man behind the counter what we needed and he said that he could do it! So we wrote down our surnames, he clicked some buttons, and just like that, we had what we needed. If I remember, I think the whole ordeal took a few hours and a couple of miles of walking.

So this is not something that just happens in Italy, but in a lot of places. So next time you’re traveling and need to find something and you go to one place and they don’t have it, then you go to another and they don’t have it, keep trying. You’ll eventually get there. This is normal…especially when it comes to filing important government paperwork, but that also includes a lot of time waiting in line and usually early mornings.