Married To An Italian: The Revelations Of A Russian Woman

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Married To An Italian: The Revelations Of A Russian Woman
Married To An Italian: The Revelations Of A Russian Woman

Video: Married To An Italian: The Revelations Of A Russian Woman

Video: Expats talk about their experience of living with a RUSSIAN 2022, December

KV continues a series of publications in which compatriots who have left for one reason or another to other countries talk about their life abroad.


Our interlocutor Oksana left Russia for Italy two decades ago. And then, together with her family, she moved from the warm Apennine peninsula to rainy Holland. So what are the pros and cons of life under the Italian sky? Do the stereotypical ideas about Italians correspond to reality? And what are the Russians missing in the Apennines?

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It all started when I worked for an Italian company in Moscow. Italy has always attracted my attention: art, climate, sea and great Italian films! At first, there was a general interest, which later acquired specific outlines. She began to learn the language and visited Italy several times. Then, with the help of mutual acquaintances, I was lucky to meet my future husband. It was 20 years ago. We met in June, in August we realized that we could no longer exist without each other, and in December we got married.

We had a wedding in Italy. In addition to a conscious decision, in a sense, we were driven by the rules that were in force at that time: without obtaining a residence permit it was impossible to live there, we had to periodically return to Russia to apply for a visa, and so on. By getting married, we got rid of these problems.

I received a residence permit and after six months of residence I could apply for Italian citizenship. They gave it to me after a year and a half.

I remember the first time I flew on a charter flight to Italy and went to Rome. And when I was going there, at the travel agency I asked to tell about Italy, about Italians. And the young man who arranged the trip says: "They are all terrible liars!"

A very encouraging description! In fact, this is not true. Of course, there are Italians who, in order to achieve some of their desires, can completely charm you with their eloquence, ability to care and unsurpassed temperament. This is the very first impression that made it possible to create a stereotypical portrait of Italians. And no matter how tempting and charming he may be, he does not quite correctly describe the real Italians to us. Most of them are decent and well-mannered people. At least my personal experience allows me to think so.

And despite the fact that not so many Italians have a higher education, the difference in educational level does not affect the individual. Their university is an additional stage of education, where they go if they really like any subject. But when graduates receive only secondary education, they are already formed people who have completed a very long course of the school curriculum, which is enough to be an interesting person.

Freedom of choice comes at a price

How does the educational system in Italy work? You don't have to take your child to kindergarten, but school is compulsory. The first five years - elementary school, then three years of secondary school and another five years of the lyceum. Only 13 years old.

Not everyone enters the lyceum, although, of course, parents try to set their children up for a complete secondary education. There are different types of lyceums, for example, scientific, classical. There are language and art lyceums.

There is a technical institute-lyceum (it cannot be said that this is fully consistent with the Russian technical school, this is a high-level educational institution where specialties are also taught).

Now the trend is that after graduating from a technical institute, you can find a job faster. And there is a type of lyceum that trains employees of hotels, the tourism industry and public catering, and it is considered to be of a lower level than the rest.

The scope of the school curriculum in Italy is much wider than we had in the Soviet school.But Italian teenagers do not have such a desire, as in Russia, to know a lot of things. Therefore, on the one hand, you are taught a lot of things. On the other hand, there is a lack of desire for knowledge among schoolchildren, which can be explained by the slowdown in economic growth in the country and the difficulties of subsequent professional incarnation.

But still, if parents manage to interest their children in their studies, then those Italian schoolchildren can be envied. Because high school in Italy gives a very high level of knowledge. By my example, I can say: we taught at school, taught - and then quickly forgot everything. My husband still remembers everything he learned at school. Maybe it's the teaching methods. Or the fact that several school subjects are interconnected - and all this settles better in the head.

But if in Russia mathematics and physics are popular, there is a big competition for universities in these areas, then in Italy they are not at all in vogue. In universities, for example, a student going in these areas is paid a scholarship. And in other faculties, the student has to pay.

Education in Italy is relatively paid. There are private, more prestigious universities, which require a lot of money to study. But any person can enter state universities without entrance exams. Payment depends on family income.

On the basis of the document on the financial situation of the family, the tuition fee is determined. Those who have a low income - it is enough to pay a fee of about 500 euros per year for admission to the university. And those who have more income, they pay more. In any case, these are not some unattainable amounts.

Parents are always happy to help their children learn. But a lot of students drop out already in the first year of study. The system is such that everyone should be responsible for their own program. Everyone has it individually, there is no exams for the whole group, you can take one exam a year, you can not take it for several years, and then pass everything at once. Freedom of choice comes at a price - students are on their own. And it seems to me that it is very important when you try to keep up with the team.

Whoever wants will always find

When I moved to Italy, I got used to the new reality remarkably. At first impressions, I remember, I was surprised that I did not meet any negative attitude, no racism. Curiosity and interest on the part of Italians - it was. And all the time I thought: “Lord! This is an oasis for mental liberation! A relaxation area to calm my head and make me happy!"

Italians are very open-minded, friendly and cheerful. They will always help if necessary. There were no problems at all. I seriously took up the study of the language, attended Dante Alighieri's courses. The Italian language is very melodious. This vowel-consonant alternation makes pronunciation easier. You start talking - and you want to go on and on. My teacher in the courses, Claudia, explained in any way. And it was so new for me that the teacher can sit on the table and show that the folds of the skirt are this, and fold these very folds in front of the bag. She was young, with two small children who were ill endlessly, but she put all her energy into teaching us, visitors from different countries.

The first months after the move, I really wanted to sleep - apparently, it was still the stress of the move. But in general, I felt great. After all, my husband is Italian, and I did not have to work my way from scratch.

Of course, Italy has a sunny climate, the sea is not far away. And the warmth envelops you around, you feel it with your skin. But in winter it's another matter. Italy has a different humidity. Everyone told me: "You came from Russia, why are you freezing here?" And I was cold. I remember going to the movies: everyone was sitting normally, but I had to wrap myself up in a coat, draw my legs in - it's cold. In Italy, you need to open windows every day, ventilate, otherwise moisture builds up, windows sweat.

What about employment? When I moved to Italy 20 years ago, the situation was different. In addition, a lot depends on the region. In the north of the country it is quite easy to find a job and now it seems to me. But, most likely, this will not be a qualified job (you need to re-enter the university, take some subjects, although those who set a goal, enter, pass what is needed, write a thesis - and go ahead). Whoever wants will always find. But if you do not go through the diploma again, then you will have to confine yourself to the simple work of a nanny, a servant, a cleaner; this work is also respected and no one will reproach you.

But, unfortunately, now in Italy there is a crisis, and Italians are trying to hold on to work. They want to have a permanent job with a guaranteed salary. And they are ready to go to work that does not correspond to their education. My husband's sister graduated from the university, where she studied botany, was a research assistant, then a competition was announced for the position of a teacher helping children with incomplete development, and she became a teacher, forgot about her scientific activities.

In Florence, where I lived until recently, it was difficult to find a job, but in Rome there are more opportunities

In Italy, the entire economy was built on small and medium-sized businesses. These are private firms that were run by the owners, small shops, craft workshops, in which the owners themselves worked and cleaned there, and brought the goods. And now the trend towards globalization has led to the fact that many of them have closed. Many have lost their jobs due to the fact that production was transferred to China, Ukraine, to other countries, but did not replace the gap with another industry.

If we talk about looking for a job in Italy, then it is easier to create your own company there than to find someone who would take you. It is not difficult to create a company, you are given a flag in your hands, but here you yourself have to calculate what kind of business it is, how much the premises will cost and what the income will be. There is also insurance in case of failure. In recent years, in the area in Florence where we lived, many small shops have opened, owned by young entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs, apparently taking advantage of the state program under which young entrepreneurs can work under a special tax system. If you start your own business before the age of 35, then the first five years you can pay minimum taxes. Unfortunately, all of these new stores have closed.

In general, the middle class is becoming impoverished in Italy - this is a bad indicator.

My house and my parents' house

With housing in Italy, things are pretty good. Maybe because the population is not that big. And, as a rule, each family owns an average of a couple of houses: one in the city, the other in the mountains or by the sea. Previously, the Italians had mainly domestic tourism. My husband's parents bought a summer cottage in the mountains at one time and went only there on vacation, no foreign countries. So many have second homes. Now many have begun renting out second homes for a short period.

Unlike in Russia, here, if the house is the parent's, they call it that, they don't say: "This is my house." They say that this is the home of the parents. Many, of course, rented apartments for various reasons: someone did not want to get attached, someone had to move around at work.

It is easy to find an apartment for rent. Another thing is that not everyone can afford the cost.

Now, due to the crisis, banks have begun to lower interest rates on mortgages and the demand for housing has grown. Now the mortgage percentage is 2.5. And fifteen years ago it was 12%, then 8%. Many of my acquaintances just then bought housing on a mortgage and are still paying it, in addition, property prices fell due to the crisis. Now, due to the fact that the percentage has been lowered, it turns out that you pay the same amount for a mortgage as for renting a house. Therefore, people prefer to buy. But not everyone is given a mortgage, banks require a guarantee from the employer.

There is also social housing: the state rents an apartment for, say, 100 euros per month.And no one can take this apartment away, it can be transferred to children. But this apartment cannot be sold. Of course, it is not easy to get it, there is a long queue for such housing, it is located in not the most prosperous areas.

In Italy, people prefer to have their own car, as public transport is not very well developed. In some cities it is better, in some it is worse. In Florence, for example, you could do without a car. But if on weekends you want to travel outside the city, then it is more profitable to buy a car, because travel on the train is expensive. Especially if you get out somewhere with the whole family.

In addition, Italy is a car manufacturer, and manufacturing firms are interested in sales. And at one time, public transport was even squeezed in order to sell more cars. In a sense, it still exists today.

Bicycle transport in Italy is developing funny: in Florence, several companies offer to rent bicycles: you pay with your phone and go, and then you leave it. As a result, there are many abandoned bicycles. There are not enough tracks for them. I don’t know how in northern Italy, but it’s dangerous to ride a bike in Florence. Many people ride mopeds - this is a classic!

Young, not infantile

Italians always know who is from where - from the north or south of the country. Gives out accent. Sometimes some bias is possible. But this can only be expressed as a joke.

The whole industry is concentrated in the north of Italy, and people from there sometimes say that the southerners do not want to work. But in the south there is agricultural land where everything is grown - from tomatoes to oranges and lemons. And by virtue of the tax system, the owners of these plantations are forced to hire immigrants who are not kept in the best conditions, they are paid very little.

The result is a division into the industrial north, where all turnover is concentrated, and the agricultural south, while agriculture could never compete with industry in turnover, investment, etc.

Often southerners try to move north. The Lega Nord (League of the North) party, which gained significant weight in the last elections, says: "Everything works in the north, why should we pay taxes to the treasury and support this south?"

The problem is that they complain that the north works to the south, while in the south the money goes into whose pocket it is not clear. In the south, the question of the correct distribution of investments is still acute because of the sad legacy of the Italian mafia.

There is a demographic crisis in Italy. Fewer children are born every year. There are, of course, small additional payments for children, but they are so small that it would never occur to anyone that they can have a child without having a stable income. (For comparison: in Holland, the less parents earn, the more child benefits are allocated to them.) Italians who do not have a stable income do not create a family.

And of course, independent and emancipated Italian women have long learned to use contraception. Children are born by the age of forty, often at the limit when it is necessary to decide: either now or never. And the poor woman with her maternal instinct decides to take this step. And in general, there are few children in Italy, despite the fact that the attitude towards children is very good: they are loved, entertained in all sorts of ways, kiss and hug very warmly.

And Italians who live with their mother until the age of forty are not a myth, but a reality. Because life is good with my mother. Mom will take care, feed, wash and will not create many problems. If a girl comes to a man, mom can go for a walk. All intimate relationships are perceived as a normal and natural need and a happy pastime.

There is no conflict between generations (as in Russia, where young people want to leave their parents because they are not well together) in Italy. Often, on the contrary, they do not want to leave, because it is good with mom.Parents, of course, want their children to start a family, but there is no such race: they say, you are thirty years old, and you are not married! There is no such thing for a mother to start looking for a bride for her son. And then, Italians continue to be young and mature. Precisely young, not infantile.

Excessive interest in cuisine has become a pathology

What I lacked in Italy was good Russian fun! From student life with parties and discos I plunged into family life. And many Italians perceive the same discos as something not for dancing, but for transgression, for looking for adventure, for looking for intimate relationships. Of course, for very young people this is entertainment, but for older people it often does not end well.

Of course, involuntarily, I often compared: "But here it is so and so" After all, my whole life was in Russia.

There was not enough Russian winter, division into seasons. You wait, you wait in Italy for winter, and her - once! - and no.

There were, of course, not enough friends and relatives. But in general, I felt good in Italy. You quickly get used to good things.

In Italy, Russian girls are of great interest: they all seem to be long-legged blondes with blue eyes. They do not expect them to be thin - this is not approved by Italians. They think, to be interesting, a woman should be in the body! And thinness is a disease and an abnormality.

The Russians could learn from the Italians, oddly enough, calmness. They have a more balanced state of mind (perhaps due to wealth).

It is customary for Russians to ask friends for something, to strain someone all the time. The Italians, on the other hand, taught me to solve my problems on my own, not hoping for the help of my friends: it is inconvenient to ask someone. If you need to go somewhere, it is considered inconvenient to ask someone for a ride just because they have a car. Maybe he has nothing to do, and it will be nice to give him a lift, but it is not customary to ask for it. Despite the fact that Italians are very sympathetic and good-natured, they have this: do not strain.

It would be worth learning from Italians and their healthy cuisine. They use a lot of vegetables and fruits, little fat. But this excessive interest in cuisine in Italy has become some kind of pathology. This is the first topic for conversation and discussion. In Russia, I remember, they talked about literature, philosophy, science.

The Italians could learn from the Russians the desire of women to dress beautifully and brightly: Italians look elegant, but they wear black - maybe because this color suits them.

One can envy Russian handicrafts - in Italy all this remained in the last century, but this is part of the culture and skills.

There are still no such vast forests in Italy where you can pick both mushrooms and berries without a special certificate. In Russia, the forest is a common good, not private property!

Italy may also strongly envy the desire of Russian schoolchildren to study at universities!

Last year my whole family decided to move from Italy to Holland. Partly because of the rise in career levels, partly because of the introduction of children to the international mindset, and, of course, because of the rise in the standard of living. The solution was easy: we did not anticipate all the difficulties we encountered here! At first we traveled a lot in Europe.

We liked Germany, England, the Netherlands. We were attracted by the fact that economic development is taking place in these countries, there is no stagnation, everything works, everything functions, that the local youth find work after university. Of course, Italy has an incomparable climate, you feel at home.

The first months in Holland we had euphoria - everything was interesting, we liked everything. But after the first vacation, when we went to Italy, my husband began to feel nostalgia. First of all, friends. Feels like home. There is no such thing that you can go to a bar with a friend, have an aperitif, and at the same time meet someone else. This feeling is dear to us, and it will probably take a long time before we begin to feel at home here. Nevertheless, we decided to move because of the children.I don't want children to pay off the debts of the politicians of the past. But that's a completely different story.

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