Girl in Florence aka Georgette Jupe

I started this blog as a writing outlet for me to share what it is I adore about the beautiful city of Florence and Italy also sharing travel tips and stories along the way. Now 'Girl in Florence' includes advice for Florence, artisan features, interviews with locals, tips for life in Italy and travel posts from all over Europe. I'd love to think of myself as a fearless badass but If I am keeping it 100% real on this blog a quote that I sort of live by is"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

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“Can You Get Me A Visa?”

18.07.2014 16 Comments

“Can You Get Me A Visa?”

18.07.2014 16 Comments

This week C.O.S.I blogger roundtable focuses on crazy comments we regularly receive or see online, which is why the featured image happens to be a spritz from the Mozzarella bar, we all need a drink to read this post.  Being that we as foreigners, have made our home in another country and happen to be pretty public about it. It’s absolutely natural (and mostly welcome – you can contact me for example at ggncally84 [at] hotmail [dot] com – my contact form is a little wonky at the moment) to get emails from people who have questions about life in Italy. If you have had trouble reaching me as of late, I apologize, with moving the blog over to a new platform, obviously working through all of the bugs and tech mess is a little crazy. But if you email me via the address above, I will get back to you.

I honestly read every email and try to answer when I can, I really do! I remember being in that dark place long ago, not knowing how to make living in Italy a reality though I didn’t know the wonderful world of blogging like I do now. I know I asked all sorts of people for advice but I also took it upon myself to do a lot of research without expecting someone else to do it for me. I’ve definitely gotten my fair share of random emails, one claimed to be my soul mate, one wanted me to find and buy their entire group Italian phone sim cards (what?).

‘Can You Get Me A Visa’ 

When I get emails basically asking for an easy 10-step ‘how to get a visa’ email or even worse ‘how to get a job without a visa {which isn’t legal} it does bristle me a bit. Also because I have written a few blogs posts touching on this subject to give people my viewpoint on the famous process of the permesso di soggiorno, example one (permesso di soggiono, my experience)  and two (how to survive your next permesso di soggiorno renewal) and three resources for expats and immigrants.

I would like to introduce the question askers to the Georgette of 2008-2010, the one that was going through hell and back to get the legal right to stay here without having to be a student (see the bad blond dye-job below). She wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around, prone to nervous breakdowns and crying fits that often had a ‘why me’ spin to it. I shudder sometimes at those memories and thankfully like is pretty awesome now.

Seriously no one helped me with this, I really had to do everything on my own, with the help of my ex-boyfriend and his wonderful family. When I asked other Americans, they sort of giggled and said ‘good luck’ thinking I would be on the next plane back to Texas. The carabinieri in front of the Questura in Florence actually recommended that I ‘get pregnant’ or ‘married’ which is indeed the easiest way to get a visa here. Um, not thanks! The reason why I don’t openly recommend people to do the exact same process as I did —  is because frankly I just don’t know if most people have it in them to go through the craziness that I did or if I had to do it again, would I? Obviously getting a job and visa in Italy isn’t impossible for a non-EU citizen, but it’s an extremely masochistic process and then for what kind of job? Unemployment in Italy is very high and the jobs available are pretty crappy. Long hours, bad pay unless you get an elite job that almost don’t exist because people [smartly] never leave them.

The answer that I give people is always the same. The best way to live & work in Italy is to come for a one-year student visa, learn the language (which yes you have to if you have any hope at all at surviving happily in Italy) and work part-time. The easiest jobs to get are teaching English and nannying. We all did it, it’s almost a passage of rights in Italy for native-English speakers even if I question it a tad. More so because teaching is a very real (and hard) job and shouldn’t just be somebodies back-up plan, it does a disservice to them and to the student, let’s get real here – just because your fluent in the language doesn’t mean your adept at teaching it. A year is a good amount of time to dedicate your dream and see if this is really the life you want to live. If you can get a job transfer or work remotely, allowing your company to help you with the visa – even better!

I would sadly say that most people I meet who come here end up eventually leaving if they aren’t married to an Italian (and even sometimes if they are) because financially it’s so difficult to survive. At least two of my good friends have left in the past year or two, living in Florence can mean saying an endless amount of goodbyes. Hence why many Italians say at home until they get a good job/married and sometimes not even after that. After all, they call the latest group of Italian youngsters the ‘1,000 euro generation’ to exemplify just how much you can expect to earn even with a decent education. A lot of us freelance for a reason, usually because we have to.

If you do manage to get a work visa, like I did than bravo! You did it! Like I said, it’s not impossible just improbable. I feel a bit like obi wan kenobi when I tell people I have one ;-). On a side note, trying to live and work in Italy without a visa questions are just straight up annoying. This isn’t 1985 when people might have looked the other way, do you really want to have a heart attack every-time you see a police officer on a train? Plus you are in for a real ‘treat’ if you leave the Schengen Zone where they often ask you for visa papers, it’s basically like playing Russian Roulette, nobody wins, especially not you.

twice

To attest to how awkward a time 2008 in Italy was, I share a time I thought I actually thought blond hair looked good on me 

 

 Can You Plan My Italy Vacation

The great thing about Google is that all you have to do is type a word in a search box and tons of results related to that word show up. Sometimes I get emails that basically ask me to plan their entire trip as if I had an extra 3 hours that day to dedicate to their travel plans. Sadly, it’s already a lot to keep up with this blog, which is not my primary job but my passion. 90% of emails I get from people are great! In fact I started Girl in Florence to provide tips and advice to others looking to travel to Florence and beyond. I will give you restaurant recommendations, hotel recommendations, but plan a whole trip —  not gonna happen. I do think there are still travel planners out there who will be more than happy to do so with a fee of course ;-). I do sometimes get invites to join people on their vacations in Florence for a drink or dinner which if I can, sometimes do, I actually love meeting new people. But if it’s a guy who just happened to see the ‘ girl in Florence’ title he’s really thinking ‘is a girl in Florence ‘cough couch’ available for a night – no thanks!

***

Most of the emails that I get are great, I have teared up at some of the nice comments people have written to me. Thank you so much for that, I honestly never expected that this blog would ever get more followers than my immediate family and I truly humbled. I always get a little shock of excitement every time I get a new comment on one of my posts :). Despite what can honestly seem like a rant above, this was the blogger round-table topic of the week and I do love getting your emails and questions and if you have some cool article ideas you think would be neat, send them to me.

Plus if you are a blogger, share your story! What kinds of crazy emails or comments do you regularly get? 

To see more posts from other crazy stranieri in Italy (We started out own group and yes, we are kinda proud!) check out these posts:

‘It Really Is C.O.S.I’ – Married to Italy

‘Blogging about Italy is Hilarious: Comments, Emails & Humans’  – Surviving in Italy

‘Freakonomics Italian Style‘ – Rick’s Rome

How Not to make friends in a foreign country‘ – The Florence Diaries

Quirky Questions about life in Italy‘ – Unwilling Expat

‘Best Email Ever Received’  – Englishman in Italy

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GirlInFlorence

Georgette Jupe is a 'Tuscan Texan' digital social media marketing maven based in Florence, Italy. When she's not at her day job as social media manager and content editor at ITALY Magazine, she's creating social strategies for international clients and providing travel, foodie & life tips via her blog 'Girl in Florence'. Hobbies include plenty of reading, hiking, beagle cuddles, the hunt for the 'perfect' Moscow mule and laughs with the girls.

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16 Comments

  • Avatar
    saretta 18.07.2014 at 11:48

    The question that irritates me most is when people ask me to translate something for me from Italian to English. That is my second job (I am living proof that one job is not enough in Italy!), but the people asking 1) assume that it will be easy for me, even if it is book-length, or an archaic document in a form of Italian that basically no longer exists; and, worse yet, 2) have no idea that being a translator is an actual career, with a cost, and not just something I will do for them “as a favor”. Even those people willing to pay “something” have no idea of the amount of work that goes into a professional translation, nor its dollar/euro value – ugh!
    p.s. Love your blog 🙂

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 18.07.2014 at 12:10

      OMG I know exactly how you feel, I have so many Italian friends who think nothing of asking me to do ‘quick’ translations and I am no expert like you. I normally don’t mind if it’s a few words but sometimes it’s just the aggressiveness that gets to me. ‘Did you get my email???!!!!!’ ‘Can you send this to me asap?”’ it’s a little unbelievable :/. Thanks for checking out my blog, I really appreciate it!

  • Avatar
    Diana 18.07.2014 at 13:46

    First of all….the suggestions of the Carabinieri are HILARIOUS! Sorry….I guess they were probably not that funny to you at the time…but “get pregnant?” ha ha, ha….gosh that had me laughing.

    And about the comments above? I have to tell you my Italian is limited (mainly because I am speaking English 90% of the day) but yet somehow, the Italians are asking me to do the same thing! Even my kid’s speech therapist. She asked me to translate her medical term paper for university?!?! I did it, it took days. Then…ha ha, ha…get this – – – a month later, asked me to do her co-worker’s paper too! UGG!!! What nerve!

    ANYWAY…….congrats on all of your accomplishments…and your site looks great!

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 18.07.2014 at 15:52

      Diana you are too nice, someone asked you to translate her medical term paper? What??? Sadly that doesn’t surprise me very much.. did she pay you to do it? As Italians say VERGOGNA if not, I would never ask someone to do that! Thank you so much – I’ve been working hard at the site, I’m glad you like it!

      • Avatar
        Diana 18.07.2014 at 18:33

        No..she did not pay me. It was ok…..more WEIRD than anything. And then, this woman was older than me…..and my kid’s speech therapist, so I felt kind of obligated. Anyway….it is like that sometimes….she fixed my kid…ha ha, ha…so at least that good came out of it! 🙂

        Anyway..have a great weekend!

  • Avatar
    Ali 18.07.2014 at 14:50

    ‘Texan keeping it real in Italy’ preach it sister! Come on peeps do your own research, plus it’s fun 😉

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 18.07.2014 at 15:51

      Absolutely, I have so much fun researching travel, in fact I procrastinate at work by doing so hehe (don’t tell anyone)

  • Avatar
    Rickf 18.07.2014 at 17:32

    Georgette, spot-on, as always. It’s SO much harder than people want to believe. And just when you think you’ve “won,” another obstacle comes along to challenge your patience and love for humanity. Is it all worth it? Yes, I think it is…as I know you do, too. But “Would I do it again?” is a more complicated question. Great post and very useful, too.

  • Avatar
    Diana 18.07.2014 at 18:37

    PS – – that hair color! What a dare devil you are! I would never have the guts to try blonde. ALTHOUGH…I have been putting blue manic panic color in my hair all day trying to cut the HORRIBLE orangey brown color I have….so maybe there is a little dare devil in me after all. It seemed to work! Now I have mousy brown. Still – – better mousy than orangey

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 18.07.2014 at 18:40

      I think I was sick of people at the time telling me that I should always stick to brown so I went platinum blond to ‘rebel’ if you can call it that. My hair is now a combination of browns and reds which is easy to maintain and has some pretty highlights in the summer :). I’m sure your hair looks better than you think! What color were you going for?

      • Avatar
        Diana 18.07.2014 at 19:02

        Well….. I just want my natural, light brown hair color back. Light brown, with some highlights that come every summer as you mentioned. But the problem is, I had to start coloring the grey. So, it would either come out almost black, or if I go to light, orangey. That brassy, orange color – – real brassy. I have tried EVERYTHING…and I mean right down to food coloring. Going to the salon was not any better, they would just cover up the orange, and once again, I was suck with the Morticia look. The manic panic did the trick. YAY. Again, it is not my dream color, but at the moment I am not Morticia nor do I have those harsh brassy tones.

  • Avatar
    Kaley 18.07.2014 at 19:18

    “Can you get me a visa?” Now that is crazy … I’ve never had that exact question. I have had people asking me exactly how they can get a visa without paying anything and basically just wanting to be an English teacher, and there is no answer to that. Sometimes I don’t respond, and I feel bad, but there is no easy solution. I just need to write up a form email for those people. Maybe that’s being a bad blogger, though …

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 18.07.2014 at 19:45

      Normally the people ask me the form of question you are referring to, I usually have an email response for most but than sometimes the questions are just so specific and time consuming, plus its hard to really give proper advice because our situations are so difference. Plus I’m not sure someone could get a work visa the same way I did. I think the right thing to do is have a couple of links to relevant posts/info and when you have time answer a bit more (more or less what I try and do).

  • Avatar
    Cassandra 19.07.2014 at 16:19

    Asking a specific visa question is one thing, but asking you to get it for them?? I’d like to think that this comment alone sparked the latest C.O.S.I. discussion!

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 19.07.2014 at 19:31

      Yeah I’ve gotten some crazy emails about visas, I actually do my best and try to answer and help but as I mentioned before, everyone’s situation is very different..

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    About Me

    About Me

    Hi There!

    Ciao, I'm a curious American "Tuscan Texan" who calls Florence, Italy home for the past 11 years. I am the editor at Italy Magazine and I also work as an established digital social media marketing strategist (5+ years) as well as a freelance writer. My bylines have appeared in Lonely Planet, Luxos Magazine, and International Living. This blog is my way to share what life is like living and working abroad, as well as provide up-to-date true advice on traveling and living in Italy, weekend trips around Europe, and a monthly roundup of interesting events. I'm married to a wonderful Frenchman and we have a Florentine beagle who rules the household. Keep in touch with our adventures with your favorite glass of franciacorta or espresso!

    Georgette

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