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43 steps to relocate to Italy

I will soon complete my 3rd month of having relocated to work and live in Italy, from Singapore/Cambodia, and I don’t think I have fully completed the process yet. Useful for other or not, this piece is written to share about my experience and maybe to also vent my frustration and speechlessness of how “simple” this monkey business can be.

So there you go, a complete, step-by-step guide to moving to Italy, from wherever you might be:

Step 1: Applying for a Work Permit from the Embassy of Italy in Bangkok, which then can issue the Declaration of Values on your documents for you to further proceed.
1.1. Getting your certificate (even in English) translated into Italian and validated/stamped by your country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which involves a few sub-steps for me:
1.1.1.  Mailing my certificate and transcripts to Cambodia (because I didn’t live there).
1.1.2. Finding a translation agency that has Italian under their translation services and whose work is recognized by Italian Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is the because the Ministry doesn’t have the resource to translate a language as common as Italian.
1.1.3. Mailing the finished documents to the Embassy in Bangkok.

Step 2: Applying for a Work Visa from the Embassy of Italy in Singapore, for which, if approved, you get a one-year visa to travel to EU.

Step 3: Travelling to Italy.

Step 4: Applying for the Residence Permit, which involves:
4.1: Showing up at their Prefectura and sign a few things (needs to be facilitated by a specialist consultant in the area)
4.2. Make needed payment at the local Post Office, because it’s not free the above and no government offices will accept any money
4.3: Signing an official employment contract
4.4: Opening a local Italian bank account
4.5: Go to the tax office to register my income tax.
4.6: Wait for your appointment at the Questura (Police Station), Immigration Division and when the time comes, go submit your documents (during working hours) at the Police Station, where you will be reminded (by actions, not verbally) that you are just an immigrant. And then wait to be informed when your card is ready to be picked up.
4.7: For some stupid reason, an additional step came to my plate: something was wrong with the payment I made and there was additional 50 euros that I had to pay, so this involved 2 additional sub steps:
4.7.1: Go to the Questura to understand what payment was missing
4.7.2: After more than an hour of waiting, unable to communicate why I was asked to come back, I was given a piece of paper to carry to the Post Office and make the remaining payment.
4.7.3: Go to the post office and make the payment
4.6.4: Come back to the Police Station and wait to speak to the lady that gave me to paper to pay (it was another hour of standing and waiting).
4.6.5: Hand the receipt of payment to the lady and that’s it.
4.7: Make another journey to queue at the Police Station for the card when it’s ready.
4.8: Go take a Civic Lesson (meant to educate you to be a civilized person suited to live in Italy)

Step 5 (which should happen as early as possible): Look for an apartment to rent:
5.1. Try all possible means to help you in the search because the renting activities in Pordenone where I live is so low: which included asking colleagues for helps and recommendations, searching online and trying making your ways in negotiations with your broken Italian, working with agencies that will charge you more than one month of the rental…etc.
5.2. Once you find one and sign the agreement, register your contract, and then you have to sign up and endure the pain of a few more sub procedures:
5.2.1: Wifi at home, which includes choosing the provider, signing up for one, waiting for a technician to come over and set things up,.. (this alone took me almost one month)
5.2.2: Gas; it can be a completely new contract or a transfer from the pervious tenant.
5.2.3: Electricity; same as gas but a separate process.

Step 6: Apply for your residence card from the local Commune (which is not the residence permit), which involves a few more sub steps:
6.1: Submit all the housing contract, work contract etc, to the Commune.
6.2: Wait for them to perform checks whether I really live in the place that I said I have rented (without any notice of when and how they will do).
6.3: Register my personal tax for garbage, which involves a few more sub steps:
6.3.1: Request an appointment at the tax for gabbage office
6.3.2: Make another visit to another office of GEA (the company that processes garbage), to be educated about how to separate and dispose garbage, get your personal tags, and get garbage bins.

Step 7: Figure out how to go around by bus, bicycle or car. And this for me, involves a few more steps:
7.1. Get a bicycle, because getting a car isn’t so simple.
7.2. Get a car, which involves:
7.2.1. Wait for the residence card to be issued (I’m allowed to drive if I have Cambodia licence plus the residence card)
7.2.2: Finding a car with automatic gear, because most cars in Italy are with manual gear.
7.2.3: Get an Italian driving license because whatever I have now is only valid for one year, Learn Italian so that I can: Take required driving lessons, in order to take a driving exam, which is not available in English, but Italian, German and French.

So these have been a few things I have had to go through to get settled in this country – a land with incredible fame for not only pasta, pizza, history and art, but also bureaucracies. It’s a great training ground for patience and adaptability; I have learned to calm down, take deep breaths and wait for things to slowly fall into places and to laugh at my own frustrating situations.

Other than that, Italy is a heaven for great food, wonderful landscapes of mountains, hills, beaches and rivers, incredible churches, and so much more.

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Fix parenting!

Psychopaths, narcissists, echoists, … are some of the new words I learnt as I read “Rethinking Narcissism” by Craig Malkin. Not a read I couldn’t take my eyes off or I found absolutely enlightening, but I managed to realize and reconfirm some perspectives around working and dealing with people.

Narcissists can be assholes at work – the type that disrupts peace of other people and draws out misery, tensions and conflicts. Psychopaths, the most extreme form of narcissists, can even be dangerous. Echoists, the opposite of narcissists, can be a danger to themselves. A perfect world would be filled with those that falls in between an echoist and a narcissist, but if you have at all lived and interacted with other people, that world is far far far from reality. Some time I doubt if there’s anyone at all being in the middle.

The book gives endless examples and scenarios of someone being a narcissist, an echoist and someone that fall between the two. A portion of the book is also dedicated to parenting and what it has to do with nurturing an echoist, a narcissist or someone inbetween.


Being moderately narcissist is good (i.e. having just a healthy amount of self-esteem, with the willingness and tendency to listen and remain consciously empathetic), but I regard tbeing a far left echoist or far right narcissist as a fault in a human, and parenting was the root cause of that fault. After all, there is only so much a few years at university and some other years of good education do, when the majority and the most critical phase (early childhood) of our growth period was most the direct production of our family and its parenting. That production was not, unfortunately, reversible; whatever comes with it will stay with us for the rest of our lives, whether or not we like it.

To fix a country like Cambodia, where a research say about 1 in 4 person has some sort of mental disorder, parenting, I believe, is one of the culprits. And if we look beyond Cambodia, amidst all the craziness, either at the scale of office politics and common asshole behaviours or at the scale of racism, religious clashes, and  terrorism, parenting is still one of the key perpetrators.

Humans are powerful. We are inventors, we are creators, we are the miracles, but we are also destructors. We are not just one of those unconscious animals; we are uniquely different. And that unique difference, that power comes with responsibility. The responsibility to not just mate and reproduce, but also to properly raise our offsprings.

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What’s a Happy Future to me?

Yesterday’s evening, I managed to participate in the Singapore Night Festival – an annual event that I really applaud the Singapore government for doing. The whole thing was just really artsy, happening, and best of fall, free.

Anyway, this post is not really about the festival and how awesome the government of Singapore is. I was really tempted to write about my experience when I was visiting Genesis – an exhibition of a wonderful collection of black-and-white photos about different places and people across the world. Although in black and white all the photos were really awakening; they are stunning and breath-taking and they got me to realize a type of happiness, which I would really dream to live my life for.


As I gazed at each still image of different places (some looking unearthly, magic, and weirdly awesome), I felt a surge of inexplicable emotion, something between peaceful, curious, baffling, and longing. I want to be there, standing in the position of those lucky and awesome photographers and viewing those awesomeness of the world, with my own naked eyes. What if I could spent at least 1 hour in each of those places laying on my back and breathing in, breathing out its air while staring lazily into those stunning scenarios? What if I could live to do that in all places featured in that collection? I say, that’s happiness. I say, that’s the dream of my life.

At that moment, I’ve decided to work my ways to manage to spend at least a few years living in each continent – a few years in Europe, a few years in Americas, a few years in Africa, a few years in the middle east, a few years in the Pacific. Will I be able to do that? I hope I will.

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