Author: Yellow Duckie
I discovered that the best time to be in Rome for Shoppers is August. It only takes one word to justify why I say that: SALES. As much as I tried to reap the harvest of this season, I did not actually have the luxury of time as this is actually a business trip.

The highlight of this trip was actually my adventure in some official dealings I had to do in Rome. The last time when I was here for pleasure, I did not recall that I had such a tough time getting about and that English is not widely spoken here.

I need to get a Fiscal Codice and it has proven to be harder than I can imagine because no one at the Agenzia speaks English! Guessing from the cute little Italian man’s hand gesture, I knew I had printed out an invalid form. As he rattles away in Italian, I knew I was in for a long ordeal.
Thank God for angels like Mauro and his mum who spoke little English but good enough for us to communicate. They informed me that I will need to photocopy the required documents and offer to take me in their tiny car to photocopy shop. They even paid for the photocopy. They were really helpful and I was glad that the big part of my ordeal they were there with me.

The ordeal at the Agenzia did not stop after I got the required documents photocopied, in fact, it has just begun. After standing in line for almost 90 mins, I realized that the number which I took was not for the application of the fiscal Codice. Mauro rescued me by giving me his number and I thought it was done. However, when it was my turn (finally), the officer had so much problem with my Cognome (Surname/Lastname) and my nome (other name).

The language barrier makes it even tougher as by that time Mauro and his mum has left and no one in the Agenzia could actually speaks English. For half an hour, the officer refuse to get the Fiscal Codice done for me as in the passport, my Cognome (Surname/Lastname) comes in between my First name and my other names (in the usual arrangement of a Chinese Malaysian name) where else, in the form when I fill it in, it appears that the Last name is well, appears last. I showed her my Swedish visa which was written with my last name in the end but still she had so much doubt saying that it is not the same. I was speechless, I wasn’t sure if she wanted me to change my Cognome to solve the problem. Her argument was that it would be questionable as it is not the same but I knew it’s a small matter as how could I change my Cognome??

When she finally she did give me the fiscal codice, I held on to the fiscal codice like a piece of deed to a diamond mine. She did however did it with much reluctance and warned me that that if it was being questioned, she will not be responsible (my interpretation from the sign language she was showing me).

Lesson learnt: Learn Italian.
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