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They’ve been playing 70s and 80s music on Italian radio today, so I’m not really responsible for that title.

But the great news is that I got an email a week ago saying that Pearl was ready to be picked up.  For those of you who don’t know, Pearl is my beloved car. My Scion iQ.  My baby.  And oh how I’ve missed her!


I’ve already told you in the “Shipping My POV” post how I left her on the docks in Baltimore.  Well, technically I left her at the Baltimore Vehicle Processing Center, but whatever.

She was not due to arrive until 15 July, so it was with shock and delight that I read she was here.  I’d been tracking her progress–because of course there’s a website for that:  https://www.pcsmypov.com.

So I followed her trip from the Baltimore docks to the ship bound for Bremerhaven, Germany, and finally on the truck for Aviano.

But of course, you can’t just go get your car and drive it home. No my dears, life in Aviano will never be that simple.  And this, like many other things was a multi-day process.

So when I first got the email, I went straight to Pass and Registration to register my car.  I’d been dragging my feet doing it because for one thing I thought I had time, and for another, it’s a lot like being at the DMV except that for the most part, the folks behind the counters do have better attitudes (here–not at the DMV).

So I signed in and sat down to wait.

(I would strongly advise you to bring a book whenever you have to sign in and wait.  The TV is on but its so far away and you can’t really hear it.)

They called my name and I gathered up my papers and trotted to the counter.  I had with me: the Form 302 that came with the email, a copy of my orders, a copy of my insurance papers, the vehicle inspection form from Baltimore, my AFI License, my stateside license and the vehicle shipping summary (also from Baltimore).  You would probably not be amiss if you bring your birth certificate and a copy of your DNA testing.

**Note: If you own your car, you’ll be expected to bring the title.  I was also supposed to have my stateside registration with me, but I didn’t. I was also supposed to have–and didn’t–the lien letter from the bank (because I’m still buying my car). So the shipping instruction summary came in extra handy because they know if you jumped through the hoops Stateside, that you really are legit.  But by all means, bring every piece of car-related information you have.  It will probably make the process go a bit quicker.

The Airman who was helping me gave me a rather beat up pair of plates when he returned my paperwork to me.  I asked him if I could get a newer set and he said they were all used and in pretty much the same condition.  But not to fear, when I got home, I took a rubber mallet to them to straighten them out a bit. Worked like a charm.  I would encourage everyone to invest in a good rubber mallet.  Seriously.  Sometimes hammers leave a mark.  For some reason, that sounds really bad.

So there was a bit of confusion because since I insure with Geico, apparently they were supposed to reserve some license plates for me.  But they did not.  I also only had one of the two sheets of insurance papers with me.  I had brought the one with the signatures because it seemed the most important.  I think I told you that I’d gotten the insurance before I left the States so I’d be ready.   But I think I could have waited.

I called the Geico agent but didn’t get an answer.  So I drove my rental car (yes, I know what I said about rental cars but I had a change of heart) up to see him and get things sorted out.  Oh yeah–the Airman at the Pass & Reg desk will also give you an appointment time to come back and talk to an Italian clerk in the back who will actually do the registering.

So you have a choice to pay either monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, every six months or for the whole year.  I had planned to pay monthly, but since I had some money in the account, I went ahead and paid for the quarter.  I figured there was no point in getting too carried away. making payments.  I think I mentioned it before but be advised that car insurance here is going to be about double what you pay in the States.  You see my car. It’s tiny and it’s not brand-new.  For June – September, I paid $485.00.

The agent gave me the receipt and I went back for my appointment.  I think I got a little lucky because  their office was closing early for some party so she very quickly rubber-stamped a bunch of papers, had me sign a bunch of forms and sent me on my way.  She told me I’d need to get a safety inspection done on the car in  order to get the fuel ration paperwork. (Yes, more paperwork)

The fuel ration for gasoline or diesel is basically  a government subsidy because fuel here is so expensive.  The amount you get is based on the size of your engine. You have to take the paperwork to the customer service desk in the BX and they will tell you how much you are eligible for.

***I also found out that you can get fuel rations for rental cars, but because I’d already registered my vehicle, I was no longer eligible for that.

Anyway, I drove the car to the safety inspection point and things were going well until I was asked for my vest and warning triangle.  Well, they were at home because I didn’t know I needed them for a vehicle inspection–call me crazy.

So I had to purchase them from the BX and then go back and show them to the inspectors before they’d stamp my inspection checklist as “Passed”.

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**I also keep an emergency car kit with extra mylar blankets, a flashlight, seatbelt cutter and first aid kit, drinking water, hand sanitizer, jumper cables, and a gas can in my car. I know you are thinking “where?” lol  but there’s room.

I do it because in Italy, you are legally obligated to get out and help if you are the first to arrive at the scene of an accident.  So I figure I may as well be prepared.

I think the Pearl is ready to roll.  Have a great Sunday!