Monday, March 30, 2015

I am a Driver

Alёna's first fillup.Yesterday we went to Petco to get some food and litter for Shublik. And you know who was driving? Me!!! I finally got my driver’s licence!

The lack of driver’s licence was bothering me for years. For some reason I thought that it’ll be close to impossible for me to learn how to drive (kind of like when I was a child I though that I would never learn to light a matchstick or to tell time). My permit expired for the second time over 2 years ago, and I did not even bother to get a new one until this February since I thought there was no point anyhow.

This year, however, my mom decided that the time has come to do something about this situation. She already pushed my sister to get a licence a few years back (and helped to watch the kids during the process, which is considerably more time consuming in Belarus than here). My sister is very happy and loves being at the wheel now.

So my mom said to me:
– Why don’t you try to get a licence while I’m visiting you guys? Even if you won’t be able to get fully ready for the test before I leave, you should at least start taking classes and such.

Old old photograph of Alёna doing some learning.And I thought, why not. I’ll have to do it sooner or later, and obviously, sooner is better. Danya also really wanted me to get a licence for a long time now, so he was all for it.

This conversation took place on Thursday, and I got my permit the following Monday, which was February 9th.

I contacted some of my friends who took driving lessons in the last 5 or so years, and Ignat recommended driving instructor named Oleg. Ignat passed the test on the first try, and so did his friend who recommended Oleg to him, so the stats were in my favor.

I took 12 or 13 lessons with Oleg and practiced 3-4 times with Danya. I have to say that instructor for me was necessary because I had a fear of driving in our regular car with no additional break pedal. Plus, Oleg knew exactly what examiners are looking for on a test and he made sure I learned everything by the book.

Another old old photograph.Oleg recommended to schedule a test in Staten Island instead of Brooklyn. He said that the examiners over there are really fair, and the testing areas are less challenging than in Brooklyn. I followed his advice, but it took me two days of sitting by the computer to actually schedule the test. The places over there disappear quickly and there is very little choice over the date which is open for scheduling at any given time. It happened so that I scheduled the test on the day when my mom was flying back to Belarus. She did not mind.

I was taking the test in Oleg’s car, so he drove me to Staten Island in the morning and we had one last lesson to familiarize with the terrain. The test itself took about 10 minutes. The examiner, a lady in her late 40s, was really nice. She said that I am a bit slow and gave me some points for wide right turn and observation on intersection, but gave me a pass nonetheless. I was so happy, I almost cried!

Now I need to practice. I am a bit nervous when I am at the wheel, but I guess it is normal. Danya says that I seem to make right decisions, but need to work on execution. Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to enjoy driving!

By the way, classes cost $40 an hour, and the car for the test is another $120. Oleg often spent a little over an hour during out classes, which was nice of him.
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