Yes, I feel like I’m sixteen again….because I have a driver’s permit and get to take driving lessons.
I went through all this at sixteen. My high school required every student to take a full semester of driver’s education, complete with classroom work, a driving range on campus, and on the road driving. And I did very well – if not with an A, at the lowest, a solid B.
But that means squat in Ireland. I get to do it all over again. And then take a driving test to get my full license.
Now, if I was from another EU country, I could just transfer my driver’s license over. But a U.S. license doesn’t transfer. The only perk we have is getting time off the waiting list if we fax over our driving records (otherwise, we have to wait six months before we’re allowed to take the final test.)
It’s all just a bit annoying.
The plus side is…um…well, I know obscure driving practices in two countries! And my permit is considered a form of identification, so I no longer have to carry my passport around to prove who I am (which always made me nervous – I’m always certain that my purse will be snatched only when I’m carrying my passport.) And I’ll learn more ways around the area – instead of constantly getting lost or accidentally discovering a new way to go. And maybe I’ll lose my anxiety about parking in very narrow spaces.
I will say – I am a much more aware driver here in Ireland. You never know when a bicyclist will appear next to your car, or someone will jaywalk, or you have to squeeze your way through a narrow street. That said, I feel like a worse driver than before, as things like parking on sidewalks, driving on sidewalks, driving on the wrong side of the street to get around a car parked oddly…it really isn’t so much driving as doing this really intricate dance with your car through traffic.
It really is an experience!