Monday, December 12, 2011

License to Drive

When I say license to drive I'm not referring to the C rated 80's comedy, I'm referring to myself.  I have an American driving license and I have a Dutch license to drive scooters (aka brommers/snorfiesten), but I am still not legally allowed to drive a car on Dutch roads.  Periodically over the years I have tried to convince the Dutch system to transfer my American license over but they refuse (probably a good thing).  So now after living here over 8yrs I have finally decided to attempt to get a Dutch driving license, which is no small feat.  They first take you out for 30 minutes just to see what you're even capable of; apparently I sent the wrong message because the instructor recommended a small package of just over 20 lessons.  But once I actually started taking the lessons (2 hours once a week) my new instructor quickly realized I was going to need more lessons than my package provided.  You'd think getting behind the wheel again would be easy, I drove from 17-21yrs old, and I even had my own car for 3yrs, but it wasn't easy.  I was actually a complete mess; putting it off for so long wasn't a good idea.  I had hang ups from all of the wrecks I was in, I completely lacked confidence, and I had zero understanding of the Dutch rules.  I'm surprised the instructor let me on main roads.  In The States I drove an automatic, here it's a stick shift.  There I understood the laws/rules, here there are so many it's practically impossible to remember them all.  And in the US it was all in English, here I chose to do it in Dutch (maybe not the best decision).  The combination made me want to throw up for about an hour before each lesson and my entire demeanor has convinced my instructor I can't handle stress and have anxiety attacks.  GREAT!  But with the help of a good instructor and a very supporting husband and family, I am now making progress.  I am about 75% of the way to getting my Dutch driving license.  I have completed the theory exam (written exam), even though it did take me three times to pass!  The 1st time I missed 1 question too many, the 2nd time I bombed, and the 3rd time I made it through.  There was so much pressure - the fact it was in Dutch, each test costs over 30euros, and every time I failed it pushed my entire schedule back costing more time & money.  But with a lot of studying, an 8hr course, and a 2nd book from my sister-in-law, I made it. 
That same week I also had a practice practical exam; it's part of the package I signed up for, to give me a good idea of what to expect during the real deal and to see what kind of progress I have made.  After it was over the instructor said he assumed I was going to be a nervous wreck behind the wheel (thanks to my overall attitude and appearance before the exam), but he said surprisingly I remained calm and didn't do half bad.  Technically he said I did "redelijk goed" which translates to reasonably/ fairly good!  I'm crossing my fingers that after a few more lessons I will be able to take the actual practical exam (driving exam) in January.  My instructor recommended that I take a special practical exam for people who suffer from performance anxiety (aka faalangst), basically it allows you to pull over to the roadside and collect yourself during the exam without getting points deducted.  At first I thought he was joking, but when I realized he was serious I was quite embarrassed.  Maybe talking to myself, huffing and puffing, and clenching the steering wheel until my knuckles were white sent off the wrong signals, ha-ha!  I have two chances to pass the test within my package, so 1st round I'm going to take the normal exam, and depending, I might have to opt out for the "special" exam 2nd time around.  But of course, I'm hoping to pass the 1st time!!!

1 comment:

  1. You can do it! The fact that you've passed the written exam is outstanding. You Go Girl! I am crossing my fingers for you.