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Gobbles Musings

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About this blog

This shall be a place for everything I have to tell someone or some sort of diary. I tried to write a diary several times, but writing just for me seems useless. Current topic is my drivers license and a future one will be getting my dog which I need the license for. (Now you know my biggest motivation.)

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I own a car now!

On 29th October I officially bought the biggest thing I have ever bought. My car! (Obviously I'm not able to pay for it, so thanks Grandpa/Family!) The car is already in Germany, so they dealer might get it around the 15th November and once they have cleaned, sorted out the official stuff and put on the winter tires I should get it around the 19th. I already have my license plate (in Germany you can either get a random number, or pay for one you want). My initials and four numbers, my birthday and the one from my dad. It looks like "S - XY - 1234".  I had to get the option with the sat-nav and the better radio (DAB) because the model without it would have a delivery date of March 2019 in the colour I wanted.  The car is made in Japan. Which I think is totally cool. A real Japanese car. Now the third one in our family. To bust the myth that we all drive around in German cars. Nope, you pay so much more for so much less. For real, for example a Volkswagen with the same stuff in it as my Jazz would cost at least 3.000€ more. And everything else, like changing tires or service is also more expensive.  So the last wait period has begun! The only thing I have or rather my Dad has to do is figure out the insurance stuff. The insurance runs on my Mum because it is cheaper that way. Oh, and pay once the car is here. 💸 

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

It's going to be a....

Right now it is Friday morning, the day after my two test drives. I got the mail that my license is ready to be picked up on Tuesday, my Grandpa went and got it for me on Wednesday. Already on Tuesday we called and made appointments for two test drives, one in a Renault Captur with 120 PS and the other one in the new Honda Jazz/Fit with 130 PS.  First, driving was no problem at all. I felt much better than in the driving lessons. I had no problem using those new cars, took me about a minute and I was used to them. The Renault came first and it was a good drive. Great car, some minor negative things, but overall a good experience. The Honda Jazz was a bit more novel for me due to the CVT. I'm used to double clutches, so it feel a bit weird at the beginning.  So, it is going to be the new Honda Jazz/Fit Dynamic with 130 PS. Driving felt a tiny bit better in the Renault, but judging by the bigger picture the Honda has more to offer. More practicability due to the Magic Seats, more stuff in it and at least in Germany Honda has a great reputation for being very reliable. With the 130 PS it is okay to drive and I need to hit the gas a bit more than in the car I drove during my classes.  There are no used cars around, so thanks to my Grandpa and family I'm going to get a new one. Due to my disability card I get a pretty good discount (I had no idea that car companies offer that) and well, I have the full warranty and everything that comes with it. We told them we need the weekend to talk it all through and on Monday we will finish the contract and by then I need to decide on a colour. My Mum said that if we get a new one, I should pick the colour I want, even if it costs a bit more.  I'll add a picture and the link to the description of the car on the British Honda site (note sure if the US model the same as in Europe) and I will keep you updated about the delivery/pick up date. https://www.honda.co.uk/cars/new/jazz/overview.html (It is the Sports type in the UK, Dynamic in Germany. I guess we do not think of this car as a sports car and this is why they named it Dynamic here. 😀)  

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

Waiting for my license & a new car?

Because I switched from manual to automatic during my lessons I needed to wait a bit longer than usual for my license. Last week we went to the driver's license office type of thing and told them to change my license. We paid for the quicker time (a few days vs. six weeks for 19€ was worth it) and it should be ready by Wednesday or Thursday. I can't wait to hold that damn thing in my hands, and not only the paper with the big fat "this is not a license" on it.  Yesterday we went to look at cars again and visited a Renault dealer. We looked at a couple of cars and I saw one I instantly liked and sat down in it. It was love at first sight. It has less stuff in it than the Jazz/Fit, but more PS and it is classified as a Mini-SUV kind of car. Its name is Captur. Way to expensive brand new but it is a car that is often used for leasing and he said that there will be some coming back soon and then the price is okay.  So we hope that we can test drive soon. Right now it is Honda Jazz/Fit vs. Renault Captur. I will take them on the same route so I can compare. 

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

THE EXAM

So, like you probably read, I had my final exam on October 11th and passed! I'm so relived. This is how it went: On the day before I had my last required night lesson at around 10pm. It was really late and I was so tired, but I was glad that I had this lesson because the normal one in the morning felt awful. Night lesson went good and it made me a bit calmer. My instructor picked me up at around 7am the next day and I drove to the parking lot were the exam started at 7:30.  I was a mess, like a real mess. I sat there in the drivers seat crying, shaking and done with it all. I was able to compose myself a bit, but not much. The examiner came into our car and introduced himself. We knew since Tuesday who it was and my instructor told me to watch out for some things he cares a lot about. He was also quite young, 28, just a year older as I am. He obviously noticed how I was doing and gave me some easy questions to answers for the first part. In Germany you have to answer three questions about things you should know when driving. Like I said, I got lucky and my questions were: 1. Where is the button for the emergency flasher?
2. Where is the horn? 
3. Turn on the rear fog lamp and show me where you can see that it is on. Then the driving part started during rush hour. I have no idea about rush hour in other cities/countries, but it is bad here. The first minutes we had stop and go. He and my instructor talked about cars and jobs while the examiner told me were to go like a satnav. Lots of turning left, a living area with a different speed limit and right of way situations. Then I was told to reverse park at the side of a street. Worked on the first try. (I had two.) Then some roads outside of the town leading to the expressway (the little sister of the autobahn) and I had to drive into it, the part I was most afraid of. I got lucky again because there was only a single car at that time on the left lane and I drove onto the street once he was past me. Because of the heavy traffic, the speed was down to 60 on that street. We drove back into the city and on a street next to the parking lot were we started we did the emergency braking. As in drive 30 (18mph) and on command hit the brakes as hard as you can. My favorite thing! That was the second of the three required tasks. The last one came on the parking lot, reverse park into a parking space like you do at the supermarket. I managed to do that as well. So I was told that I had passed (started crying right there) and also that there was nothing to correct and that it was a really good drive. I got the paper I need to get my license (because I switched to automatic I did not get it right away, they need to make a new one).  The whole driving thing lasted for about 35 minutes.  The only thing I need now is a car. I will keep you updated! 

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

The end is near

After another unplanned break due to the death of my instructors mum a possible date for the final exam is too close now and we have to look into the later dates. Being very vague here, because I'm not going to tell when it is, I will only tell when I have my license. Too much pressure when many people know it, even though you guys are "just" online people.  Next week I will have two of the three mandatory lessons during the night. You are supposed to drive on the motorway and on country roads during those lessons, not so much in the city. (Makes sense, with all the street lights it is not really dark in towns.) I'm looking forward to it, it will be very relaxing because that is not relevant for my exam which is during the day.  In the last lessons we practiced specifically for the exam. Lots of people I know failed their exam on the first try. It is quite hard. Not the driving, but more those situations you cannot plan. So I hope for a rainy day with really horrible weather so that not too many people on bikes are on the roads and not too many pedestrians as well.  Nothing new on the car front. Still waiting for the right car to pop up. But we have have told a construction company to build my parking lot on our property. We have space for two cars right now, but with mine we need three places.  So thankful that we have that opportunity. If you need a parking spot on the street you are doomed.  Next update will probably be that I have my car or my license or both but it can take a while. But it will be finished during 2018. Even if I fail the first time, there are still a few exam dates left this year. (I envy every one in countries were the exam isn't that hard and/or lives in rural areas.)

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

A broken car & a test drive

So, my driving school had a almost three week long brake and the day I was supposed to have my first lesson after that break my instructor called and said that the car is broken. Well, so on Monday I will have my next lesson, a week later than planned.  We are now nearing the end of it I guess. There are two exam dates in September, but I don't think we will be able to pick on of them due to the week lost due the broken car. And also I want to go on in the same, slower, way like I did so far. Never change what works. So maybe in October.  I have time, also because I have no car. The market for small automatic cars is pretty small right now. Apparently they are very sought after. Current planned car is a Honda Jazz/Fit. We want to do a test drive in one this weekend. The car dealer said that it is not clear if they have a car available so we'll see if that works out. Because they have no problems in selling their cars, they seem not to car too much about test drives and all of that. If the CVT is good and the traffic sign recognition works I think the choice for the Jazz is made. If not we will have to look maybe into the Mazda 2. Or my original choice of a VW Polo. I do like the Japanese cars more because they have better stuff in them. 

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

Up up up....

At the end of the last lesson as I parked the car I looked to my instructor and he sat there having a smile on his face. That should tell you how I'm doing. Automatic really changed my life. I now have five lessons or so with the automatic car and the difference is amazing. So I guess we are very slowly walking or rather driving towards the end phase. The nervousness before lessons is almost gone and I can talk while driving and I drive quite normal now. Which my instructor likes, but still I should stop at yellow traffic lights and not speed through... Difficult for him I guess, it shows me being very comfortable to drive and of course almost everyone drives like I do but I shouldn't drive like that during the exam. The "100km/h race street" is my favourite part now. There is a traffic light at the beginning, and after that a long almost straight road with the speed limit of 100. Well, I tried out what my 200 PS car can do and how a "kick down" feels like. I loved it!  My Grandpa is going to join us in the next lesson. I'm quite nervous having him as a passenger, so good practice for the final exam.  Car wise we have found a model I really like and well, my instructor (who knows my Grandpa since a long long time) will support me in my "Grandpa buys his only Granddaughter a car"-project.  I have my eyes on a VW Up "high up" model. Not brand new like I wrote before, but not too old. Maybe a car that was used to show it to people or something like that.  Plan B works!

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

Car update

So as of today our plan looks like this: We are going to keep our two cars (manual ones) and once I have my license, we will buy a car with automatic for me. A used one, not new. Not too old, but also not almost brand new, you get the point. It should have some features, not too many kilometres and a few other things. As automatic cars in Germany are not the norm, the prices are higher and you get less cars. But we have already looked, and there are some who are possible. So the decision to go on with automatic is 99% made.  Next lesson hopefully tomorrow, we weren't able to call my instructor yet. 

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

That's what I call driving!

Quick update: While the final decision will be made on Monday after another lesson, my heart is already set on switching to Automatic. That means getting another car. But my Grandpa said he will help me fund it.  Driving today was so so much better. I was at the right speed most of the time (50 when there is 50 allowed and not 40 like before), I drove quicker into roads. I felt better. It was fun to drive and for the first time I was pleased with myself after a lesson. My instructor said that in the future, there will only be Automatic cars. And even now, many upper class cars are Automatic. (Given that electric cars are also Automatic...) He prefers driving in Automatic as well. It is more relaxing. And he said that sometimes it is quite nice not being able to drive every car. EDIT: I blame my Autism for the problems with a manual car. Too much to do at once.

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

Stalling

Nothing new to report driving wise. I still taking my lessons. Still in the norm with how many I have. (Saying that, because there can be a huge difference between cities and countries. Traffic here is hell.) I will have my 30th lesson this week. 30 is the average, including especially young men who drove illegally before.  My instructor explained that I'm currently near the peak of the mountain, waiting for the last improvement. Still struggling quite a lot with shifting. It should be a bit better by now and it harms other parts of driving because I need so much attention for it. At least that is our assumption. Plan is to take two or three lessons in an Automatic car to see if that is my problem. If it is, we know what we have to train hard. Because in the end, I want my license with my manual car. I want to be able to drive every car, not just automatic ones. I'm very good in a couple of other things, emergency braking or knowing the rules. So it is not all bad.  Taking the lessons in the other car is still training. It has more power (200 PS) and is a bit smaller. I'm looking forward to driving it. Traffic is the same, so I still learn, just one less thing to worry about. But in the end, I need to figure out driving a manual car and my instructor believes that I can do it.

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

0 points, shaking feet & the Autobahn

A lot has happened since last week, first an most important: I passed my theoretical exam with no mistakes! 1.) Last Thursday I had my exam at 9:15am in a town nearby. We were 15 people at first, but two got send home instantly because they did not have their proof of attending theory classes. (They still have to pay the fees though!) We got each assigned a place at a round table and everyone had a tablet. I was on of the first people who were finished so I have no idea how it went for the others. I passed with 0 mistake points.  2.) Yesterday was lesson number 24 and we drove around the town I hate. We did some parking practice and during that my left foot (the one for the coupling) began to shake like crazy. Apparently this happens a lot during lesson when you are nervous. My instructor told me to bend my foot and try to relax it a bit. It was better after that. Not much to say about the rest. I think the lesson was okay, he only told me to be nicer to the coupling.  3.) Today was lesson 25 and we did another one of the mandatory lessons. Autobahn again. Basically going in and out. It was okay, I was afraid at first because the last time on the Autobahn was not good at all but it was better this time. I found out that talking to myself (like I do in other situations) helps. I told myself what to do. "Look in the mirror, hit the indicator, look back over shoulder, drive in after car XY, turn of indicator." I don't care what other people think, that helped! Criticism this time was the I'm too hesitant and should drive faster.  Next lesson next week!  

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

Tomorrow is the day!

Tomorrow at 9:15am German time I have my exam. I had one lesson on Monday, and cancelled the second due to the exam and two activities I have planned for Friday and Saturday. (Meeting my best friend on Friday and Comic Con on Saturday.) The lesson on Monday was okay. We practised parking on a busy parking lot. So the highest difficulty, during the lessons before we only used lots with minimal traffic. Monday was different. The parking lot belongs to a indoor/outdoor swimming pool and it was almost full. Lots of people walking around and due to a children thing nearby also many little kids. I was way too slow and careful said my instructor. I told him that I did not like people, but killing them is not my intention. (He rolled his eyes.) He said several times that he gets the blame if something happens and I should just go a bit faster.  We also decided to go slow and do the exam in September and not at the end of July. (There are no exams in August.) It took me 10 years to get my license so I can wait for a few more weeks.  So, I did everything I could for the exam tomorrow. I revised another 1500-2000 questions today. My learning program says I'm 100% ready. I know all the answers. So if something happens it is due to my anxiety and not due to lack of preparation.  Please send your good thoughts, prayers or whatever for tomorrow. The heck with it, sacrifice a bunny. I'm taking it all. 

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

160km/h

I had my two hour trip on Tuesday. First we drove for around 20 minutes on the Autobahn to a city called Kirchheim unter Teck. From there a little round course across the Swabian Alb followed. (Basically around the castle Teck.) Lots of narrow roads, curves and my instructor was mad because a truck was driving in front of us and could not overturn him due to the road situation and we could not drive as fast as my instructor would have liked.  On the way back we drover via the Autobahn as well. While driving we practice switching lanes (it is a six lane Autobahn, three in each direction) and in Germany there is a so called "Rechtsfahrgebot" which means that you have to drive on the right at all times if possible. Usually the trucks drive there and the cars in the middle, 'cause they are allowed to go faster than trucks. The left line is basically only for over taking other cars and as soon as possible you are supposed to go back to the right. Over turning on the left is not allowed, so if you drive on the middle lane you can't drive faster than a car on your left.  The switching between lanes at such a high speed is really hard. I struggled with it a lot. Keeping the steering wheel straight, looking and then having the guts to go over. Thankfully I won't have to do that during the final exam.  There was an area without speed limit on our way and my instructor told me to power through. So we drove at 160km/h which is 100 miles per hour. Her wanted me to know how it feels like going that fast. I did not like it at all, way to fast for my liking. So you'll find me on the right driving at 80km/h (50mph) behind trucks. I'm okay with 100km/h on country roads though.  My exam on Thursday got called of due to the IT trouble. It is now on Thursday next week shortly after 9am. Next lesson on Monday and on Tuesday we are doing the Autobahn again. 

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

Very quick update

Had my lesson for today and it went very well. After 20 minutes or so he told me to park the car at the side of the road, and asked me how I felt so far. My reply was: "I have hoped that you wouldn't ask, 'cause now everything is going to be worse." He just rolled his eyes and told me to believe in myself. Like I said, it got a bit bad after that but I saved it and drove good in the end. He said 80% was good! He told me that I was using my mirrors perfectly. I looked every time I should have looked. He also pretty much stopped telling me when to go up and down a gear. Tomorrow I will have a two hour long overland lesson. We will drive to the Swabian Alb and have fun there. I really like driving faster outside of cities so I hope it will be fun. Lots of curves and great roads. I still have no time for my exam on Thursday. They switched to an online only system during the last days (communication with the driving schools) and well, Germany does pretty good with a lot of things, but new systems and internet is not one of it. But I should get the time tomorrow. I'm incredibly tired (also because I did a lot of revising for the exam) but I'm looking forward to tomorrow! 

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

Two lessons & a preliminary exam

First: I passed the preliminary exam! I had to do two exams and passed both of them. One without mistakes, the other with two mistakes at questions I was unsure about during the exam. So I know what to practise until the important test next week. On to my two lessons. My mum came to both of them to make me feel a bit less nervous. It is really special because she had her lessons with the same instructor when she was 18! On Monday we drove into a bigger village/town via the high way (interstate might be a better word, not the Autobahn but also not a country road). The area there is known to be absolute hell for drivers due to pedestrians, buses and bus lanes. A lot of accidents happened there and of course the area is part of the exam area, meaning I know which cities/villages I might have to drive through at my exam. Driving outside on the "high way" went very well, also the country roads. Inside the city mess it got harder and the criticism was that I was to slow. So next time I try to be less anxious and try not to care if I kill a few people who illegally cross the road.  On Tuesday was lesson number 2 and we drove to the are were the exam will start and end. Same as Monday. I did very well on roads outside the city but got slower than I should on the smaller roads with cars parked on both sides. We also practised parking again. Forwards, backwards and parallel backwards. So my weak point is definitely everything involving busy situations and people. Everything else works better. Next lesson is number 20! (Still +10 lessons at least to go.) And my final theoretical exam is also next week. Hopefully one less thing to worry about once I pass it.

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

Driving lesson or therapy?!

Just had my last lesson for this week. I ended up crying again at the end. I'm not going to focus on the negative parts, but instead he said that the first minutes were perfect. He told me that this should be prove for myself that I can do it. Then he told me about his struggle with learning to do some sort of car racing. He took my hand and walked with me to his other garage and opened the door. There was his race car in it and all the medals he won. He said that they all laughed at him because he did so bad at the beginning (as a driving instructor) and that he was not talented at all and needed lots of practice to get to this point were he is now. So the one thing I try to remember from today is that I drove perfect (his words) during the beginning.  (And if one person tells me that Autistic people have no emotions I would like to refer them to my poor instructor who has to deal with a crying student more than he probably likes.)

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

Downtown traffic & preparations!

And here we go with the newest update: Monday, 05.06.2018 My first lesson after two weeks of being on break duo to my cold and finishing the classes. He went all crazy and took me into the inner city. Lots of traffic, tram driving on the road, longer tunnels with junctions in them... I did good driving through the city but got tired closer to the end on the way back and made some mistakes.  On Monday evening I went to the class to "inspect" the new instructor. He did quite good and I told my teacher that he did a great job choosing him. One example: The batteries in the mouse were kinda dead during the last weeks. Two teachers mentioned it, but basically ignored it. He noticed it and the second he did he told us to wait and got new batteries.  I also found out that my application was approved! So that means that the moment I'm ready I can do my exams. Next week I will have a preliminary test at my driving school and if I pass that I can do the real thing at the Technical Supervisory Association aka TÜV in German. I pass all the exams at home, so I'll just continue to learn a bit and I hope that I manage to pass. (30% fail the exam for the first time according to recent studies). Tuesday, 06.06.2018 Today we did a normal lesson. A tiny bit of Autobahn, parking and regular driving. And a tiny bit of therapy at the end. Seriously, he is great building me up! He told me to decide a bit quicker. I wait to long instead of acting. (For example: Waiting for a car to park in or drive around it. Both options would have been right, but I was awkwardly in the middle because I couldn't decide what to do.) And I should not question everything all the time, just do it. (This is difficult, because I question everything...)  Tomorrow we will do the same thing again, so I can focus on the things I did wrong today.  But today was relaxing compared to the inner city mess on Monday.  By the way, I found an online test with some of the question I have to answer. There is an option to do it in English or other languages, just like the real exam. Click on the little flags to change the language. If you want to try it out, here is the link: https://fahrerlaubnis.tuev-dekra.de/quiz.php?land=UK (Choose category B and click on "Start the demo version online". It is free and safe!) I passed my try with 0 points. 

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

I'm going to be a spy

In a few hours I have my last theory lesson. Once I'm done I have to wait until the approval from the authorities comes and I can do the first exam. Just a few years ago they did that on paper. Nowadays the exam is done on tablets. It takes around 25-30 minutes. With video questions and what not. Apparently the test got harder in the last years. I'm not afraid because of the questions, I pass 99% of the exams I practice here at home, but I have no idea how I will cope in the situation during the final exam. I'm going to try the normal way. The exam together with other people in a normal room. If that doesn't work we will see and get a single exam. Much more expensive, so trying once the normal way is worth it. Next week I will have my next real lesson. After two weeks of being sick. Still not feeling 100%, now my guts are acting out, but it gets better every day.  Now to the spy thing: My instructor (and owner of the driving school) got a new teacher, because the old one had to quite due to health reasons. He asked me if I could attend the first class of that guy even though I'm done with classes. He wants my opinion on that new guy. I feel quite honoured that he asked me that.  In other news: On Sunday we will visit a Chihuahua breeder and talk about getting one in the future*. Due to my special needs I need a dog with a character that fits. Our current one is a bigger rescue German shepherd mix. Adopt don't shop is fine for normal people. But I need a dog that "works". Not one with a whole lot of problems and I do have the requirement that it has to be a very small one, because I want to have the opportunity to take it on a plane with me and so the dog plus box can only weight around 7kg. We talked with some shelters and even they told us to go to a breeder. (Animals don't get killed here in shelters, there are lots of volunteers who walk them daily. Shelters are not that bad in Germany.) The breeder is one hour away. One of my biggest motivations is driving there myself and getting my dog in a few years. (Our current dog is 13, we only get the new one when she passes away. She is a real single child and we don't want her to suffer from a sibling.) 

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

When your body tells you to slow down

Like I wrote in my status update, I got sick on Friday evening. A really horrible cold. Because my immune system does not do well at all when I'm stressed and the whole drivers license thing makes me incredibly stressed. I got not one, but two cold sores inside my lips on Tuesday. My upper lip is still twice the size of normal. The last time I had more than one cold sore at the same time was over ten years ago. (Also in a very stressful situation.)  I'm going to class tonight and next week Monday (Thursday is a holiday) too, but no driving next week. I need to get better first.  This will be so incredibly embarrassing with my lip looking like a failed beauty operation and my social anxiety when it comes to young people. Living in an Asian country right now would be great. Being able to wear a mask to hide it all. (That reminds me, that I need to tell my instructor, that I'm not going to do the lessons with other students he usually does at the end before the final exam. I can't drive with teenagers sitting behind me. I couldn't care less about old people though.) So, next week is more normal life. I need to support my Mum at work at the end of the week and we have a meeting with the new nursing service for my great uncle. The old one goes out of service in July.  At least that shows everyone in real life that it really is hard for me doing this. I'm not telling lies.

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

Questioning my ability?

Wednesday, 16.05.2018 - Lesson 14 We drove almost the same route as Monday. He said we are now practising more situations I have problems with. In my case narrow roads and driving on the right side in situations like that. I'm too much in the middle because I'm afraid of hitting parked cars on the side. Lots of priority-to-the-right rule (according to Google this is the proper word) situations. Not a problem in automatic cars, but I struggle a bit with going down into 1st, driving slowly into the crossroads and then going back up to 2nd and continue and that in those streets every couple of meters. On a normal road switching into the different gears works okay. 1 to 3 at least, 4 to 6 is a bit difficult. (I haven't used 6 yet, I think we can do that only on the Autobahn when there is not too much traffic.) Next lesson next week. He said we are going into the down town. Everyone I know hates driving into the city. So I'm a bit worried. (At least this is not in the exam area but he said I should be able to drive there anyway. Thursday, 17.05.2018 - Theoretic lesson 11 (of 14) I had to think about the situation in the US with police controls a lot before this lesson. I knew that the topics included the lights on a car, driving through a tunnel, cars with special lights (ambulance, police, heavy transport....) and how you should act in a police control. Thing is we used like 70 minutes of the 90 in total for the lights. And the teacher is so good that he can make lights and their use a really interesting topic. I have never seen someone speaking so passionately about really boring topics. And he does this since 30 years. Police control came last and took like three minutes. Slow down, drive to the side, open your window, talk to the officer, say you did not drink if they ask (and do not drink & drive!!!!!! ), hand over your papers from the glove compartment and that's it. I guess in the US you should learn about the danger of being shot in a situation like that if you happen to have the wrong skin colour and move without someone telling you too.  I think you have to have your hands on the steering wheel and what not. Different worlds I guess.  *** Other than that I'm still worried about being able to do this. Driving slowly feels more normal, but I still lack the "I can do this"-feeling. My Grandpa asked how driving is going and I couldn't answer because I have no idea how I'm doing. Even though my instructor compliments me in certain situations during the lesson. Like every time we cross the tram railway. I cross it and next to me he goes "that is how you look, well done!". So I must be doing at least something right.  

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

Monday, 14.05.2018

Guess which idiot hurt her left little toe Monday morning? Yep, me! After the initial shock, I put ice and tape on it and the neighbouring toe. Walking hurts but thankfully not stepping on the pedal for the coupling. I tried that out as soon as I finished taking care of it. (But I informed my instructor about it anyway. But driving painless is possible.  I then had my lesson and it went well with the toe. It didn't hurt at all, in fact driving is better than walking! We went into the neighbour town and did the usual things. Adding another part that I need for the final exam, "verkehrsgerechtes Wenden" - turning appropriately for traffic conditions. I reversed parked the car three times perfectly without help. But he was not pleased with my handling of the coupling and starting to drive. He said that I did it so well and perfectly in the beginning. I have no idea what happened and why I stopped doing it that way. He told me to concentrate a bit more on that. He wanted to do a lesson today (Tuesday) as well, but I'm mentally done with two lessons per week, so I decided to have my next one on Wednesday. Last week I had three lessons and that was a bit too much. In theory we discussed how to park properly. As you can imagine Germany has rules on everything, and parking too. We do not have a lot of parking space, so those rules do make sense. How much space to leave on bus stops, junctions, rail ways... Using ticket machines and the parking disc. Enough to fill 90 minutes. Parking is a huge problem in our area here, there is simply not enough parking space. We do not have mega parking lots like the US. The politic concentrates more on public transport.  By the way, it slowly feels more "normal" to sit in a car and drive. Still so surreal, but better. 

Gobbles

Gobbles

 

In the previous episode...

I already wrote a bit about it in status updates. Took me a while to figure out that I could actually use a blog instead. So here are the previous updates in chronological order, starting with the oldest. FYI: I use the date format I'm used to, DD-MM-YYYY. Just the original updates, no comments to keep it simple. 03.04.2018 (#0) So I just signed up for my first driving lesson. (Ten years later than normal, but I just needed some time and develop my self esteem first. Now I feel ready.) 17.04.2018 (#1) 1.) Had my third lesson today. Lesson one was just the basics, but also a short trip on nearby roads in heavy traffic. Lesson two was a round trip trough nearby villages/small towns. Roads my mum hates to drive on because of the people, traffic, tram... I killed the engine a lot and had to hold back my tears during the last kilometres. My teacher said that it wasn't bad at all, but as a perfectionist I was so disappointed. Once we were back I broke down crying next to him. Yay me. Lesson three was today and much much better. He said that it was really good for the third lesson. Killed the engine only once. Lots of right of way situations today. Driving slowly into a crossing and so on. I asked him what he did with his pedals and he said basically nothing. I did all driving by myself. So far my fastest was 60 km/h. We weren't on any roads where you can drive faster. 2.) Theoretical lessons are kind of boring. With 27 and lots of years sitting next to my Mum while driving and talking about rules/traffic there is not much to learn. Finished three as well, 11 more to go. 3.) I envy everyone who drives automatic, but I will conquer the stick.  26.04.2018 (#2) Had my 7th lesson yesterday (30 lessons is the average norm here, for comparison) and I did pretty good. My teacher praised me.  I parallel parked the car backwards (a huge point in the exam, you can't get your license if you fail that), lots of right-of-way situations and rail ways. I did good with the stick this time. Slowly I get that feeling when to change into a higher gear. (But I have trouble going down before traffic lights, so I mainly drive in the 3rd until I reach it and go down to 1st then.) Next theoretical lesson is tonight. Number 6 of 14. (I have to know the answer to over 1000 questions and the exam later will be 30 multiple choice and video questions out of them. My learning app says I'm 93% ready.) On Sunday I have a first aid course (necessary for getting the license) and next week the eye test, but I wear glasses anyway so I get that written into my license for sure that I have to wear glasses to drive. 29.04.2018 (#3) I survived my first aid course. With the help of my mother who was with me as my helper. I did some exercises in a extra room, so not in front of the others. The whole thing was seven hours long with a break of 30 minutes.  Next lesson (#8) is tomorrow and the next theoretical lesson as well. When tomorrow is over I'm halfway through my theoretical lessons. Yay!  Not sure if I can squeeze in lesson #9 next week as well. Tuesday is a holiday (Workers Day) and on Thursday I have my eye test and work plus the next theoretical lesson in the evening. But I'm so so so glad that I survived today. On Friday I plan to hand in my application to the authorities. It takes a few weeks for them the check it and then I'm allowed to do my exam if I have my lessons ready. If they approve the thing, every offence I make could result in a year ban or something like that. Like driving without license, doing drugs, anything like that. (Not that I do that, but it suddenly feels more real when you have that back in your mind.) 04.05.2018 (#4) Here we go again. I think this is going to be a weekly thing now.  1.) Had two lessons this week. Lots of parking. And we added a new thing, in German it is called "Gefahrenbremsung" and since a few years part of the final exam. It is basically emergency braking. I have to drive 30km/h, look in the rear mirror to make sure nobody is behind me and when my instructor gives the command I have to hit the brakes with full force. That is a fun thing to do. I think this will be the best part of the exam. I wasn't too happy with the lessons, but I guess it is because he basically throws every problem you can hit on the road at me. I do quite good on roads outside of the city/village, but those small roads inside are a challenge. I even missed a traffic light. (It was green, but he asked me afterwards if I noticed it. Oops.) 2.) Yesterday I did my eye test and because I already have glasses it was clear that I need to wear them when driving and this will be written into my license. Not a big deal.  3.) On Monday I hit the peak of the mountain with my theoretical lessons. Lesson 7 of 14. Yesterday was #8. So I should be done with them in early June. (With Pentecost coming up there will be some holidays and that means no lessons.) Next week more lessons and we have an appointment to give my application to the authorities.   08.05.2018 (#4.5) I just need to write it down. Lesson on Monday was pure hell, felt like driving for the first time, or worse than that. Just finished my lesson for today, one of the five required drives outside of cities and it went very well. And here is the thing: Tomorrow I will be driving on the Autobahn for the first time!  09.05.2018 (#5) 1.) Like I already said, the lesson on Monday was shit. There is not other word to describe it. He took me in a housing are with tiny one way streets and it sort of was all too much. A little old lady was walking ON the street (we have superb side walks, no need for walking on the street) and I had to drive past her three times. And a lot of other problems. My instructor said that it is normal to kinda break down and drive like an idiot at least once, so I'm fine, but it was a horrible day and a cried a lot because I was so disappointed.  2.) On Tuesday he said that to make it a bit easier we would be driving on country roads and this was also the first of the required 12 lessons by law. That went pretty good. And it was fun. 3.) Today around 9am we had an appointment at the town hall to hand in the application for a drivers licence. Once they have checked me over (criminal records,...) they approve it, and I can make my final exam if I'm ready. The lady was really nice and told me that I am at an excellent driving school. Her daughters were there too! (Not the first time I heard that!) 4.) And later I had my first lesson on the Autobahn. To be honest my instructor did most of the driving, explaining me things and so on. He "scolded" me in a nice way for looking to much while driving in the highway. We had to cut the lesson short because his wife was waiting for him with lunch but we just add that bit on another lesson. The fastest we went was 100km/h because there was a lot of traffic and obviously I'm a beginner. Next lesson on Monday.  *** As a special surprise I have added a picture of the car I'm driving (I edited the logo of my driving school out):  

Gobbles

Gobbles

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