I am now determinedly pursuing my UK driving license. I've been reading The Highway Code, studying a testing CD, and making a concerted effort to "get it right" when I'm motoring along the country roads. Driving in the UK does not come easily to me. US driving didn't come easily to me, either. I had to retake the maneuverability portion of the test after hours of practice one gray Sunday afternoon in the high school parking lot. Even as an adult, I still keep my hands at two and ten and get sweaty palms when driving in high-traffic areas. And I am not looking forward to taking the test again as an adult.
So taking my bloated American mini-van on narrow roads with cars parked on both sides and compact vehicles careening toward me takes a bit of courage to begin with, a sat-nav for moral support during, and a cup of tea or a glass of Chardonnay at the journey's end. But I'm getting better. I now stay on the correct side of the road all the time. The children can now talk while I drive. I still don't always talk back. I may turn the radio on during a journey sometime soon.
But I did something remarkable today: I parked the mini-van in my driveway. Let me explain. My driveway is about one foot wider than the van with concrete posts on either side. Cars line both sides of the road in front, so most of the time only one car can pass at a time. And they pass by frequently.
So when I returned from today's journey and could find no easily accessible street parking anywhere on the block, I gritted my teeth and said, "Right. Most Brits would back into a driveway this size -- surely I can do this." So I folded in the left-hand mirror, kept the left side within six inches of the post, and maneuvered my way in. Without being directed by anyone AND without scratching it on the fence posts.
Even my children are proud of me!
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