Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Got My Car

On Monday I got my car.


I will have to take a picture with her, it makes me so happy to be reunited.

When I got in to drive home at the end of the day, I can't tell you how good it felt. I mean, physically GOOD. After years of driving this car, I feel like it is an extension of my body. I felt like I finally had a part of ME back. The way I described it to Neil is thus:

The loaner from work, although very nice and brand-new, felt like I was writing with my left hand with a cast on my arm (I am right-handed). I was driving a right-hand-drive car on the "wrong" side of the road, in very annoying traffic and through poorly designed parking lots. The car itself was a nice, big sedan, and I was used to driving a small high-clearance SUV -- 1999 Toyota Rav4, best car ever. It was hard to really see and harder to estimate the dimensions of the sedan; maneuvering around the road and especially parking lots was very frustrating and stressful.

In contrast, driving the Rav feels completely natural and, like I said, like an extension of my body. I know exactly what size it is and how much room I have to fit through spaces, maneuver, and change lanes. I love it!!! It really feels SO GOOD and it makes all the difference. I thought that driving a left-hand drive car here would make things difficult, but it is actually SO MUCH easier and one less thing I have to think about or be conscious of.

With the loaner sedan, I felt like I was a 15-yr.-old with my learner's permit. I felt like I was conscious of EVERYTHING, I could never go on auto-pilot and tune out -- you know how sometimes you go a couple (or more!) miles and then you have no recollection of doing so, you were lost in thought and functioning on auto-pilot? (This is actually a level and form of hypnosis, you learn about in HypnoBirthing :) Well it was a rare occasion that I did that driving the sedan around Gaborone, and it only happened in recent weeks and for a few seconds.

Once I was driving MY car on Monday, it was easy peasy, like second nature. SO NICE! I love it! I do have to say though, that although this will make me hate driving here a little less, I still think the Batswana (plural for people from Botswana) are horrible drivers. Driving in Buenos Aires was a pleasure, a fun game, like surfing in a car (though we've established I am afraid of surfing) -- it was like you entered the lane and swell of cars and you had to paddle fast to get up to speed and then you just rode the wave of traffic until you dropped out at your destination. Everyone drove at the same level of crazy, so it was cool and actually a LOT of fun! But here, it is willy-nilly, haphazard craziness. More like a roadful of annoying beginner-level drivers -- things like people taking 10 years to merge into your lane because they are so cautious, even while you flash your lights, motion with your hand, and give them 3 car lengths. Or the complete opposite where they run red lights. Hard to have patience.

But about my favorite car: The last time I saw her was our last day in Argentina, in the sunny, summery late afternoon, after a long morning of running last-minute pre-departure errands. We hastily dropped her off at my office, left the keys with someone to give to the shipping ladies and had a car and driver take us back to the house.

Ironically, she's been here in Botswana since shortly after we arrived in February. It takes THAT LONG to clear Customs, get registered, get insurance, etc. Always a cumbersome, convoluted process that I am SO GLAD I don't have to deal with directly -- there is someone at my work in charge of it and I just sign here and there and give them $ for whatever is required.


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