Let me just preface this and say that this is a long post and it cannot accurately describe all that we’ve had to figure out with driving here. It has truly been harder and more consuming than getting our visas!
Pretty soon after we arrived, we heard that we’d need to get German Driver’s licenses. We were told that we had 6 months to complete the task. Unfortunately for us, our US licenses are from the state of Georgia, and as such, Germany will not automatically transfer them. Had we been holding licenses from the great state of South Carolina, however, the transfer would have been possible :-). Now I love South Carolina..was born and raised there, but driving in Atlanta, Georgia is a whole ‘nother ball game. Just on that point alone, I have to question the reasoning behind this law.
The lady in the driving department gave us a sheet completely in German of course outlining all the of the steps that we would have to go through to obtain a license. With so many things on our plate to figure out, like um…finding a place to live and getting our children in school, it fell to the back burner until about 2 and a 1/2 months ago. What we figured out through many questions and help from friends here is that our first step needed to be to find a driving school. We found one within walking distance of our home and after meeting us he was a bit perplexed. He’d never dealt with people in our situation which meant he had to do a lot of conversing with the officials in the department of motor vehicles to even figure out what they were really requiring of us. Which meant lots of waiting for us.
Fast forward to two weeks ago, our driving school instructor secured a spot for us to take the theory portion of our driving exam. We understood that there was some software we’d need to load on our computers to be able to study for the exam and we came home ready to dive in. Honestly we were thinking, this can’t be so bad. We’ve been driving for over half of our lives..Oh, no, no. After working through some technical difficulties with the computer, we were finally able to load the program. There were 916 practice questions on that thing! Right when I saw that number, a nervous sweat came over me. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Now some of the questions were hilarious but a lot of them were hard y’all. Like what in the heck is this. I’m talking anti-lock breaks, calculating breaking distances using formulas and all kinds of crazy stuff. At one point I was like do we really need to drive here? My laid back husband of course said “Beth come on, we got this.” To which I was thinking..no buddy you got this but I’m the girl who always messes up on tests like this. I’m a classic over thinker.
About mid way through the week before we were set to take the exam we obtained international drivers licenses due to some recommendations from Facebook friends. Hallelujah! Those arrived on Friday, the same day that our Georgia ones were invalid here! On Monday we were set to take the tests. The days in between we were basically glued to the computer screen quizzing each other on the questions and putting in another DVD to keep our kids occupied.
Monday morning arrived and I walked in feeling like I’d been run over by a bus. I was so tired and I hadn’t felt that way since college. Asher and Ellison had to go to the test with us and we found out once we got there that they’d have to wait out in the hall way for 30-45 minutes alone. Great. Just what I needed -more stress. So now we’re prepping Ellison on how to take care of Asher, we equip her with a secret weapon (chewing gum) for if all else failed and we prayed silently so she wouldn’t feel the pressure of the moment. (She did awesome by the way!) I walk into the room and after the official explained some things and unlocked our computers we were able to start the test.
For the most part the questions were not hard. I didn’t have any that required me to use an algebraic equation but there were a few that threw me for a loop. Some based on wording and one in particular I answered falsely because I assumed that the biker in the scenario would be allowed to go in front of me. At the end of the test I missed 4 questions. The maximum allowed was 3…so I failed. I was mad, angry, frustrated and disappointed. I wanted to pull a Clark Griswald. You know the scene when he found out his Christmas bonus was to a jelly of the month club membership. I waited out in the hall with the kids until Ian was done. He had, however passed as he’d only missed 2 questions. He was equally frustrated after I told him about the ones I missed which was really sweet.
So….now I will be taking the test again. Not sure exactly when but I’m not looking forward to it to be honest. Ian will now complete driving time with the instructor and then prepare to drive with officials for another test.
Quite the process don’t you think?