I have had my drivers license since I was 19. I got it right before moving out of my parents home, 3000 kms away, to go and work in a residential school. I was gently pushed by my parents to get it, and I am glad I did because not only was it useful when I lived in Ontario, but also I have no idea when I could have done it after that (between traveling/working ect.).
FFWD a few years and I move to Spain. Life is grand, heck I even got a car for my birthday! I bought my International Drivers License before we left 😉 so for one year I knew I was good to go! Then we visited Trafico… It seems that in all the years of diplomatic friendship between my country of Canada and my new homeland someone forgot along the way to sign an agreement that a Canadian drivers license should be equal to a Spanish one (and vice versa). Spain recognizes many other nation’s driving permits (Morocco, Columbia, ect.), mostly to do with the countries they colonized, blah, blah, blah. Personally I think that my plastic card that I worked so hard to get those many years ago should be more valid than a piece of paper that I could purchase for the right sum of $ in either Morocco or Columbia. And after a couple of weeks of Spanish Driving School I am not ruling that option out!
So you can see I am currently in a similar situation to when I was 19, except it’s my husband who is ever so gently nudging me to become a licensed driver again. I can understand his point of view, we drive a lot! Poor guy is tired of being the dd.
My resistence doesn’t so much have to do with laziness though, more with fighting for what I think is right. You see here in Spain there is an entire industry called the ‘auto-escuela.’ People pay thousands of euros because its practially impossible to study and pass both the written and theory tests by yourself. In fact, the driving test has to be done in a car with double pedals (one for you and one for the examiner – just in case). Of course your friendly neighborhood driving school will come to your rescue and let you use one of their cars, for a hefty fee of course.
I can only recall one insurance chain who ran drivers ed in Canada. Even with the promise of lower insurance rates most of my friends never went that route. As much as I am sure that my dad would have loved to pay someone to teach us three kids at some points, he, like most Canadian parents didn’t because thats just what we do. Its part of the process of having kids – you teach them to walk, you teach them to drive!
So, once you pay your exorbitant fee in Spain you’d think you’d get some sort of class, right? Nope. In my driving school I have access to 28 tests and basically the point is that I do them over and over again until I get all the questions right. There is an instructor on hand to answer my questions when she isn’t too busy on MSN with her friends. So basically for an hour every night after eight hours at work and three hours of bus I sit and do driving tests in Spanish.
Wish me luck, I am in need of it.