Monday, May 4, 2009


I'm driving in South Africa. Its true. Well wait, not right now as I type this. But today and a couple days before that, I have driven here and there. And its exciting.

With Will gone, I am now reliant on driving myself around. Before Will left, I had the fantastic opportunity to demonstrate amazing ineptitude at learning to drive a stick shift hoss of a car in 30 minutes. Let me take the opportunity to remind you of the hoss:

I'm fantastic at shifting from 1st gear to 2nd gear (with my left hand, no less!) and backing the hoss up... all on flat ground, mind you. But driving through the incredibly steep hills of Pretoria while weaving through narrow roads all without someone telling me about keeping it between 200-300rpms (or something like that)? It just wasn't meant to be. As I told Will, if he was sitting in the passenger seat telling me what to do, different story. But he's not here so...

I had resigned myself to being car-less for the 17 days that Will is gone. I was going to get rides to work by walking down to the guest house 0.5 miles from my house and picking up the ride with the temporary staffers. I was going to walk the 2 mile round trip to the grocery store and/or restaurants to get necessary supplies and sustenance (have so far done this twice since Will has been gone - I love it!). All other fun was just going to be reliant on those who had mercy on my car-less soul.

And then... an offer we couldn't refuse. A friend of ours offered to trade cars during Will's absence, allowing me to graciously drive their automatic Volvo station wagon (I LOVE IT) while they took our beloved Hoss, their dream car (and they promptly took it on safari).

When I first got behind the wheel, it was weird. WEIRD. I hadn't sat in a driver's seat since for 10 months! But that wasn't what was weird. It was the seat belt coming over my right shoulder instead of my left. It was being in a car low to the ground after riding in the Defender for so many months. It was getting acclimated to a car with all the bells and whistles (I'm in love with the seat warmer, thankyouverymuch. the dingdingding to let you know you're about to back into something is awesome too).

For my practice lesson, I successfully backed out and conquered a round-about. Woohoo. And then I hit a curb. All confidence was shattered as I thought, there. I've done it. I've busted their front bumper (I didn't, for the record). And so the car has pretty much sat in my driveway, for fear that I somehow have an inability to grasp the sheer size of that car (did I mention that this is a volvo station wagon and not a teeny Yarus type car?).

But I'm getting better. I am still pulling through parking spaces and going to the most empty part of the (patrolled) parking lot to get a space as the parking spaces are teeny here and I just don't feel confident that I will pull myself into the space successfully. The streets go from being extremely narrow to those "luxurious wide lanes" that Elaine finds on Seinfeld, thanks to Kramer. At times I feel I have enough space, at other times I feel that the car next to me is going to side-swipe me (in reality, there's probably like 6 foot of space between us - who knows).

The thing is... I've realized I miss driving. I actually really enjoy it. I love getting in a car and singing along to the radio as loud as I want (I usually tone it down a notch for Will so as to not sing full volume in his face as he drives). I actually think round-abouts are a bit fun. I realize I really miss not being able to jump in the car and drive for two miles to see someone I love.

Tonight I'm happy to report that I drove to the gym. I went to kick-boxing, which was actually really really fun. I enjoyed the instructor and the variety of the moves presented in the class. My plan is to go to the gym and try new classes this week. Tomorrow night I'm trying a class called Powerpump, which I'm hoping is like Body Pump, the best class ever. Chelsea's beloved Zumba class is being offered for the first time on Thursday night, so I am definitely going to that. Some pilates and yoga may be mixed in there somewhere... I am just looking forward to mixing up my exercise routine (and being in town long enough to go to the gym instead of traveling!).

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