Three long months of not being able to drive. Three months of needing to plan my entire day in advance to be able to let a driver know what I have planned and when I need to be where. Impossible with two young kids. “How posh,” you might think. Well, I’d happily have swapped having a driver for being able to drive myself and the kids around anytime.
Two months of driving lessons. (Maltese licenses are not yet eligible to be exchanged for UAE ones, so we need to go through theory and practical lessons, as well as testing of course, from scratch.) Two months of trying to fit in an hour of lessons around the children’s meal and nap times, as well as around David’s schedule – he would be the one looking after them while I was in lessons. And ladies are not able to have lessons after 17:30… don’t get me started on that one!
One month of eyeing up my brand new car and not being able to drive her. One month of David telling me what a beautiful drive she is, and well done on my choice of car. One month of wondering: will I ever drive her and be able to still smell that perfectly new smell?
Today was D-Day. After a series of botched bookings by the driving centre (I believe I’ve walked in to one driving lesson that wasn’t met with the likes of “Your lesson is tomorrow.” “Er, no it’s not.” “Oh oops we’ve made a mistake.” They even managed to book my final test for the wrong day and time…), I had my final hour of lessons this morning with a fantastic Pakistani gentleman who did an excellent job of killing off any nervousness I may have been feeling. “You’ll pass first time,” he told me. I hoped so.
An hour and a half later, some nerves had built up again, I was in the car with another lady who completely messed up her parking test (poor woman), I then got behind the wheel and despite not having an entirely eventless test myself, my examiner seemed willing to give me the benefit of the doubt: “You’ve passed, my dear.”
I still can’t drive, of course. It will be a couple more days before I have a physical license, and then comes the fun of training my (very, very shocking) sense of direction on Dubai roads. It’s going to be interesting. But I can’t wait.
This bird is finally about to be set free.