I have a list of things I'd like to do while I'm here. Some are travel goals, some are deeper ones like spiritual growth, figuring out what to do with my life, etc...
And I want to learn how to drive a manual car. A daunting and scary task? Somewhat!
I had my first driving lesson today with Randy, the dad of my students. It was kind (and brave!) of him to agree to teach me because I know sometimes when I'm stressed out driving my automatic car I freak out a little bit. Like when I'm trying to parallel park and a line of cars is waiting impatiently for me to get out of their way, or trying to park in the cramped parking lots of LA. Panic!
But as I said, he was kind enough to take me in. After some explanation of how to shift and use the clutch and some observation time while he drove, I was ready to get behind the wheel. A brief bout of panic took over when he pulled over to switch but I pushed it aside and powered on! And I have to say, I didn't do so bad! No parking lots for me, we started on roads. (Nearly empty roads around warehouses, but still.) It's a totally different rhythm to get in, using 2 feet to drive, but after about the 8th or 9th time around one block I started to get the hang of it! I only stalled out the car once, maybe twice, but I think all beginners do that. (right??)
Then I was ready to be around other cars. We went up and down one stretch of road outside of town, where I wouldn't have to stop and start so much. Spain also has an abundance of traffic circles, which actually made it easier for me. I only got beeped at once for not pulling out fast enough because I was being extra cautious, but in general people here are fairly considerate drivers. With such narrow streets all over, you really have no choice but to wait for a car to pull out in front of you. All the roundabouts felt weird to me at first, and I don't think I've driven around one since I was last in New Jersey, but I think they've grown on me!
All this to say, I think today was a success. I have another lesson on Thursday, where maybe we'll practice hills and going in reverse. Considering I live on the side of a huge hill with lots of twists and turns to drive up, I think that would be a good skill to practice. The idea of driving up up up these little roads makes me start to panic slightly, but I'm determined to try!
Happy driving :)