Update: I'm a pretty confident driver now! I have a few near misses under my belt, to be sure, but so far no harm done to anyone or anything. (Knock on wood.) It's a nice feeling.
Cue the angels singing!
Three years is a long time to own a car and not drive. But I like walking, and our neighbourhood is made for it. I also live with a very capable driver who is calm enough behind the wheel to not flinch at the craziness that happens on Malta's roads. Who learned to drive in a manual (stick shift) car. Who switches between driving on the left side of the road and driving on the right side of the road like it's no big deal. And he was gracious enough to chauffeur me around the island for the past three years.
That is, until my last birthday.
This year my birthday gift was car insurance (groan) which I had been unable to procure until now due to insurance regulations in Malta on convertibles.
Newly insured, and absolutely terrified, I got behind the wheel of our little blue car a couple weeks ago. And I drove. In Malta. With the crazies. On the left side of the road. Shifting gears. And no one died.
Driving in Malta is like driving anywhere else in the Mediterranean: Chaotic, intense, tricky. There are rules but they're not strictly observed. No one stops at stop signs. No one uses signals. Drivers are more guided by intuition (and sometimes, a sense of entitlement) than rule books.
But driving in Malta wasn't as bad as I had convinced myself it would be. In the villages, with their tinier than tiny roads, I held my breath and white-knuckled a lot. In the 'city' we live in I said some very bad words as drivers swerved and ducked around me in traffic. I stalled in the middle of intersections. It took ten minutes for me to back out of our garage. I yelled at my patient teacher a lot (sorry Mike). But we're making slow, jerky progress. And it feels good to be behind the wheel again.
Tell me, what is driving like where you live?