Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I have my driver's license!

After nearly a year in residence in the Netherlands...

After nearly six months of not being allowed to drive...

After four attempts at the Theory Exam (one of the most difficult in the world)...

After six lessons for the Practical Exam...

After doing my Practical Exam in Dutch (and holding a conversation while driving)...

After the rigormarole of Dutch beauracracy...

I received my Dutch driver's license.


It has been a long time coming - long awaited by both me and my co-workers (who were forced to chaffeur me around in the meantime). I am now free to drive in the Netherlands.

When I passed the Theory Exam (unexpectedly, as I'm convinced it is pure chance and luck that determines who - if anyone - passes), those of us who passed nearly cried with joy. I'm still a little stunned that it ever happened. The practical exam was interesting - the examiner spent most of the time chatting with me about my church and job, just giving me a few instructions here and there ("turn left here" or "take me to the airport"). But I have been prevented from driving for so long, that I'm a little nervous driving now - so, in fact, I'm a worse driver after this process.

But at least it is over.

This was the last, final step of my more-or-less complete administrative resettlement in the Netherlands. The only thing remaining is my first year of income tax to be paid... next year. But otherwise, I'm an official and complete resident of the Netherlands. I'm European.

Just in time, too. Perhaps a year for all this to happen isn't such a bad timeline. But, man, it sucked not being able to drive my own errands.

The silver lining to this story? Christie and I learned by heart all the best bike routes for virtually all our needs within about a five kilometer radius. Now, a bike tour from our home to the city center is part of our repertoire we can offer to visitors. And taking a seven-kilometer round-trip walk for a few trifles seems like nothing out of the ordinary.

Perhaps there's something to not-driving after all.

Ah, who am I kidding? I'd rather drive.

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