The subtitle of this post should be “True Confessions of My Initial Desperate Housewife Days in Germany.”
I decided to depart my single, independent life four years ago when I moved to Germany to marry my now husband. It involved making a lot of significant changes in my life all at once including learning German, leaving a metropolis of the world (London) to move to the metropolis of the unheard of Ostalbkreis (Aalen), leaving gainful employment, and moving in with someone for the first time in my life. But what surprisingly overwhelmed me the most during this period in my life was learning how to drive in Germany. To clarify, I had had my driver’s license from the age of 17, but as an American, I was only ever required to drive an automatic car. However, I had always wanted to learn how to drive stick shift, as we call it. In fact, it was among my top three goals while living in Germany (the other two being learning to speak German and becoming more comfortable riding a bike). I had always considered being able to drive a manual car to be a good life skill to learn so was happy to have an impetus to finally do so.
I didn’t think it would be so hard. My new husband found a driving instructor for me, and I figured that after a week’s worth of lessons, I would be driving myself to my daily German classes at the Goethe Institute in Schwäbisch Hall, a good hour’s drive away from Aalen, in no time.
I’ll cut to the chase now and say that this was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life. READ MORE »