These are my lovely roommates, terrified in the backseat:
So here at A21 it is incredibly important that the interns be able to run errands. Picking up lunch. Going to the grocery store. Getting DVDs for the weekend. Picking up House Mom at the bus stop. This sounds fairly simple.
It is not.
Running errands means driving one of two little European vans up and down hills and mountains, around scary corners that traffic flies out from with no warning, and down city streets narrower than Austin, Texas and more crowded than University of Houston at 8:25 am. The stop signs, traffic lights, and speed limits are basically suggestions. The police aren’t called unless an accident is so serious the car is undriveable or someone is injured. Right of way goes to whoever happens to be the most aggressive driver in (or approaching) the traffic circle. Oh, and these little vans both have manual transmissions.
I’m not the kind of person to hold on to fears once I’ve recognized them. Most of the time I’m gung-ho about conquering my psyche. Self-control. Responsibility. These things are at the top of my list. My anxiety about driving here was at its peak about two days ago when I made my first attempt to stop and take off again on an incline crossing a main road. I stalled twice and then another car pulled up behind me. I had to let the lovely, patient girl teaching me take over. Dear Pride, I’m sorry but you’re going to have to go ahead and get in the backseat. And it’s probably just best if you stay there. Now when I learned to drive a standard car, I had no problem. In my super flat east Texas neighborhood, I didn’t even stall out until the third time I took off, and then was under instruction just so I could know what it felt like. So failing after three tries SERIOUSLY freaked me out.
I came back to the apartment seriously distressed because one of the girls who drives is leaving next week, and the other leaves in two and a half weeks. And then it’s just me and my soon-to-be fellow intern who just drove a manual car for the first time last weekend. Doing everything by ourselves. I tried to look up tips for driving like this online. I tried to watch a video on how a manual transmission works. I thought for a brief second about everything that could go wrong and how I could possibly get out of this seemingly unmanageable responsibility.
And then I got over it. My God is the God of Supernatural Ability and Fears Overcome. And I’m pretty stubborn myself. It’s just driving around Greece, not climbing the Himalayan Mountains for goodness sake.
So today I slid behind the wheel again, drove up the incline driveway, through the electric gate, out across two lanes of traffic, shut the gate via finnicky clicker button almost as stubborn as I am, and headed up the road. Ran an errand AND THEN drove all the way back to the apartment. Crazy traffic. Crazy hills. Didn’t stall out or panic once.
In other news, I found this awesome place that sells crepes. Savory for dinner, chocolate with banana and strawberries for dessert. I may or may not have been there three times in the past 24 hours.
Also, super bright pen light + giant water bottle = makeshift lamp.
Altogether, the first nine days have been a success. Night y’all.