Becoming a beginner at what feels like everything these days has probably been the most humbling experience. Learning to drive in Italy has been one of the most stressful things to learn. For the first 2 weeks in Italy, we were able to rent a car, and I was very thankful that it was an automatic transmission. It allowed me to gain a bit of confidence on the incredibly brutal streets of Rome! Until we had all of our legal documents in hand we were not allowed to purchase a car, and I was relieved to know I would not be forced to learn to drive a manual transmission any time soon. I was content to walk the streets of our quaint neighborhood, even if the weather was unbearably cold!
The day finally arrived though when all of our legal documents were in our hands. We were granted permission to purchase a car and suddenly I was facing my fear of driving in Rome, where the only predictability is the unpredictability of the drivers!
Relearning how to drive has been one of the most surreal experiences. I remember learning to drive years ago as a youth, but now I had 4 small children in the car! All those fears I remember having when I first learned to drive came flooding back, but even more so than before as I heard the laughter and giggles of all the small people I had been granted the privilege to be responsible for, restrained in the backseat of our car.
After a few weeks though, driving became easier. The girls were incredibly encouraging as we pulled into our little garage, and they would cheer “good job on not killing the car this time mommy!” That’s something I didn’t get the last time I was learning to drive! My own little entourage that tells me “you can do it!” as I pull out into traffic or drive up hills that have speedbumps in weird places.
The best part though is the freedom it’s allowed me. I’m no longer feeling like I have to work my day and schedule around people who can drive me somewhere, trying to figure out the best way to get somewhere using public transit, or leaving somewhere early because of the walking time. I’ve been reminded that doing something that is hard and scary, sometimes has great rewards! The best part is I didn’t have to do it alone. I had my wonderful coach, Chris, and the sweetest little cheerleaders pushing me forward. Being a beginner at things isn’t so bad, especially when the rewards of learning something new is so great.