Aside from getting married and having children, nothing in life has caused me to pray more than driving in Bangkok. Bangkok streets are full of potholes (nothing that a Minnesota resident isn't used to after a long winter), traffic jams, lanes that are created out of nowhere, busses that pay no attention to you, pedestrians that cross whenever they wish, and motorbikes that zip in and out of traffic (usually giving me a partial heart attack).
Photo from google
Photo from google
So needless to say, when we decided to get a car, the thought of driving here terrified me. I wasn't sure I could do it. I mean, I was the kid growing up who was fine not getting my driver's license. There was a time where I thought my brothers, my parents and then my husband would drive me around so basically I would never need to learn. Clearly I did get my license, but driving has never been something that I enjoy. But I knew that having a car here was really a necessity with the twins along with the move to our new condo...
We had become every taxi driver's worst nightmare by the end of last year with our stroller that was too large to fit in the trunk due to their natural gas tank, and needed to be put in the front seat but often times was dirty and got in the way of shifting. And we were quite the spectacle getting in and out when we had groceries...those poor drivers were patient with us, thankfully. But then there were the times that the twins would be screaming their heads off, banging on the windows, crawling around in the back, and causing a ruckus. Two words my friends: car seats. Yes, I know they are law in America, but they aren't here in Thailand...boy on boy, do car seats make a world of difference. Additionally, we have had plenty of a scary scary drivers...the kind where you fear for your life. And then to add kids into the mix...yep, we knew we were done with taxis.
Then there was our move. We moved to a condo complex about 15 minutes from school. It is more of a Thai neighborhood than Parkland ever was, so it feels a little more remote. There isn't a convenient taxi stand just right outside the complex (there are motos, but not taxis), so if you need a taxi, you have to pay a moto 20 baht to go fetch you a taxi.
Anyway, having a car has been life changing. It has made trips to school, church, the park, small group, play group, etc. possible without feeling overwhelmed and worn. Mike has taken to driving nicely...he is confident and directionally knowledgable. He has had very little hesitation driving a manual on steep parking ramps, backing into parking spots, parallel parking from the opposite side, navigating traffic, etc.
I have been slower to warming up to it all. Despite owning a manual car back in the states, I have had to kind of relearn how to drive because of a more sensitive clutch. Driving with kids is a different experience too...especially if I am alone with the twins. Screaming children, Bangkok traffic, being slightly directionally challenged, going somewhere new...wow, talk about a stressful situation for me. However, I have gotten significantly more comfortable, slightly more aggressive, and much more confident as I have learned to navigate the roads better. I decided to start backing into a parking spot at our condo (it is not necessary) to get practice, which has made parking at the mall a breeze and not stressful when people are waiting behind me.