Expat: the other side of the road

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THE EXPAT EXPERIENCE

I’ve taken to doing our weekly food shopping very early in the morning. Partly because our younger two are always up by 6.30, and therefore so are we (our oldest is a 6yo teenager and would stay in bed all day if he could!). But mainly because my favourite food shop is on a road that one of the mums in my ‘moms group’ refers to as the ninth circle of hell.

Until we moved to the States I had never driven on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Much less the wrong side of the road in an automatic, in which I kept trying to change gear and instead punched the window.

It took several weeks for me to pluck up the courage to drive at all, and then only with DH in the car with me, reminding me which side of the road I should be on and doing the navigating for me so that all I had to do was concentrate on the driving bit.

I have to be honest, it wasn’t pleasant, for either of us. He was convinced I was going to hit the parked cars, I was convinced I was going to hit the oncoming traffic… Drive at the line was shouted at frequent intervals. Are you mad, was shouted back.

Anyway, after a few weeks of gradually less terrifying journeys (the less said about my first experience of the freeway the better) I decided it was time to go out on my own. The beauty of living in a small town is that most local destinations involve an average of three corners… However I still couldn’t bring myself to attempt ‘that road’.

To put my fear in context, ‘that road’ is a three lane freeway with no slip roads. It’s a case of Stop Sign… AND GO! Into traffic whizzing along at 55 miles an hour… (At this point; automatic car, all is forgiven, I love you).

But, I finally thought; this is ridiculous, get a grip… so I do the food shopping at 8am on a Sunday morning :)
 

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