Saturday, March 13, 2010

Swirling Thoughts #124 – I’m 16 again!

As much as Bob and I talk to each other (a lot), all official communiques are via email. (I’m talking about when he’s here!)

And so, 6 days after we landed in Israel I received this email (from Bob in the other room) outlining the procedure for procuring an Israeli drivers license.

July 2009
1. Until we get our Israeli license, we can use our US license – for 1 year.
2. To get an Israeli license we need to go to some office with our New York license (copies of front and back). Jerusalem locations: Malha Mall or Talpiot.
3. They give you a green form -- go to an eye doctor and regular MD -- each need to sign this form attesting to your ability to drive (no restrictions).
4. Take the form and everything else to Misrad HaRishui in Talpiot. They give you a form so you can now take driving lessons.
5. Schedule, but do not yet take, a driving lesson with an instructor.
6. Take the Misrad HaRishui paperwork to the post office and pay the 60 NIS fee for the driving test.
7. Take the test.
8. If pass, then go back to Misrad HaRishui and get temporary license.

September 2009
Step 2 and half of Step 3 completed before a delicious Israeli breakfast in the Malha Mall
As it turned out, ‘some office in Malha Mall’ was an eyeglass store – they have a special desk at which you get the green form and conveniently, there is an optician who is qualified to fill out the eye doctor portion of the form.

September 2009
The doctor’s visit

This was easy peasy. A quick visit to the medical center, some cursory questions about our health and voila! On to step 4.

October 2009
Step 4 - after the Hafseka (break)
Remember this? The DMV of Jerusalem. Me, Bob and a whole lot of aspiring Jerusalem cab drivers waiting for the licensing bureau windows to re-open after the daily morning BREAK.

We followed up with Israeli breakfast and then we called Eddie, our driver’s ed instructor.

October 2009

Patient, calm (for someone totally obsessed with the cleanliness of his car), Hebrew-speaking Eddie. I met him in front of Misrad HaRishui – you can imagine the scene – me, 9 months pregnant not able to leave my car since I did not have shekels for the meter trying to explain in broken Hebrew what my car looks like (dusty, grey) and what I look like (fat, not moving) before my cell phone dies. We made the connection (I gave him the papers – step 5, sort of) and then it was time for a real break.

Four months and one baby later
We resumed with renewed enthusiasm when we realized that after a year, instead of taking one driving lesson, we’d each need to take something like 24 driving lessons.

I received this email from Bob early last week:
thurs at 9:20 -- driving practice
fri at 11 - test.

March 11, 2010
Driving practice – the step between 5 and 6
We did this yesterday. I went first. A 40 minute tiyul around Jerusalem. Eddie gently reminded me to use my blinkers, to turn the wheel hand over hand, to watch out for pedestrians and to use my mirrors. As I timidly inched along the streets at some 20 km per hour (12.4 miles per hour), Eddie asked me how long I’ve been driving. “22 years,” I told him. “So then drive!”

Bob had his turn next. An hour into it he called to tell me they were stuck in traffic but that in the meanwhile I should find a babysitter because our driving tests will be together.

March 11, 2010
Step 6
Conveniently there was a post office at the entrance of the driving lesson/test area. Maybe too convenient. We waited an hour, paid in 30 seconds (the fee went up to 65 nis) and then, famished, made our way to Israeli breakfast.

March 12, 2010
Finally – the big test
We woke up early. Bob offered to let me drive into Jerusalem. I declined. I wanted to save my best for the test. How do you practice not resting your elbow out the window, anyway?

We returned to the lesson/test area, waited for Eddie to Windex/Ajax/Sano his windshield, side view mirrors and headlights, and met the other woman who was to be tested with us. Our tester arrived and we loaded into the car. As I (signaled first and) drove out of the lot, tester riding shotgun, Bob and the other lady in the back, we waved to Eddie.

They say you don’t get your results on the spot because one time, a person who’d been told they failed the driving test pulled out a gun and shot the tester
And so, as we anxiously waited for Eddie to call us, we replayed the driving test over and over. I didn’t signal as I pulled over to park. Bob let someone waive him into a traffic circle. Would we fail? And so it went, all afternoon until we got the call from Eddie. Time to prepare for Step 8!

Sunday we’ll celebrate with Israeli breakfast.

No comments:

Post a Comment