Driving Test, Celebrations & July 11th
It was essential that I write to you and tell you how my driving test went because you have all been walking this journey with me!! If you want me to skip right to it… I PASSED!!! Now I’ll tell you more of the details, how I celebrated and why the date 11th of July is significant to me!
I woke up early on Monday to take the car to the garage. One of the front lights wasn’t working… panic! Oh and two days before my hearing aid stopped working… MAJOR panic! But both of those issues God quickly fixed… phew! Thank you God! Anyways dad and I drove back to pick up mum so that I could keep driving whilst dad was in the office. It was good to be out driving in the peak hour traffic, people going to school, work etc… since my test wasn’t until 1.40pm I figured if I can drive through all that traffic in the morning, I’ll be fine in the afternoon.
Let’s skip back a bit, when I woke up I actually felt good. I felt like everything was going to be ok. In fact I was dancing around to Rihanna’s “Umbrella” song in the shower and kept playing the line “I’ve been praying more than ever!!” in my head haha. However when push came to shove, in the car with mum I was really getting stressed. I just could NOT get my parking in a bay or my reverse parallels right. After we picked up dad I had an hour’s break before he and I went back out to keep trying. The thing is… I can drive. I’m a really good driver… it’s just two of the five possible maneuvers they may ask me to do were a bit of a struggle… and in order for me to pass the test I needed to not stuff them up. It would have been a massive shame to have done so well driving on a test to stuff the whole lot up by “touching the kerb“.
We got to the test centre about 40 minutes early and took a little walk… I saw a dead and massively mangled rabbit on the road and thought “Oh my gosh?!?!?! This isn’t a good thing to see right before my test?!?!” hahahah. Closer to the time I took the car into the test centre and reversed into the bay… thankfully the bays are really very wide in there and so I was fine. The car was in between the white lines! Haha.
On the advice of a friend, I used the toilet before the test hahaha!! I was really nervous and could barely sign my signature on a document to say the car was insured. I used our car as it was the one I learnt it. So many people have given me so much advice about my driving test. Some said “Don’t worry it took me 3 goes“, others took 5 goes… And that’s great to know it’s not a disaster if I fail the first time… but it did make me think “Oh my word I have no hope!!” The night before I read that God is on my side. And I knew a lot of prayer went toward me and my driving test by so many people. My instructors gave me all the advice I ever needed to know… and these were all the things I just had to trust.
Eye test… check, two safety questions… check. She asked me to explain how I would test the brake lights and then she asked how I would check the head and tail lights. Easy. Then the actual 30-35 minutes of driving started.
The day before dad and I came up to the test centre to sort of just check it out. We saw that immediately outside the test centre was a stop sign on the road but no other markings. We both knew straight away that this would be the absolute first indication as to whether you pass or fail. Immediately to the right of the test centre was the ambulance station… pretty clever way to see whether people are taking in signs on the road. So I stopped, hand brake on, looked around and went when it was safe to do so.
The rest of my test I was nervous, my gear changes weren’t bad but not my best… my leg wouldn’t stop shaking haha. I did ten minutes of independent driving and only did one mini roundabout?! Thankfully the first half of the test was all places I knew and drove many times… So I knew little quirky things about those roads. Which gave me confidence. The second part was places I hadn’t been before but I still felt confident. National speed limits, one way streets…. And one maneuver. Reserve around a corner!!! YES!!!! My strongest one!! It started well until some how I turned on the windscreen wipers?!?!!?! What the heck?!!?!? Whilst trying to complete the maneuver I was trying to turn them off and lost control of the car a little. But due to good observations I managed to regain control of the car, straighten up, not hit anything and finish perfectly. Only got a minor for it. YES! Thank you Jesus!!! That would have been awful to have hit the kerb and my test would have been an immediate fail!
We drove back to the test centre and my examiner told me just to pull into a parking bay front ways. Dad who was watching from a distance saw this and though “Oh no, this isn’t good” because everyone we had watched before were all asked to reverse in. I don’t know what I expected her to tell me. I felt like my test went well over all but was bracing myself for a fail. But then she said “Congratulations, you passed!” And I was like “OH MY GOODNESS NO WAY?!?!?!” She then went onto tell me I only used 5 of the 16 minors that I was allowed. Amazing!! God is so good!
She got out the car and didn’t look or smile at dad, who was at this point thinking very bad news. He opened the car door and there I was with a big grin holding up my pass certificate. I even had to say “Dad I passed” because he just was looking at me like “Is that a pass? Did you pass?” He burst into tears and then called mum who too burst into tears haha. It’s been such a stressful journey for us all. So much pressure on us all for me to pass that it was such a release and relief to have passed. First time. Thank you Jesus!
Funny enough I stalled the car on the way home haha. Laura and I went for a drive later that evening and when I asked how she thought my driving was now… she ever so sweetly told me “I’m not sweating and the car isn’t nervous anymore” hahahahah. Whatta joker 😛 My first official drive alone was when I dropped off Laura at home and picked up dad in town. The phone was ringing off the hook all afternoon and facebook went crazy with “likes” and notifications. So many congratulations… I’m so privileged to have walked this journey with so many. To celebrate Laura and I went for a “date” in the car to Talkin Tarn (a small lake) and then to Asda to pick up ingredients for Pina Coladas. We watched “Game Plan” as a family and drank Pina Coladas. Yey!
My advice to anyone taking their test would be… firstly, don’t do it until you are sure you can pass. I drove for hours, over a long period of time, and in all sorts of conditions and situations. I did at least 100 hours, some with a driving instructor, some with the parents. Secondly, girls with long hair, tie it up; and both guys/girls make sure you make your mirror checks obvious. Thirdly, observation is critical. If you make a mistake you can easily correct it if you know what’s around you at all times. Fourthly, pray… a lot! Lastly, use the bathroom before your test 😛
Now… finally… why is the 11th of July important to me? Well… two years ago on the 11th of July, it was the last time I ever saw Mike. I may have said goodbye to him on the 12th but I have never been able to work that out. In a way the 11th is an anniversary for me and in a way I want to celebrate that day in my own appropriate way. Last year I hung out with friends on the 11th/12th… this year… I passed my test. I didn’t plan for it to be on that day to take my test… somehow it just happened and God in his mercy made it a great day. I’m sure Mike would have been proud of me… just like Laura was. She’s so sweet and I love them both to pieces.
Thank you again to everyone who prayed for me, encouraged me, congratulated me, “liked” my status on facebook… you’re all so awesome!