December 07, 2006
Successful Haggai Driving Test
Honor and Glory be to the God of the Universe: He blessed me with a PASS on my 2nd UK practical driving test this morning. I am exceedingly grateful. I have quite a few thoughts on this:
THE HAGGAI TEST ROUTE
May I recommend that anyone seeking some reassurance before taking such a test peruse the book of Haggai in the Bible. It "happened" that that was my assigned reading in my regular "read the Bible in a year" schedule for today, and I thought to myself, "Ugh [sorry, God], I just can't stomach a minor prophet this morning before my test. I need to read something firmly and clearly encouraging and easy to grasp." But then I just glanced down the page at what I had underlined the last time I read this book, and I was hooked. Here are the excerpts that buoyed me right before entering the test centre this morning:
Give careful thought to your ways.
"Give careful thought to your ways...so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD.
"I am with you," declares the LORD. So the LORD stirred up the spirit of...[Katherine]
"But now be strong...and work. For I am with you," declares the LORD Almighty..."And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear."
"In this place I will grant peace," declares the LORD Almighty.
Now give careful thought... give careful thought... Give careful thought.
From this day on I will bless you.
"For I have chosen you," declares the LORD Almighty.
Excerpts from Haggai, the Driving License Book of the Universe
(Haggai 1:5, 7, 8, 13; 2:4, 5, 9, 15, 18, 19, 23)
I felt so sustained. It was the perfect mixture of wise admonishment and strengthening promises and cherishing love. I felt that even if I didn't pass, it was okay because God had chosen me, even if the DSA didn't. And He'd give me peace. The promise to bless would be in whatever way God chose.
JUST LIKE GIDEON
I almost felt like Gideon this morning, when God made 31,700 of his 32,000 men go home and God brought about the victory with only 300 men, just to show it was only His grace and power that made things happen. Last time I took the test, I had just finished 18 hours of driving lessons, was well-rested, it was a sunny day, I was healthy, and it wasn't Christmas season or near the end of school. I failed. This time, I hadn't practiced anything in 2 weeks, was tired, it was drizzling in the morning, I wasn't feeling too well for monthly reasons, and the holiday pressure is on. God brought about a pass, showing again that He doesn't need any sort of perfect conditions in order to accomplish His purposes.
GOD'S PATTERN FOR US THIS YEAR: SECOND TIME AROUND
My mom pointed something out to me two weeks ago:
I have been thinking about your UK experiences with authorities, and it occurs to me that they do not want to give you what you need the first go for anything! Think about it! The work permit, for starters, your address, your phone number even. And then there's the house...even turned down for that the first time! This must be the country of second chances. AND YET, you did get the work permit the second time, and your first choice house the second time, and even the kids' school was not what you thought you were going to do the first time!
I feel certain you will be getting your licence in the standard UK manner, the second time around. Remember your trip to France? You were all set to fly to Switzerland, but the second venture by train was the winner! It is amazing when you add them all up, how many instances you thought you had done everything necessary and correctly, and yet, it did not work the first time.
She was right again. Mothers can do that a lot. :-)
NITTY-GRITTY DETAILS FOR THE CURIOUS
- BUMPS IN THE ROAD, WHAT NEXT? Before I even took my test today, there were warnings that I might not even be allowed to. The examiner (a different one from last time) wanted me to sign the statement saying I'd been living in the country 185 days of the last 12 months. When I told him I'd have to cross that bit out before signing the paper since I'd only been here since July, he told me I couldn't take the test then. I brought up the fact I'd already taken a test and the other fellow had told me to cross it out, and so this new examiner went upstairs to ask his supervisor. I sat in the waiting room a bit amused by this curious turn of events. He eventually came back down and said that his objection was only for holders of other European licenses, not U.S. ones. He also said that normally American drivers are only taking their test after the regularly mentioned 6 months in the country, or, more often, after the whole year is up, so that's why he hadn't encountered this situation before.
- MANOEUVRES: On my first test, I was asked to do the turn in the road and the parallel park. I got one minor mark for not quite enough observations on the parallel park. This time I was asked to do the other two manoeuvres: the reverse around a corner and the bay park (since we were the last test to leave the parking area, due to the residence complications). I got one minor mark for pulling forward to straighten before completing the bay park - this puzzled me greatly since my instructors had specifically told me to pull forward and then back again to straighten, even if I was already perfectly positioned. Something's weird about that. At least it wasn't a failing error!
- MY RESULTS: I passed the test with three minor marks off. You are allowed up to 15 before the minors would total to a fail at 16 points off. The three issues were that bay park thing I already mentioned, one instance of signaling before checking my mirrors instead of vice versa, and finally one mark off for "undue hesitation" in the "progress" category (I missed an opportunity to go at a roundabout when other cars were going straight and taking the exit before the one I was coming out of). But I REALLY don't mind these marks off - it's the pass that counts. People sometimes talk about "going for a clean sheet," meaning no minor marks off at all (happens to one in a thousand or something like that), but I think that's distracting from the goal - what you really need is a big fat juicy pass; the minors are the side dish to go with it.
- CLEARING UP THE U.S. LICENSE VALIDITY FIASCO: After I had safely received my test pass certificate, I broached the subject of what I had been told at the previous test, about not being able to use my U.S. license any more after a fail. This examiner explained that the DVLA says one thing (license remains valid) and the POLICE say the opposite. I see the complication! He also pointed out that they've been discussing the matter at the office and they are now aware of what the DVLA says, which I think will be the rule, since they are the licensing agency. Good.
- TIMING: It will be another 4 weeks or so until I actually get my full UK license. They took away my provisional one and will process it for me via the DVLA in Swansea (Wales), who will mail me the real thing eventually. Given that I first applied for the provisional license on September 15th, if I receive the full license 4 weeks from today, that will have taken 16 weeks all together for the whole process. Boy am I glad I started when I did and that that's all over with. What an enormous relief. Done with seven months to spare. :-) I have a personally very small margin for myself in dealing with authorities. They make me sweat. Also I'm really thankful I passed the test before going back to the U.S. for the holidays and switching sides of the road again. I didn't want to get confused all over again twice and THEN be tested.
- USEFULNESS: Not only will I be legal to drive in the UK for the rest of my life, but I could also exchange this British license for one from a different European country should we move to one at some point in the future (like, just say, Switzerland or France...my husband is rolling his eyes at this point; I love you, David - did you catch this hidden message in the middle of all this rambling?), without having to take a practical test (as I understand it at this point). As for the usefulness of the two tests themselves: I can now identify with all you UK driving test takers, pass or fail! I've experienced both! Handy, that.
- WEATHER: So far today on test day #2, here's what the weather has given us in Berkshire and Surrey:
* Drizzly, with wet roads
* Cloudy, a break in the rain during my test (thank You!)
* Bright and sunny, could have used sunglasses but I was in the middle of my test and decided not to be distracted by looking for them
* DARK clouds right after the test was over
* Downpour of rain
* HAIL on my car in the middle of a major roundabout (first time I've seen hail in the UK)
* Very windy
* Lightning, thunder
* Sunny again, breezy
And on this VICTORIOUS day, I thank God for His kindness and I celebrate my son, whose middle school play opens tonight...How to Eat Like a Child. Go for it, Jason! We love you no matter what! It'll be a thrill to see you up on stage. Now off to bake some spice cookies to bring to the performance.
December 7, 2006 | Permalink
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You are nothing if not thorough, my darling Haggai-inspired daughter! Loved your call this morning, love you, your family, our family, and continually thank God for His many blessings to us all. I am also honored to be included in your blog. My own mother, your grandmother, a.k.a."Grammy"...was my role model, and the most fun person I have ever known! Happy cookie baking! And Jason is already a star in my book!
Posted by: Patricia Taylor | Dec 7, 2006 2:21:22 PM
Yay!! Super congrats!
If you hit my blog, you can see what the drivers license looks like n Kenya. (I still have my UK license, safely tucked away!)
Posted by: paul merrill | Dec 7, 2006 2:57:10 PM
Congrats on passing the test! You have much to be thankful for and look forward to. I look forward to hearing about the play.
Posted by: Melene | Dec 7, 2006 3:02:52 PM
Congrats! Praise God for all his gifts, and all you learned in the process :-)
Posted by: Julie | Dec 7, 2006 3:31:43 PM
And who said that the minor prophets weren't relevant!
Posted by: Martin LaBar | Dec 8, 2006 12:59:20 PM
Yay!! I'm so glad you passed!! Congrats!!
Posted by: Helen | Dec 12, 2006 3:16:01 AM
SOOO glad for you. And for us, who get to read your uplifting thoughts on seemingly frustrating situations :-) It's so fun to live today, to keep up with fabulous, yet far away family....Now how about Jason's play?
Posted by: Angie | Dec 13, 2006 4:35:10 AM