Sunday Dress, Sunday Hat

Good morning, Sunday Morning!

I did something very special this week. I conquered one of my biggest fears. It may seem like nothing to you but it’s a huge deal to me. Driving a car.

You see, here in The Netherlands, driving a car is a lot of a bigger deal than it is in the US. We’re not allowed to start taking lessons before we’re 18 years of age and we generally drive stick shifts. Also, our country is about the size of Rhode Island. We live here with 16 (almost 17 by now?) million people. This obviously makes for a lot of cars, which means that it’s much harder to navigate. Plus, our roads are much less wide (although we do drive smaller cars ;p).

Anyway, here, you have to take at least 40 hours of private driving lessons – you can’t just be taught by someone you know that has a license. Those lessons cost around E50 per hour. The exams cost E300 each. Plus you have to pass a theoretic exam, too, so they know you know all the rules.

I think I had driven for 60 hours with an instructor. I failed my exam twice. I had two instructors – the first was burnt out and started shouting at me whenever I made a mistake, the second told me just before my second exam that she thought I wouldn’t pass anyway.

And so, obviously, I didn’t pass. And that was two years ago. Ever since I had become quite fearful about having to drive myself, or having to do an exam again.

Last Tuesday, my younger brother of 19 years old got his license, he passed his very first exam (which is kind of a rarity in NL). Around me, more and more people were passing their exams and it made me feel more and more like a failure… So I decided I could no longer cower and sit back!

Last Friday I had my first driving lesson in two years. I decided to go to a different driving school – the same one my brother took lessons at – and the instructor was quite amazed at my skills. Apparently I can still drive a car, I just have trouble overseeing the road. Well, that we can work on. I have to admit though I was quite scared when I first got on the road again, but I quickly remembered how much I like driving.

If everything goes well, I might have my license quite soon… Finally.

Next Friday is my next lesson and I’m actually honestly looking forward to it (although not so much to the exam yet… I don’t want to do the exam :( luckily I’ll *have* to).

 

And now, it’s time for another blog mashup :)

Funny & Interesting stuff

Shit My Students Write – Where teachers copy/paste the ridiculous stuff students write in their essays. This really made me laugh!

America’s Most Isolated Federal Prisoner Describes 10,220 Days in Extreme Solitary Confinement @ Solitary Watch – if you’ve followed my blog for a while you know I care about prisoners, however odd that may sound. I feel so sorry for this guy, who has lived in solitary for 28 years… It makes me very angry reading this.

The kingdom was hewn from rocks that floated in air, joined only by the steel of bridges @ io9.com – this is amazing Concept Art. If that artist would make my future book cover I’d be in heaven!

The 6 stages of movie geek evolution @ Blastr.com –  This is too true. Which stage of evolution are you in?

Read Quentin Tarantino’s adorable letter to a 13-year-old From Dusk Till Dawn fan @ io9.com – this made me love Tarantino just a bit more.

The End Is Nigh — For Computers, at Least [INFOGRAPHIC] @ Mashable.com

Thoughts of death increase the appeal of Intelligent Design @ BPS Research Digest – wow, that’s a fabulous study.

Writing, Publishing, Social Media… All that

Plotting the Iceman @ Gene Lempp – This was a very interesting read.

TweetDeck Learning Guide @ Patrick Thunstrom – Learn everything you need to know about working with Tweetdeck here!

The Relic: Part Two @ Jen Kirchner – participate on this great “vote your adventure” adventure! I think this is a great initiative and from what I’ve seen… That Jen is a great writer.

On Giving Readings @ Mystery Writing is Murder – I thought this was a great post. If I publish a book and would have to do readings… I’d probably be too shy and too scared that people would laugh at me for my funny accent.

Little Darlings & Why They Must Die..for Real @ Kristen Lamb – some more brilliant writing advice!

 

That’s all for this week! Tomorrow I will post the very first Flash Fiction Challenge Winner’s work! Stay tuned! :)

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About Manon Eileen

Dutch 23-year-old SF/F YA writer, BSc in Psychology and soon MA in Global Criminology. She is creative, easily bored, and craves tea all the time. Also: "science isn't about why, it's about why not" - Cave Johnson.

View all posts by Manon Eileen
  • http://twitter.com/pathunstrom Patrick Thunstrom

     I swear that learning guide is some sort of magic audience bullet. I’ve been featured in more mashups this week! Thanks, and good luck with your license!

    • http://www.manoneileen.com Manon Eileen

      You’re welcome and thank you :D 

  • http://twitter.com/thesiriuns the Siriuns

    Driving? are you kidding me, lol…that story had me laughing. Yep we have a different perspective in the US.  Never knew something we take for granted could be a big deal & harder to acquire somewhere else…Kudos :-)

    • http://www.manoneileen.com Manon Eileen

       Lol yes it is very very different than in the US. Here you can see a pic of how crowded our highways are http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSL6qjY5DW2bKb4YVNQNnJEVg0cgTzT_QplflpW2FMtjojA1T5U&t=1

  • http://twitter.com/GeneLempp Gene Lempp

    Hi Manon :)

    Driving is a wonderful privilege, sure it can be frightening at first but the freedom it brings to go where you want when you want is well worth the effort. Best of luck, you are very smart and strong and I know you will be able to overcome the challenge!

    Thanks for having in this weeks mashup. I’m honored :)

    • http://www.manoneileen.com Manon Eileen

      Thanks a lot Gene, I appreciate it :D It does indeed give a sense of freedom, were it not that we have splendid public transport here and essentially, one wouldn’t *need*  a license to get by. However, it’s rather handy to have either way.

      And of course, you’re very welcome!  Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://twitter.com/CMStewartWrite CMStewart

    Good luck with your new driving adventures!  Having a driver’s license and driving a car is very liberating. :)

    When I took driver’s ed. in high school, I passed the class, but didn’t pass the official driver’s license test. So I decided to take the entire class over again a couple years later. lol After passing the class for the second time, I passed the test as well, but didn’t drive regularly until my 20s, when I got my first car. I was a barely “fair,” overly cautious driver. And my dyscalculia didn’t help- I got lost simply driving around town too many times to count. After a got a ticket for having no insurance (random license plate check while my car was parked!) I let my driver’s license expire and didn’t bother getting it renewed. Now I don’t drive and I love it. I’m much better at being a passenger than a driver.

    That 28 years in solitary confinement is nauseating. His only reading material was a Bible?! And what’s the point of keeping buzzing lights on 24/7?! There are so many things about this that make no sense. In cases like these, the death penalty is preferable to this kind of long-term torture, IMO. There are ways of executing people that are cheaper than incarcerating them. I mean really, what is the point of this? They’re certainly not trying to rehabilitate him, they’re trying to make him “more” insane. And taxpayers are footing the bill. No civilized government does this. :(

    • http://www.manoneileen.com Manon Eileen

      Lol thank you @twitter-42650959:disqus and thanks for sharing that story! I honestly always considered myself to be a better passenger, too, hehe. Sorry to hear it was such a bad experience for you though.

      I too was quite sickened by that article. I feel so intensely sad for that man, and all those other people that are put through the same ordeal. It’s basically just endless torture, in which case I’d even say the death penalty would be fairer. It’s incredibly sad and it’s surprising to see that a “civilized”  government is doing such a thing (although I guess the US government isn’t a stranger to torture, according to those articles you shared before).

      It makes me very frustrated, especially because it makes them more insane than that it rehabilitates them. It’s *so* contradictory you’d wonder whether they’re just SUPER stupid or ignorant or whatever, or if they’re aware of it and doing it on purpose. It has to be either one of those and I’m afraid it’s the latter.

      • http://twitter.com/CMStewartWrite CMStewart

        Yes the US government is quite fond of torture. The government helps fund other pro-torture governments, and keeps its own “enhanced interrogation” torture facilities at Guantanamo Bay detention camp and countless other “rehabilitation” torture prisons.

  • Piper Bayard

     Hi Manon. I learned to drive when I was seven. My family spent a lot of time in the mountains and in isolated places so my parents wanted us to be able to get help if something happened to them. Also, I grew up on a farm. All farm kids start driving early to be able to operate the farm vehicles. I actually got my license at fifteen, though, after a high school drivers ed class, and I found that there was much more to navigating traffic than there was to navigating cows. Fortunately, there wasn’t enough traffic to kill me before I picked up a few skills.

    My son is fifteen, and he is experiencing some of your trepidation. At least here we have plenty of empty roads where he can practice. I 100% commend and support you in facing your fears and confronting something you perceive as a shortcoming in yourself. I also commend you on finding a better driving school. Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress. :)

    • http://www.manoneileen.com Manon Eileen

      Hi @de3f87c638cbfc6e991641d76b73e639:disqus , thanks for stopping by and sharing! 7 years old and learning how to drive… Well I understand the reasoning behind it for sure. Especially since you were in such a isolated place – but yes it’s very different to navigating cows, rofl!!! 

      We don’t have empty roads though, lol, so I guess your son is lucky! We’re thrown in at the deep end here, especially because I live in a busy city, I have to navigate the busy traffic… It’s quite tough and a challenge! 

      Thanks a lot for the well wishes, I appreciate it :D

  • http://twitter.com/Realityhaven Caretaker

    Thanks for the twitter follow. I like the blog. Good luck with driving. I rented a car in Italy once and learned how much different driving in countries overseas compared to Canada, my knuckles are still white. 

    • http://www.manoneileen.com Manon Eileen

       Thanks very much @twitter-148814878:disqus , I appreciate it! :D And you’re welcome :)

      Driving indeed is very different in every country!

  • http://www.2knowmyself.com Farouk

    Good Luck Manon with your exam:)
    you can do it

    • http://www.manoneileen.com Manon Eileen

       Thank you very much @4c9cbb012bf5336d0011f2ad27c066d2:disqus :) I appreciate it! :) I appreciate it!