J Simens.com

Carpal or Carpool ???

Being an Expat – does not mean your summer is full of fun.

We often have to spend the summer getting medical clearances, updates on contacts or glasses and teeth cleaning. Sometimes we also have to throw in minor medical procedures we didn’t want to do abroad. Summer can be a scheduling nightmare.

How did you spend last summer?

One past summer, my Carpool tunnel syndrome had turned into Carpal tunnel syndrome. Here is a recap on how it is to be a driving expat!

A tight grip of the steering wheel makes the short trip seem like a significant phenomenon. As the sweat runs down the back of my knees, I peer in the rearview mirror and wonder what I got myself into in this hot Oklahoma summer. I am in a competition with myself. Can I do it – You can’t do. I know I can drive and yet I feel sick.

I am not used to driving in the USA, and here I am volunteering to take my sister’s most special ‘cargo,’ her children, to a ballgame. I think I am doing it to help out the parents, but I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. The kids were perfect. I was more like a royal mess.

I am not the best driver in the world since I have lived outside of the USA for twenty-five years. I have never had an accident while driving. I also have sat and survived six international driving tests in different countries.

In one country, the local facilitator stood over my shoulder and pointed to which box I was to mark with the (X) for each question. I passed the written test in a foreign language!

legs and high heels

I took a vision exam and then an Eye/ Foot reflects time exam in one foreign country. The first machine didn’t have a light behind the green light, so it was impossible to know when the sign was “Green” to go, but I was able to slam on each and every Red light that I saw. I passed! When we got to the reflect times machine I was so involved with the guy sitting next to me doing his exam that I forgot to do my own exam and had to start over again. The man sitting next to me had his left leg crossed over his right leg.  He was using his left leg to push the brake pedal. It was a strange way to drive because the steering wheel kept hitting his knees and he’d say “Ouch.” I thought “uncross your legs.” Oh, and I did I tell you he had on high heels. Bright. Blue. 4-inch heels. No wonder my mind was not on my test.

Honor those pregnant ladies

I showed up 8 ½ months pregnant for one exam. They gave me a written test with the Label of (B) on it. My husband got the (A) test. We assumed it was for the random need to make sure people didn’t cheat taking the test. As we started to do the written exam, the DMV staff person took my test away and gave me a form (D) to take. We both passed. On the way home my husband talked about how hard it was to convert the miles to meters and the blood alcohol amounts into liters, etc. I talked about how I had an octagon sign and what that meant and if a driver should look “both ways” prior to moving out into an intersection. The only thing I can think of is that this DMV really didn’t want a very pregnant lady upset if she flunked the test. Once again I passed!

But I might be a very bad mother or at least a bad expat mother

I sent my child off with our driver to get his motorcycle license. We had forgotten that he would also need medical clearance prior to getting his permit. When he came home successful with a new motorcycle permit he explained how you get a medical clearance form in our new location. When you get declined by the DMV for not having all the documents, your driver jumps on the back of a motorcycle Uber and goes to a medical facility. They do the medical check by asking your driver two questions. “Is this person here with you?” and “Is he sick?’ I guess our driver responded with a “yes, he is at the DMV” and a “no.” The driver gets the medical clearance on your son by a doctor who has not even stared into his bright blue eyes that are so eager to drive in the crowded streets of this major city. The driver then heads back to the DMV. The license is issued.

I am scared to death to take a drivers test in the USA. I am unprepared!

Many expats keep a USA license while they are abroad. We did not do this.  I know some of you are saying, “Are you stupid?”  What came down to making this decision was the need to following the rules of the state we live in.

In Nevada –  We were a seasonal resident so we could not legally say we lived in Nevada and therefore not legal to get or maintain our Nevada Driver’s license.

I am happy to report after two months back in the USA after retiring, I got a car. Drove a lot. Got a Nevada Driver’s License. It is good for eight years!!! Now two years later, no tickets and still driving with care.


Note: Nevada Revised Statutes 482.103 and 483.141 “Resident” defined.

  1. “Resident” includes, but is not limited to, a person:
    1. Whose legal residence is in the State of Nevada.
    2. Who engages in intrastate business and operates in such a business any motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer, or any person maintaining such vehicles in this state, as the home state of such vehicles.
    3. Who physically resides in this state and engages in a trade, profession, occupation or accepts gainful employment in this state.
    4. Who declares himself to be a resident of this state to obtain privileges not ordinarily extended to nonresidents of this state.
  2. The term does not include a person who is an actual tourist, an out-of-state student, a border state employee or a seasonal resident.


related blogs: Back to Basic (parenting) and worse expat parenting moments

photo – http://wedrinkoldgold.blogspot.com/2012/10/blue-eye.html


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