Tuesday, March 02, 2010

My driving licenses & me

For the past 13 years of my life, I have been living away from my country. I moved from one country to another looking for a better opportunity in life.

For 13 years I have learned to adapt to the local ways of living so that I can be accepted and feel home in the new country, and that include the local way of driving. If there's a need for me to drive in the new country, then I have to make a local driving license.

I received my 1st driving license in my home country when I was 18 years old. I learned to drive in a driving school as my dad didn't allow me to use his car. I drove for about 3 years in my home country before I accepted my first overseas job in 1997 with a multinational company in Singapore.
It took me 3 months to adjust to the Singapore way of life and I also learned that Singapore has the best public transportation system in the world so I didn't think it's necessary to make local driving license.
Then after I got married, I had to move to US to join my husband who worked there.

In The US, I had to learn to drive again as this country has a different side of driving. In my home country, I drove on the left side of the road, but in the US, I had to drive on the right side of the road.
Again, I went to a driving school to learn to drive. But since I already knew the basic skill, I just needed to get used to driving on the other side of the road. I took a written and practical test to get my US driving license. I
passed the written test pretty quickly but the practical test was a bit of a nightmare to me :)
I passed the practical test on my 3rd attempt :) before I finally received my US driving license. Since
then, I drove in US for about 2 years.Then it was the recession time when I decided to continue my study
and moved out of US to New Zealand (because at that time, NZ$ was the cheapest).

For 3 years I stayed in New Zealand, I didn't make any driving license since New Zealand has a very good pulic transportation system. Besides, I was only a student. I didn't have enough money to buy a car.
After I graduated, I had to move out of New Zealand to Malaysia to join my husband. This time I really needed to make Malaysia driving license because I have to drive around the city especially when my husband had an overseas assignment. But for one year before I decided to make Malaysia driving license, my husband had taught me to drive again because unlike in US, Malaysians drive on the left side of the road, the same
as in my home country. When I felt confident enough to drive alone, my husband helped me to convert my US driving license into Malaysian driving license.

In Malaysia, I didn't need to take any tests for I converted my US license to local license. Once I received the letter from JPJ headquater office, I went to a nearby JPJ office to make my Malaysia driving license. The process was extremely quick. It was less than 20 minutes I already had my Malaysia driving license.
I have driven my car in Malaysia for nearly 4 years since then before my husband was transferred to The Philippines. He took the whole family to move to Philippines.

And now, here I am, as I am typing this post, I'm sitting at Land Transportation Office bench together with many people, waiting for my name to be called to pay for my Philippines driving license. I have submitted my application to convert my Malaysia driving license yesterday but then I still needed to complete the medical and drug tests this morning, After I pay, then the LTO will release my driving license. I have been here since 11 am and now is 2 pm and it's my 3rd day to visit the LTO. I have made everyone in LTO confused because of my Filipina look but with Indonesian Passport and requesting my Malaysia driving license to be converted :)

Since Malaysia driving license is not in English, I had to bring an English translation certified by the embassy before I can submit my application.
Again, here, I have to get used to driving on the other side of the road as in The Philippines, people drive on the same side as in the US :)

I thank Lord for giving me this opportunity to experience making driving license in 4 different countries and to drive on both sides of the road.

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