Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yeah, but can I have my American one back now? Oh, ok. Shit.

Guess who dragged her ass out of bed this morning and went to class? That's right, this lady. Hold the applause though, until I can keep this up though the end of the school year...

Yesterday, right after he got off work, and before we got to sit down to a homemade creamy potato soup made by moi, the Hubs and I headed out for the much anticipated chat at the Weegie DMV...
After waiting for a standard DMV-type time period, a really helpful younger lady laid out all the rules and protocol for getting my official Weegie driver's license....and let me tell you, folks it's a bit ridiculous in my opinion. Oh, and before I delve into this explanation, let me just point out the fact that up until really recently, if you had a valid U.S. driver's license with no citation points on it or anything (which would be me) you would simply switch it over with the standard application filled out, and get the new Weegie one in that mail later, Easy Peasy. Yes, well, it won't be so easy for yours truly, unfortunately...

So here's the skinny on getting a Weegie driving license when you already have an American one: first, you have to have your visa or residency all in order to prove you live in Norway on at least a semi-permanent basis and don't just want a license for fun. Then, you have to make sure you contact the DMV and get this process rolling within a year of your official arrival and living sitation in Norway began otherwise the process gets longer and you have to take the written and practical test with all the fixings just as if you've never had a license anywhere before. Since my one year visa began in November of 2009, this thankfully doesn't apply to me.
I did however have to fill out my official application, and then surrender my Washington state driver's license to the Weegie DMV where it was replaced by a temporary Norwegian license that must be accompanied by my passport while I drive since it has no photos. My U.S. driver's license will be sent away to be part of my legal resident alien file somewhere in the capital. I guess once I have a Weegie license, copies of that will join it in the file for documentation purposes...
Anyway, my license from Washington got jacked by the DMV in town, and replaced by a temporary one that expires in three months, which is how long I have to take the exam before I get an official permanent one, or reapply for another temporary one to keep trying to get the official one...let's hope that won't be necessary, shall we? So now I have to wait, a week or two most likely for a letter from the DMV saying my application is all cleared and stuff and I'm ready for my driving test.


I haven't had to pass a driving exam since my sixteenth birthday, by the way. That's just an odd year shy of ten years ago, folks. This pretty much sucks.

I also came clean to the DMV and told her that in the States, I learned and always drove an automatic transmission car, and not until a couple of months ago did I try to learn to drive a standard, so even though I know I could pass a driving test based on skill and all that, I didn't think I would be able to with a standard shift.  First, she was shocked that in the States, you don't have to learn to drive a stick first. I told her, now that I've actually tried, I wish I had learned first too! But she told me she would look up the only driving school in town that has an automatic for use for me, since I would need it.

Yes, only one driving school has an automatic. One automatic to be exact. I know standards are common choice in Europe and here in Norway, but really? Just one?

And also, everyone has to take hours upon hours of driving school at independently run businesses to get a driver's license here, since unlike the States it is NOT offered in schools. Hopefully since I'm just an international license transfer, I won't have to take hours and hours of driving lessons just to take the DMV test, but probably will have to take a couple, just so the school trusts me to use their car. Because in Norway, you don't bring the car you will be usually driving to take your drive test, you have to borrow a car from a driving school, complete with passenger side brake pedals to take the test...

I have never used one of those in my life. Even when I was 15 and taking driver's ed in high school, we didn't have cars with those instructor pedals to use. It's bizarre and pathetic...especially since I've been licensed for almost ten years. Uff da.

So anyway, I'll just schedule my driving test at the DMV as soon as I can, hopefully not have to take too many practice hours before hand, and then finally have a grown-up Weegie driver's license. As far as not having a U.S. license anymore, my plan is just to get a new one next time I visit Washington. I'll just tell them it's lost if I go before it expires next May on my birthday. I'm sure it will be a simple reprint job that will set me back a whole $10 or $15...I wanted to take Harald down with me at the DMV and show that lady that he has both licenses, SEE! But I'm too nice, I guess. Heehee. I'll just get my own as soon as I can again. Just because I live in Norway doesn't mean I don't want to be able to drive in my homecountry. Psh.

Oh, last note on Weegie licenses: like many things in this country, this whole process especially the practice driving which will hopefully be short, painless and minimal will set the Hubs and I back at least $1000.00, if not quite a bit more. In the States, homeless crack heads have drivers licenses. Come on.
I don't pretend to understand it, but apparently, Norway doesn't want its' citizens to have things like cars, the right to drive them or's a bit sadistic, like: "You want to drive? Fine, jump through these flaming hoops then give us all your money! A house too, dream on, dude, you're not good enough for a loan from us! BWAHAHAHA!"
I helps if you picture a big scary viking with a hammer saying that.

 Non-driving related fun: I found my new and absolute favorite store here in Norway thus far. It's in our mall near town, and it's like a home goods boutique. I pretty much had to restrain myself from buying the store itself, I wanted everything in it...but I didn't go for a really great bread box that I'm regretting...I think I might have to go back and claim it...Want to see what I did get?

Four bags of loose leaf tea, 100grams each, REALLY good so far too:

Like our welcome sign in the background? A surprise I got for Harald from an amazing wood working artist in the states...I hope it will have a place in our first house at some point in the near future...

And the best thing? Can you guess what it is? From all angles...

It's a storage tin for what you call kneckerbrot, that looks just pieces of them stacked up on the outside! LOVE. I love eating them, almost every day, with PB, vegan cream cheese, jelly, all that. Now I have the best place to keep them so they won't go stale, and there's no guess as to what is in the tin either, right?

Well I was excited at least.