Friday, May 11, 2007

Scootin', legally

Just a quick email- I passed my scooter test and found a scooter! It all happened very fast. Jasmine was supposed to take me scooter shopping today (Friday)- but on Thursday we randomly stopped at a scooter shop and found a very ugly, very cheap scooter. Then I found out she was taking someone else to get a drivers license today, and I was like, can I go and try the scooter test?

One brother in my congregation told me not to feel bad if I fail- he failed 8 times! I was kind of nervous.

First, I had to go and get a basic check-up. Just height, weight, eye sight. I wasn't even thinking but I started to read the numbers in the eyesight test in English and Jasmine started ot translate- I was like, oh, I can read them in Chinese. Then go sign in for the written part of the test- all of the Chinese people take it in pencil but the English is on computer. Only 20 questions and it told me right away I passed- woohoo!

Then the road test- the hard part that I knew about in advance was that you have to drive a not-very-long distance really slowly (in more than 7 seconds) without putting your feet down for balance. And it is on a narrow strip with sensors that beep if you hit them. There is a place to practice and there were like 12 of us lining up, drive down the strip, line up again.

There were about 20 people who took the test, one after another. I was one of the last. If you make it through the narrow part it's pretty smooth sailing- just drive in a big circle and stop at a red light, a railroad crossing, and a pedestrian crossing, then start again. There were rules about putting your feet down there too but the tester just stood at the beginning of the course and watched you so I don't know how much he saw. Really 20 people did it in about 20 minutes. Then wait for the license, and I'm done!

Then to the scooter shop to do paperwork- I had to get a stamp made with my Chinese name (a "chop"). But not my good Chinese name that I usually use- it's the one the government invented for me for my residence card. It is "He Ti Na". Chinese people are always like, "It sounds terrible!" Anyways, only 50 NT for the stamp. I guess they need it for the forms. I also had to write the name in characters- like a signature- luckily all of the characters have components that I've written before in them so it wasn't so hard. I know I couldn't have done the tests and scooter-buying without a patient Chinese person though- I never understood what anyone was saying.

So Monday I pick up the scooter- I'm sad I won't have it for tomorrow, because it will be my long-bike-riding day and it will be 90 degrees and humid. But Hess just gave me a Hess shirt so I can wear it all the time and not destroy my own clothes with sweat.

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