When I moved to Malta from Canada in 1991 , I went through a major culture shock and it took me a long time to actually adapt myself to the Maltese way of life. Saying that, there are two things which I cannot get used to.
1) That there isn’t wall to wall carpeting in houses ( I know its impractical but seeing all those bare tiles is weird)
2) The fanaticism over driving.
Honestly if I could count the amount of times I’ve had people ask me ‘Do you drive?’ I would need a mathematician to create some sort of formula to accompany said question.
If you want to receive over one hundred ‘likes’ on Facebook all you have to do is write ‘Passed my driving test!!’ and trust me it will surpass even the cutest baby photo.
I have always promised never to make fun of my culture to people who live outside of the island but since the majority of my foreign acquaintances do not drive and don’t even care, they find it hilarious when I tell them about our obsession with learning how to drive. I mean technically speaking Malta is small and a bus ride should take only twenty minutes to arrive at a destination so driving is futile.
Just to put you in perspective, when I was 18 , I attempted to drive but after 6 months and never progressing, my instructor abandoned me ( this after the day I crashed into a wall and crushed the bumper) so I thought that I, simply, am not capable of driving.
This summer two events changed my opinion.
The first was the overhaul of our old bus system in 2011. I thought that after a year things would improve but I was still waiting for very long periods of time, walking through small villages to reach my destination. I would arrive late or I would have to prepare at least 90 minutes beforehand. To be fair things have improved slightly ( I still commute now and then) but I still have to wait for over an hour before a bus shows up.
The second event was my gf taking me out to an abandoned parking lot and letting me drive her car. This was a huge confidence boost and I did feel like I could attempt driving again.
The thing is most instructors assume that their pupils know how to drive already but in my case its not simply a case of pointing at the various pedals and telling when to use them. I need to know the mechanics behind each gear, lever and button. At least this was put in perspective for me.
I guess there is a happy ending to this story as I have started to drive and despite the fact that I still feel confused now and then I am determined to get that license and there are signs of improvement with each lesson. I do have a long way to go though.