Never. Give. Up!

Jill Langhus
Posted June 23, 2019 from Spain
My Official Learner Plate:-)

Have you ever wanted to just give up? I sure have. Let me tell you about one of the most stressful processes that I’ve ever gone through.

Because I’m a U.S. citizen currently residing in Spain, there is no mutual agreement between the two countries when it comes to driving licenses. While you may think it’s not a big deal to have to obtain a new one here, you might want to reconsider after having read my story:-) I accepted the fact long before having moved here that there was no reciprocal agreement between the two countries, since there wouldn’t be any point in getting upset about something I had no control over.

The challenge really became multi-faceted. One being that I’ve never been that confident of a driver. Two, the duration that this process ended up taking was quite long. Three, the overall cost involved of the entire process ended up being quite high, And, four, the overall stress involved from the emotional abuse and self-acceptance/self-worth/self-confidence issues also ended up becoming challenging, too, especially toward the end.

Initially, I had done some research on where I would take my driving lessons and exam. I found some English speaking auto schools, as my Spanish is still a work in progress. This proved to be more difficult as it’s hard to find this information online. What I did find out, though, is that there were only two locations to take the exams, which meant that I couldn’t find anywhere near my house to take the actual written and practical exams, but I could take the lessons anywhere. I thought it wouldn’t make sense to get familiar with the roads nearby if my practical exam was somewhere else, so I opted for a slightly less residential/busy area about 2 hours away from my house. Yes, I could’ve opted for Malaga which is only about an hour away but the roads, quite frankly, freaked me out even more because the traffic is pretty heavy there and the roundabouts are nerve-racking, to say the least, especially because I wasn’t used to them. Eventually, I opted for the Marbella auto school that’s 2 hours away, hoping the traffic, area and auto school would be the best fit for me.

I then proceeded to meet the instructor/main owner of the auto school shortly after I made that decision, about 2 years ago now, in May of 2017. He seemed rather blunt and pessimistic, but I just thought that was his nature, not necessarily that the process was that difficult. I signed up for the package that included the initial registration fee and 3 practical driving lessons with an instructor from the auto school. I thought, “okay, I can do this. No problem. How hard can it be. I’ve been driving for 30 years and it’s just a matter of procedure.” The instructor looked dubious, but again I thought that was just his nature.

Then, I got my exam book and online exams to prepare for the written exam. That was nerve-wracking enough because the examiner gave the instructions in Spanish and I only understood about a quarter of what he said. I still thought, “I can do this. It will be worth it in the end. I can’t give up.” Well, the first time I took this written test, I would suffice to say that none of the online tests prepared me for it and I got too many wrong, basically. I think I got 5 or 6 wrong, and I could only have 3 total incorrect. The test was in English, by the way, otherwise it would’ve been another challenge to overcome, to say the least. I was demoralized and stressed out a little after that, but again, I thought, “Okay. I can do this. The second time will be better.” And, it was. I had to wait another month, I think to take it, but it was like taking a totally different exam. The questions were mostly straightforward and I got 2 wrong.

Then, the examiner strike hit and that seemed to throw everything up in the air. I say that because it literally put the auto school, and presumably all the other schools and students, equally, into a tailspin because everything fell behind from that point forward. I had to wait about 2-3 months for my first practical exam. But before that, I did my three practical lessons that I had paid for as part of the package with the “pessimistic” instructor. That was also another lesson and reality check because literally every five minutes was a litany of check this, check that, watch your speed, etc., etc. Again, I thought, “I can do this. He’s just being pessimistic. The exam won’t be that bad.” As a result of these lessons, I was so nervous before I even got to the practical exam. Needless to say, my very first practical exam was not a good experience. The examiner let my instructor talk to me in English… yes, the instructor has to be in the car with the examiner the whole time… but, that was one of the few exams that I took where the instructor could actually talk to me, and especially in English. The examiners get super annoyed if you don’t understand the instructions to the point where they are yelling at you, and sometimes, because the exam isn’t standardized at all, they tell you upfront what route you’re expected to do. So, if you don’t understand the instructions right at the outset, it’s a little bit stressful. I first was asked parts of the car under the hood, which are only minor failures, but I didn’t get that question correct, so that wasn’t helpful, and I actually thought I did pretty well for the first time, until we were finished, and then the instructor turns to me and says I didn’t pass, and touches my cheek, like a caress. I didn’t know what just happened. I didn’t know whether to be horrified or impressed that he was being compassionate, but beyond that, then the string of insults and blaming starts… you didn’t do this, you didn’t do that. Um, okay. I’m still thinking, “Next time I’ll ace it. I can do this!”

Well, needless to say, it didn’t. The struggle and challenges were real. My confidence continued to plummet, along with my self acceptance and self-worth. I tried different instructors and only had the same examiner once, and boy, that guy is a piece of work. Oh, I forgot to mention how the exam day is set up, too. I’m told I have to be at the exam site for a certain time. It was usually about 10:00 in the morning, but the problem is because of the strike and backlog, they were taking two students at a time. That’s fine, but then all the students, from several auto schools are waiting around at the same time, all bouncing off the ceiling because they’re equally as nervous, if not more, than me. It’s the most crazy and unproductive way of handling an exam I think I’ve ever seen in my life. All the students ask, “Oh, is this the first time you taken your test?” Well, needless to say, after about the third time, I wasn’t answering that question. It just made me feel 10 times worse.

So, back to my original plot about my confidence. Every time, I had to keep giving myself a pep talk well before the exam. I was nervous days, and even weeks before the next exam, especially as the process kept going on and on for months, and I was lucky if I got any sleep the night before. Somehow, I managed to get down there, focus, pretend that I’m confident (otherwise that’s the first reason the instructor will say why you didn’t pass your exam), and to be uber-careful with everything that I’m doing during the exam. And, if anyone knows me well, I’m a perfectionist, so this part shouldn’t be challenging, but believe me, when you’re already focusing on the rules of the road that are way different from what you’re used to, the signs are different, you don’t understand all the instructions from the examiner, you can’t talk to the instructor (for most exams) during the exam, you don’t know the roads or what route you’ll be taking, you feel like you’re in competition with the other students waiting who are also nervous, the instructor and the examiner are rude to you the entire time, and you’re already nervous because the process is taking forever and costs a lot, it’s definitely an additional factor. Also, if anyone knows me, I’m not normally this pessimistic about a process either, so this particular challenge definitely was ticking a lot of boxes from a personal, healing standpoint. Apparently, I must have passed all those internal “tests,” though because I finally passed my exam last Friday. I lost count on how many times I took the exam, but I’m pretty sure it was around 8 total. The point is, however, I was absolutely determined to get my license. This is a fundamental right, and freedom, that we have, especially as women. I kept thinking, “I don’t want to feel like I’m asking for permission any longer if I want to go somewhere. It’s my right to come and go as I please.” As it is for everyone. I felt like it wasn’t just to prove to myself that I could do it, especially for the last few exams when I got so close to passing, but then couldn’t for no apparent reason. It was also to consciously not give up the right to have this freedom to come and go as I please. I kept thinking about all the women in the world that don’t have this fundamental right. I wasn’t going through perceived hell for just myself. I was doing it for all those women out there that don’t have their license, whether they’re too scared to go for it, or they literally don’t even have the option, for one reason or the other. I feel like this achievement is not just mine; but all women around the world. We can’t, and shouldn’t give up our rights, and our freedom. I don’t want to be without this freedom, or option, for the next 30+ years. I don’t need to ask permission. This is my inalienable right! And, I’m proud, and glad that I persevered.  

Now, I just need to convince my brain that it’s finally over, and now focus on how to heal the part that is daunted by driving, in general. I’m not going to let this fear stop me either. I will persevere! 

This story was submitted in response to Share On Any Topic.

Comments 20

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Celine
Jun 23
Jun 23

Woow! Perseverance pays.

Congratulations sister Jill.

Celine

Wala Lut
Jun 23
Jun 23

Congrats my dear.
Iam so happy for you.

Jill Langhus
Jun 24
Jun 24

Thank you, Wala, dear:-)

I appreciate it. Thanks for reading....

Hope you're doing well and safe?!

Wala Lut
Jun 24
Jun 24

Thanks again.
U are the most welcome.

Jill Langhus
Jun 25
Jun 25

You're welcome, dear:-)

XX

Jill Langhus
Jun 24
Jun 24

Hello dear:-)

Thanks so much! I appreciate it, and thanks for reading:-)

Hope you're doing well, and having a fab day!?

XX

Lisbeth
Jun 24
Jun 24

Congrats my dear Sister Jill, now the sky is in deed the limit for you. Wow this was really am ordeal for you. Very excellent you did not give up. If we don't give up we shall be safe.
I hope you are happy now? My warm greetings and have a nice week beginning.

Jill Langhus
Jun 24
Jun 24

Thanks Lisbeth:-) I appreciate it!!

Safe sounds pretty good to me right about now...ha:-)

I am happy and proud that I passed. I feel like at least two weights have been lifted from my shoulders, for real:-)

Thanks again for your support and well wishes:)

Hope you have a great day and week, too!

Lisbeth
Jun 24
Jun 24

I understand that feeling when you take a deep breadth haha. I am happy for you for real. I am fine too thanks :-)

Jill Langhus
Jun 24
Jun 24

Aw, thank you, dear:-)

Great to hear!

Marie Abanga
Jun 24
Jun 24

Hip hip hip HURRAY

What else can I say or add to this? You make me and us all women so proud. Keep going, you will surely be ok

hugs

Jill Langhus
Jun 24
Jun 24

Thanks so much for your love, support, and cheers, Marie:-) I appreciate it very much!

Aw. And, so it is:-)

XX

Sabah Khan
Jun 28
Jun 28

Congratulations Jill! All the negativity you went past makes the achievement even more special!

Jill Langhus
Jun 29
Jun 29

Thanks, Sabah:-) Yes, that's true!

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you're having a great day and weekend:-)

Woot woot! Congratulations, Jill! I am so proud of you!

You've been sharing how you felt bad when each time you failed the driver's test. This is why I feel so happy that finally you passed it! I didn't know though that you had to deal with so many hurdles like the Spanish language and a not-so-friendly instructor. You are one brave, determined woman!

Your story goes to show that you are indeed an encourager, not just to other people, but to yourself, too. Cheers for not giving up! Hurray for those "I can do this!" moments!

You know what's admirable about you? You have been positively cheering every World Pulse sister here, but they have no idea that you are dealing with a personal challenge on your own. You are a strong woman for lifting us up during that duration of testing and failing. You are resilient for showing up again and again until you received your license.

I am so proud of you, Jill! You look great with your new hair color! Enjoy your vacation! You deserve such celebration! Applause! Applause!

Jill Langhus
Jul 02
Jul 02

Hello lovely,

Thanks so much for your ever-present, loving, and constant support. I so appreciate it, and you:-)

Aw, that's making me emotional:-) You're such a love, dear... truly:-) You're one of a kind, and a true sister. Thanks for going out of your way to read my story and to provide such loving, and personal commentary.

Hope you have a great, rest of the week!

XXOO

Hello, Jill,

You’re welcome! I appreciate you, too.

Aww. Thank you, Jill. I’m happy to know that. You are a dear friend and sister to me, too. Thanks for always being there.

Jill Langhus
Jul 04
Jul 04

Hello, dear:-)

You're welcome!

XXXXXXXXX

Jane
Jul 05
Jul 05

In our South African language it is said "U hi Mbokodo" wa thinta bafazi wanthinta imbokodo which means "strike a woman, you strike the rock" you are indeed an inspiration and a rock. Well done!

Jill Langhus
Jul 05
Jul 05

Aw, thanks so much:-)

XX