To drive, or not to drive. That was a question predominantly on my mind the past weeks and the process of answering that one question revealed the true definition of “fickle-minded”.Having experienced the Chinese style of driving as a passenger and as a pedestrian, I would constantly be switching back and forth. I think the above picture indicates how excruciating it can be, sitting in a vehicle and knowing you’re not moving anytime soon. This resulted in me walking a fair bit and logging the minimum of 10.000 steps a day easily. Or imagine attempting to traverse a crosswalk at which you have the right of way with cars and scooters swooshing past you. Although already used to this and living by the rule “Just walk or die waiting!”, it still jitters my nerves at times. It still does not make sense (to me at least) to be wasting precious time stuck in traffic jams or having to drive like an owl on ecstasy, looking left and right every second trying to make sure you don’t accidentally run someone over. “Now you see me, now you don’t!” is definitely applicable and I’ve seen my fair share of accidents in these first few weeks here. What actually made me decide to take the Chinese license is the fact that there is a Black Market for demerit points. Seeing I’m not yet working, I thought this might be a way for some side income.

Having decided that yes, I will take the test, Stephan and I spent the last few weeks studying for the exam. We were glad to find out there was an app to prepare for the exam. An app containing 1300 questions. 1300 questions of which 650 are useless. And after having taken the test, the app seems 75% useless, seeing that questions in the exam are entirely different. The app definitely taught me the Chinese art of studying: do not start reasoning, do not question anything and just accept the facts and memorize as much as you can.

There’s a universal regulation that vehicles are not supposed to be parked on sidewalks.

And the last time I checked, this sign meant no vehicles allowed.

Enough said, Exam Day was interesting as we were confronted with questions and topics never seen before. The entire time I sent positive energy out into the universe and in return begged and prayed for both of us or at least Stephan to pass, seeing he needs the license for work. My biggest nightmear was having to get up early, don white gloves and chauffeur my husband to work, at the same time trying to minimize fatal incidents and not get yelled at for driving “too German”, aka obiding by traffic regulations. I’m not sure I will ever be able to drive like a mad man, drive on emergency exit lanes just because every other lane is blocked, keep calm when suddenly another car is heading straight towards you in your lane or suddenly change lanes without signaling just because a 30cm gap opens up. I’ve probably never felt so nervous during any other exam as on that day and I can say that I was sweating buckets. Someone must have had mercy on us and we both got to go home as qualified Chinese drivers. The first thing I did once out of the exam room? Delete the stupid app and hope never to have to use it again!

Our licenses arrived via mail two days later and then it was finally time to hit the road… 
Unfortunately the first stop was actually the hospital on an early Saturday morning. My husband was rewarded with his car and all I got was tendinitis in my right wrist due to the continuous monotonous action of going through all the questions and exams the app could generate. The things you go through just for that one small card, especially seeing that no one, not even the police, abides to the rules.