The first few weeks of being in Italy was going to be hard and I knew it. I was charged with finding a place to live, a car, and much more. Of course if I could not do it all in a month I would get more time but its expected to have it done in a month. I started looking for a car. I looked online at various cars although none of them seemed to fit my personality. My co-worker was messaging me on facebook and we got on the subject about cars. She sent me a link for a car that was for sale. It was a listing for a mini cooper from a car dealership off base. I knew right away that was the car I wanted. The process of gaining ownership of the car was long and complex. I had to pass a driver's test to get an Italian driver's license. I was not able to download the study guide until the day of the
driver's test. I studied for 2 hours and was able to pass. I admit the test was difficult. Half the test consisted of matching road signs to their meaning.
Step 1 was completed and a million more to go. Next on the agenda was doing the paperwork. The dealer and I completed the contract together then I had to do even more paperwork on base. I also had to get car insurance. It is said that car insurance in Italy is one of the most expensive in Europe...and I definitely could tell. If I wanted full coverage I would have had to pay hundreds of dollars per month. I got the basic insurance, which by the way does not make me happy but I could definitely not afford to pay hundreds of dollars per month. Finally, the day came when I went to the dealership to make the final payment. They gave me the keys and I sat behind the wheel. I had mixed feelings. I was over joyed that i bought my first car and was super nervous about getting onto the busy road to get to base. I am familiar with how to drive a stick shift but this moment was the first time I was going to drive this car and all manuals are different. I gathered up the courage to start the engine and drive onto the street. The roundabouts nearly gave me a heart attack. I was able to relax my death grip on the wheel once I was parked outside my hotel. I got out of the car and felt excitement once again. Owning a car is a lot of responsibility but it is also fun. I am so happy and thankful that I ended up with a mini cooper and will be driving it for the rest of my tour in Italy.