Sunday, April 18, 2010

Baby, You Can Drive My Car

Grab this related post Widget!
A lot of people have asked me what I'll miss most and least about leaving America.  Well, actually no one has asked me that question but it's the subject of this blog, so work with me.

The thing I'll miss most is pretty obvious and admittedly selfish.  It's also something we take for granted---most people with whom we come in contact here speak some understandable version of the English language.  No surprise this won't be the case in our new home.

Our Spanish on CD's lessons were going pretty well for awhile but the deadline for moving and its myriad complications have been all-consuming, causing the Espanol to move to the back burner.  Or more precisely, off the stove altogether.

This means we're counting on Cuencans enjoying charades and interpreting the meaning of crude stick-man drawings, as these will be our primary means of communication in the short run.  We vow, however, not to use the standard "American-in-a-foreign-country" technique of speaking English slowly and loudly in the vain hope of being understood.

What I'll miss least about living here is more obscure and also something most of us take for granted, and that's owning and driving a car.  I've been in the driver's seat of some form of four-wheeled transportation since I was 15, and I've had car payments for most of the 46 years after that.

Cynthia and I escaped from my hometown of Atlanta mainly because the traffic had become unbearable.  We had an epiphany that we were spending more time going back and forth from Point A to Point B than whatever it was we needed to do when we finally got to Point B.  Not willing to waste so much of our lives trapped inside a metal container, we moved to Charleston, SC and rented an old home downtown for several years.

Looking back that was one of the most enjoyable periods of our marriage.  Charleston is incredibly beautiful and very compact, so we walked almost everywhere.  As we strolled along the Battery at night or explored interesting art galleries and side streets we felt so free and spontaneous.

When we decided to buy a home we found real estate downtown to be prohibitively expensive,  so we opted to build a new house in (sigh) the suburbs.  Back behind the steering wheel again to do everything. Then we moved here to Vegas and, yep, suburbs again.  Driving everywhere again (double sigh).

So I'm about to experience a life I haven't known since I was fourteen years old.  In two weeks we'll sell our car and walk away from insurance payments, car washes, gas pumps, repairs, and---driving.

It will be a VERY good day.


Jack said...

First of all I love your Beatles reference in the title (now do you have to send a check to the Michael Jackson Estate?). Who would've ever thought it would become a literal reference later in your life?

So in the process of divesting yourself of the one thing that everyone here holds so dear (as in "gotta have the latest and greatest") you will be eliminating a large part of life's hassles (and expense) as you so well describe. I'm envious already!

Edd Staton said...

I guess the next one should be titled "Bye Bye Miss American Pie!"

Diego said...

Hi, I live in Cuenca now and I just have to say that there's no reason to miss speaking english and driving a car in ecuador.

I mean you can get a car here for 10k or so, sure not the greatest car but it'll do. And well besides the ever growing expat population here in Cuenca, I would have to say that you'll find a LOT of people who know english here, either because they went as exchange students to the US or worked there for a few years.
Spanish you'll learn eventually but in the meantime english works fine :)