My Aberdeen Monday...

Well, its that time of year again.
Ren Man will be driving home from work in complete darkness
but at least he will see the sunrise each morning...
for a few more weeks at least, 
and he will be a legal UK driver!
Woohoo! Ren Man.

While these Monday posts normally spotlight new discoveries around Aberdeen,
the subject of acquiring a valid drivers license while living abroad seems overdue.
 I have allowed this very subject to get my panties in a wad every time I think about it and continue to be perplexed by the thought process behind the arbitrary requirements for expats.
 The elaborate three step process in order to earn a UK driving license
 is required after a one year grace period.
Please help me understand how it is perfectly safe for me to drive the first year I am here and then after one year I become invalid.
Now, when I say expats, it turns out this is only select countries 
who are required to apply for a drivers license as if a first time driver.
 I know what you're thinking.
This sounds like a good idea since in the UK driving is on the left side of the road.
A new experience for many.
However, expats from the European Union (EU)
and European Economic Area (EEA) countries...
 don't have this saga to deal with as their home country drivers licenses are valid 
even though most of those countries drive on the right side of the road 
just like we do back in America.
And, then there are the commonwealth countries.
We won't go there.

Part of my problem is the amount of time and effort this entails.
Our past expat assignments involved a 'little man' who took care of this for us and presented us with an official drivers license in about an hour.
That's what I'm talking about.

here in the UK...
the first step required me to send my passport away by mail to Swansea, Wales, in order to be processed taking up to four weeks (major stress, since I would not have been able to quickly leave the country in the case of an emergency) .
All good, no emergencies and my passport and Provisional License returned in two weeks.
Cost: £50
Secondly, there is the theory test where you study, study, study,
 and then schedule a time to take the written (computer) part of the licensing process. 
Sometimes this date is a month away.
Cost: £31
Once this is passed, the next step is driving lessons with an instructor 
to prepare for the practical driving test.
£30 per hour x ???
 (depending on how many bad habits you have)
When scheduleing your practical test, the first available day and time is usually six to eight weeks away. 
Cost:  £62
One expat, after waiting weeks to be able to take his practical test, showed up to be told he could not test in his car because there was a chip in the windshield.  
He returned home, paid another £62 in order to reschedule,
 and received a date for six weeks later.

Just keeping this whole expat life real 
because I know it looks like all we do is eat out and travel.
There are minor hurdles to clear every now and again.
So...kudos to Ren Man for sticking with it.
Well done you.

Right after this shopping trip in Poland...
 I will study, study, study.

Happy Monday.


  1. Well congrats to him for surviving the challenges and passing!! Whooop!

  2. "Well done you" is definitely one of my favorite British sayings. Congrats to him!!


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