Friday, February 20, 2009

Now that the cat is out of the bag... Ahem...

Arun has been dying to write about our impending cross country trip for the past month. I've been stopping him from doing so because there were just too many obstacles that could potentially prevent us from making it happen. And then all you lovely readers would laugh at us.

The biggest problem was that I did not (and still don't) have a US driving license. We had a pretty bizarre top-down approach to this problem. Here's a peek into some of our conversations and obsessions about it.

Kavitha/Arun (we're still not sure who): Let's do a cross country trip.
Kavitha/Arun: Awesome! Let's do it.
Kavitha: Oh but I don't have a license in the US. (Nice discovery there, seriously)
Arun: But you do have an Indian driving license, don't you?
Kavitha: Oh yeah yeah, but no international permit (just a teeny weeny lame ass problem)
Arun: That sucks... Hmm... No problem, we still have more than a month, so let's just get you a US license.
Kavitha: Good plan!

I forage the internet for information and find that I need a year's validity on my immigration papers to be eligible for a license in Pennsylvania and in most other states. But I graduate in 3 months (Don't get me started on how much that sucks...). After a few sleepless nights and hours of obsessing, I discovered that my valid immigration status automatically gets extended if I apply for a permit to work in the US for a year after I graduate.

Arun: That's easy! Do it immediately...

Not so easy, as I discovered. I could not apply for it until I had not more than 3 months until graduation. And it was only January. Bummer. Bummer. Bummer. More sleepless nights. Then my luck turned around, deservedly so. It turned out that the 3 month rule was not really a 3 month rule ( I will spare you the minutiae of it). I could get my new papers from the school much earlier than I can actually start working. So I did that! Talk about paper work and rules and red tape... Anyway I got all the papers and stamps and approvals and letters and other paraphernalia prepared and finally got my learner's permit a couple of days ago.

Now the only thing left is the driving test. I hear I have to parallel park!!! So I could still technically fail the test. But then I do trust Arun to get my driving skills, including parallel parking, all sharpened up by next week.
Don't I love tossing the ball into his court like that?!

So here's to a trip that we really hope we can pull off. Wish me luck... And will you remind me to drive on the right hand side please?


Aparna said...

Here's wishing you good luck!

buddy said...

haha...yes please..careful with the left turns! and good luck!

Gradwolf said...

oh if you've been here long enough, driving on right is not a big deal! Like if you cross the road looking left first, then you should be fine! :p

And good I graduated well in advance!!My I20 end date is 2010 but I graduated 2008 end and got my license July 08. And I never knew this rule existed! Of course, different states have different rules and it is annoying!

Nandini Vishwanath said...

I have a learner's permit too. I do not have a DL too thanks to the stupid parallel parking rule.

I have ruined 2 cars and my car while parallel parking :( So there.

So, have you got it now?

Alan Smithee said...

You are wrong. Int'l driver's permit is just a document that translates your license into various languages. It is not a license by itself. If your license is in English (which is what it has been in TN for a long while now), you don't need IDP in USA. I drove rental cars with my Indian license on all my business trips in the past to US. However, insurance is considerably expensive. There is an int'l convention (vienna or geneva or something like that) on road traffic, to which both US and India are signatories and driver license issued by either country is valid in the other upto a certain time.

Kavitha said...

Alan: Thanks! I know that I can legally drive here with Indian driving license. Just trying to save some money given that we are not expensing the trip and of course what with the recession and all :-). The international permit would have helped me avoid the road test in the state of NJ...