Sunday, June 9, 2013

Introducing Sarabi, my Kia Pride (...and joy)

Hey guess what?

I got a car! I got an ugly, old, beat-up, well-used 1998 Kia Pride.

Here she is!
Her name's Sarabi, named for Simba's mother in The Lion King. You know. Pride. Lions. Puns. Sarabi is one of the oldest lionesses in the pride. Ergo, my old Pride... Ta da!

Being my dad's daughter, I also keep singing Stevie Ray Vaughn's Pride and Joy when I drive around, cause she is definitely a joy to have!

God is so strange with his timing and provision! I did absolutely nothing to deserve this; I wasn't even looking for a car. I have been quite content to take taxis and buses for the past 15 months. I started to buy a scooter a few months ago to make to-and-froms a little easier in Jeonju (cause I haven't figured out the buses here. Jeonju's bus system isn't quite as easy as the bus system in Gwangju) but ended up just babysitting my friend's scooter while he was in the States. That was fun, so I figured I'd buy a new one in the fall. That is... until...

Two of my (incredible) co-workers, Marli and Monty, were given a car that they decided not to keep. They asked if I wanted a car. Wanted. Gift. Free.



And there you have it!  I got a car!

It's a stick shift, so that's... interesting! I always drove automatic at home, but my dad taught me to drive stick once. When I was 17. On my grandpa's old truck. At the deer lease. For an afternoon.

Monty is a very good teacher. I got a few lessons driving standard, bought insurance, and we switched the car over to my name!

The Korean DMV was a fun experience.  Neither Monty nor I speak much Korean, but this adorable Korean man kept popping in to help us with all of our forms! Seriously, y'all. He helped me with everything, took my alien registration card to fill in the address for me in Korean, stapled all the proper forms together, handed me the papers that were for me to keep, made sure I had  a number to wait in line, then disappeared, then showed up again the moment the clerk needed clarification on something! He was like Batman. He'd be nowhere, then we'd have a slight moment of confusion and he'd pop up again! Bless him!!

The next night, with the car properly in my name (and insured!), I hit the open road.

I had forgotten how much I love driving.

At home I drove everywhere. I practically lived out of my car. I commuted from Conroe to Cypress for the last year that I lived in the States, spending at least an hour and a half in the car each day. It was nothing for me to drive up Dallas/Ft. Worth for the weekend, or jump in the Trailblazer and run over to College Station on a regular basis. I love the alone time I get behind the wheel. I love road trips with friends in the passenger seat. Some of my best praying happened in the car, just me and God going places together.

All those good memories rushed back as I hopped on the Honam Expressway to head to Gwangju to visit a friend. I sang at the top of my lungs, I relished the feeling of the steering wheel in my hands, I prayed, I surveyed the countryside from the driver's seat.

I'm not a good stick-shift driver at all, but that's ok. Korean driving rules are more what you'd call guidelines anyway. When my poor baby stalls in the middle of the intersection, I'm just another bad driver not following the rules. Drivers here are incredible at avoiding one another when they/we do dumb things. Thank God I am not struggling with the whole gear-shifty-clutch-balance-thing in Houston! I'd get rear-ended so many times! I'm starting to get the hang of it - I EVEN LEARNED HOW TO GET THE CAR IN GEAR ON HILLS WITH THE HAND BRAKE! - but it's a process!

I wonder sometimes how much is my own ineptitude at driving stick and how much is the result of my car being helllllllla old and beat up? Building speed on the highway, shift up, shift up, "WHY AREN'T YOU SHIFTING INTO 4TH, SARABI??? Ah, there you go!" Just another Sunday drive.

It's so fun. Adventure!!

I got to drive it down to Wando that first weekend to meet some friends who were camping at the beach.  Wando is a little island off the southern coast of Jeolla-nam-do. Korea has never looked so beautiful as it did while I drove down little country roads, past fields and mountains, over rivers and through tunnels. My heart was so full! How did I luck out like this?? I'll never know. My friends had no idea how big of a blessing that car would be to me when they offered it. It's old and it's ugly, but it's freedom and it's mine. 

1 comment:

  1. She’s aptly named! Pride and lions – KIA cars surely take pride with giving us reliable and well-functioning vehicles, and a 1998 Kia Pride is no exception to that rule. With its powerful engine, this car would be perfect for road trips. So, don’t mind those people calling your car old and ugly. They have no idea about how great a deal this car is giving you. Cheers!

    Micheal Miller @ Butler Kia of Fishers