Torn Between Two Lovers

After nearly 4.5 years in Scotland I've finally exchanged my Australian drivers licence for a UK one. You're supposed to do this after 12 months of residency, but strangely I couldn't bear to part with it.

My Australian Capital Territory licence was a particularly shithouse shade of lemon yellow, looking like it was cobbled together by kindergarteners with a laminating machine. Splashed across the top was a stern warning: DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE. Every time Gareth saw it he'd sqwark, "DOWNT DRINKEN DROIVE!" in his really convincing Australian accent. Sometimes when intoxicated I'd gaze at my old Braddon address and postcode and get a wee bit misty-eyed.

Now I have this shiny new drab and dreary UK licence. For some reason they've turned the photo into black and white so my features are smudged and broody like a serial killer. There's a dorky sense of pride at finally having a proper photo ID with my Scottish address, but more pathetically, I feel bereft. The last little piece of Australia is gone from my wallet! Oz just seems further and further away lately, yet there are moments (like at a wedding last night as I bumbled through all the ceilidh dances) when Scotland feels as bewildering and foreign as that first day.

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16 thoughts on “Torn Between Two Lovers

  1. I haven’t actually driven in Europe and I’ve been here nearly 8 years! Maybe I’m too lazy or maybe it’s the thought of meeting someone coming the other way down one of those little country lanes – very spooky.

    My NZ one’s expiring so I popped in when I was home (knowing they’d do an eye test at the same time) and they asked for proof of address – b*&t&rds. Very handy when your nearest bank statement is on the exact opposite side of the planet.

    Now contemplating getting a UK one (hardly worth it when you live 500 meters from work) or chancing an emergency one when I get back on my next holiday. Hmmmmmmm.

    Scott ๐Ÿ™‚
    PS: No worries, I’ve been reading your Dietgirl too ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. But there are advantages:
    – ONE drivers licence until you are 70. No more renewing and having to line up at some god-forsaken government office every one/three or 5 years.
    – If (and when) you want to come back you can just get another aussie one (I was away for 6 years) and gave mine up – just walked in and they found my name and back I was.

  3. You are closer to being ‘Scottish’ than you think.

    The secret with a ceilidh is that none of us know what we are doing either, we just LOOK like we do! It’s all a big fake.

  4. He’s right about the ceilidh thing; we had the Welsh equivalent (a twmpath – means ‘pile’) at our wedding in April and none of us knew what the hell we were doing.

  5. I had been here in the UK for a year and a half before I got mine changed over – and then with EXACTLY the same emotions! I even scanned my old NSW licence with the Woolgoolga address as a photo as some form of wierd posterity. Because they make you hand your old licence over – Like handing over your old nationality. They don’t just invalidate it with a stab from the nearest office hole-punch like that do at home. And I thought I would be glad to be rid of that photo too! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Funny thing for me was that only 6 months after finally spending the account-caning pounds to get it done, etc, I now have to go back to Australia. Stinking Murphy and his law! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Love you as always, Shauna. XXX

  6. Hehe, I’ve been here 9 years and still not had the courage to change my licence over!!

  7. Ohhhh the UK just started putting photos on their licenses? We’ve always had that, and it’s EVERY person’s Worst Picture Ever. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend on your hair or make-up for that dreaded photo, (not that I DO THAT), it will turn out worse than your passport.

  8. I recall the big TAC (traffic accidents commision)adverts in Melbourne.


    which had had this sprayed underneath


    nearly fell off my bike when I first read that.

    Congrats on the ridiculously huge bit of paper you got.

  9. Yay! Glad you’re back to writing on this blog! I absolutely LOVE the stories of your everyday life in Scotland… the most boring of tasks is interesting to me… its great fun to hear how an Aussie reacts to Scottish life. You Aussies have killer senses of humor!

  10. I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who took the exchange so seriously! Putting my NSW license in an envelope and posting it off seemed so sad, particularly as it was much prettier than the UK one!

    But hooray that it’s so much cheaper to keep a UK license! Just don’t forget to take the paper part as well as the photocard if you are hiring a car.

  11. Oh, how dim am I? I looked at your link to the driving licence and – just for a second – marvelled at the way your photo didn’t look at all like you.

    Welcome to Scottish roads!

  12. Five years ago, I moved from California to Boston. You’re supposed to change your license within 3 months of moving, and I still haven’t done it, mainly because it Costs Money.

    I’ve held onto my Australian license through all this, though.

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