We bought a motorbike when we arrived in Mae Sot. A car is quite extravagant here, so we strapped on helmets and thought we’d adjust to a motorbike.
It was a good thing we did strap on helmets, because my learn-how-drive-it lesson ended up with me on the concrete. My book-knowledge brains aren’t very good at differentiating the brake and gas, or multi-tasking to switch gears and use the blinker at the same time.
Stephen, of course, put his excess of common sense to use and has no problem whatsoever.
And since my little mishap last April, I decided motorbikes weren’t for me. I was happy to ride around with Stephen and use my bicycle when necessary. It just wasn’t worth it.
This was very do-able for quite some time. However, recently, as I have had daily trainings on the other side of town, we have errands to run here and there; occasionally, we get strapped. And to be honest, I was pretty much done with bicycling across town with sweat dripping down my face and returning with ten kilos worth of groceries, just to unload them and bike back to get ten more kilos!
About a month ago we borrowed an automatic motorbike from a friend to give it a shot. It had less power than ours, sits a little lower to the ground, and is pretty comparable to a go-cart. I adjusted and thought this was a great solution. We began to contemplate purchasing a used automatic motorbike for me.
I was feeling great about this decision, until one of the neighbor girls saw me riding the automatic motorbike. Noticing it wasn’t our usual and probably not intending any harm, she pointed to the motorbike and asked, “Stephen…one; Kelli…one?”
I tried to explain it was borrowed, but her thought still stuck with me. If we did purchase a second, this would be the case. Stephen would have a motorbike and a bicycle; I would have a motorbike and a bicycle. For a community of thirty or forty sharing one motorbike and a few bicycles, our lives appear so extravagant. We each have our own bicycle, and a motorbike now! And now we were contemplating another?
I began to weigh the decision more heavily, considering how it would be viewed to our community. I would have the freedom to take them to the hospital more easily. But it was also the easy way out: I didn’t have to brave my fear of the standard motorbike, and we wouldn’t have to plan our schedules around sharing a motorbike. You might be able to argue it would be slightly safer, but it’s a weak argument.
Really, it was for our convenience; and even more to allow me to avoid my fear. It would be the extravagant choice. I could learn the other motorbike. We could share, eliminating the expense of purchasing another one and choosing to work together on our schedules.
I convinced myself of this while running on Thursday night: that I should conquer my fears, save the money, and take the harder way out.
But after a good, long run, I was convinced. It was a better financial decision; it was better for us–challenging us to not take the easy way; and ultimately it was better for me to just face my fears. And for me, it was a small way to love our neighbors and attempt to relate to them.
I still hate having that much power sitting beneath me. I hate my whole body being that exposed to being thrown onto concrete.
I like seatbelts.
But I went for a drive that night, while my determination was strong and my confidence was at least present. I practiced twice the next day and even visited town for a few errands on Friday.
And as of yet, I have not wrecked; so this is longer than last time 🙂