Most importantly, it has boosted my language, because I have to take the kids across town to a very non-descript location using my language skills with a taxi driver.
Hence the reason that I have been lost no less than five times in a taxi.
The first time we ever went, I followed some instructions from the internet. Based on those instructions, the taxi driver took me 15 minutes to the outskirts of the OTHER side of town.
I had to relent and call a friend who was already at the soccer field. He got a local to get on the phone with the taxi driver and explain where we needed to go.
I paid extra.
The next time, I asked the driver if he knew where the field was based on some new vocabulary I had acquired. He said, "Yes." Unwisely, I started talking to the kids and not looking where we were going. After 15 minutes, Caleb said, "Mom, we're late." When I looked up, nothing looked familiar, AND our taxi driver asked the car next to him for directions while we were at a light.
That man didn't know either.
So he stopped and asked another man who didn't know either.
This field is VERY well hidden, believe me!
Finally, when I knew we were close (because we had circled around to what I felt was familiar), I waved down some women, and THEY knew where to go.
The third time, I was sure to pay attention, even though the driver said he knew where it was. He started off in a direction I wasn't familiar with, and since it wasn't the way I knew, we both were lost until I recognized some buildings from my previous jaunt around town with the second driver, and I was able to give accurate directions.
These pictures aren't the best, but they are all I have currently.
I won't go into detail on every drive that I've been lost (because you don't have that much time), but I've learned some lessons about these people and their "yeses." It's a lot like Africa. The nationals don't want to disappoint you, so they'd rather say, "yes, " and figure it out or be lost than let you down at the beginning.
So now, I either dictate every turn from the beginning OR I re-hire over and over the same man who parks on our street.
He is a nice, honest man.
And I always take my taxi companion.
The stuff that looks like black tire torn up in the football grass surely leaves my children looking lovely.
On Mondays, when Doug was teaching his session, I used to taxi everyone to the football fields, let Karis play for 30 minutes, then leave Caleb, and taxi the girls to dance.
Drop them off, and taxi back to pick up Caleb, then taxi back to dance to wait 1.5 more hours for them to finish.
One Monday, I paid our neighborhood taxi driver (pictured above - and one of the initial ones I got lost with) to stay with me the entire night.
Of course, I didn't know how to say that, so at each stop, I would ask him to wait a certain number of minutes, and then take me somewhere else. I'm sure he wasn't expecting to be occupied for so long!
He waited while Karis played football for 30 minutes, took me to drop the girls at the dance studio, went back to the football field, and he waited again for Caleb to finish. When he dropped us at the dance studio at the end of the night to wait for the girls, I let him go, and paid him well.
I think this will all be a little easier once we buy a vehicle....