Meet My First Car – Robert

*Written on 3/25/2012*

You have always been there for me, never leave my side wherever I may go.  Even in the rain, snow, or under the sun, you have been with me for thousands of miles.


Meet Robert–

Yes, Robert is my car. Hey guys, allow me to introduce Robert! My 1997 Nissan Sentra GXE! I named my car in the honor of his previous owner, who was my boyfriend at the time.

My college life would be missing out a whole lot of fun if it wasn’t for Robert. Last year, after my boyfriend left the country to teach in Taiwan, he gave me this car. The car that he got from his sister, who got it from somebody else, but either way the source of the car was unknown. When I sat in the driver’s seat as the car owner for the first time, I could feel an emotional connection with this car. Not because I felt sad that my boyfriend has left, but because of the joy that my dream came to reality – YES I GOT A CAR!

My mom never got a car at my age. Not to mention owning a vehicle, she never started driving until my dad past, which was around her mid-thirties. After coming to the U.S., my aunt and uncle had to drive me around places. Their work schedule wasn’t the best to work with. There were times when I had to wait until 4 or 5 in the afternoon in order to be picked up after school. After going to college,  I had to ask friends to take me to grocery shopping or take me  to work. It sure sounded impossible, doesn’t it? A life in America without cars. I lived through it however, all those restless days of coordinating rides and begging for rides were behind me. It was such a privilege for me to be having the luxury of a car at such an young age.

Getting a car was ONLY the first step, later I realized. It took me forever trying to find car insurance with an affordable price. On the ads and commercials, I could always find something along the gimmicks of- cheapest price guaranteed or best coverage, but their true, ugly, and deceiving side reveals when it actually comes down to giving a quote. After going through a rigorous research and making uncountable phone calls, I found it hard to find a good deal for me: a single, teenage, female, Asian, immigrant driver who had never driven ever since the date she got her drivers’ licence (which was about 4 years). Furthermore, finding good deal on gas is another problem. I often found myself debating on 5 cents difference in gas, and driving around town to compare gas prices. Well, anyways, I managed through.

Tips on saving gas:

  1. Don’t drive unless it’s necessarily, DUH.
  2. Take the shuttle/ car pool.
  3. Roll down windows instead of using ac unless you’re driving on highway or you came from Alaska.
  4. Drive efficiently. (My car is the most efficient on gas at 55  mph. After reaching that speed, car will burn up more gas to maintain at high speed. Many cars are different.)
  5. Turn off your car engine when you’re waiting for the train or at a drive through.
  6. Fill up gas using your grocery fuel perks at all time. Collaborate grocery shopping time to around when  you’re running out of gas. Otherwise, pump little at the time because you never know if gas is going to be cheaper tomorrow.

Even though I lack experience in driving back then, my boyfriend was a very good instructor.

On top of all that, I respond quickly and I am very coordinate. I think I got the coordination from the video games I play. Also, I grew up in a city, so I’ve coped with BAD traffic. It’s been a year since I got the title to the car, but I have never been even close to an accident or get pull-over by a cop. I have, however, done some very stupid things with my cars before: like locking my keys in the car, forgetting to screw the gas cap back on, and etc.

I love to put bumper stickers on Robert. He came with some stickers already, but I am always putting more. whenever I travel, I put a sticker on it, and I’ve been trying very hard to hold myself back on spending stickers money (Just now, I’m looking at a zelda bumper sticker, and I really really really want it.) In addition, I also enjoy turning the music up with my arm hanging out the window. You might say only guys  do that, but I don’t see a problem doing that. I used to have DDR songs on a CD, but a few months ago I sold them. Now I’m switching between radio stations.

I found my car extremely interesting that I even made a song about it. Just like everyone else, I sometimes pile junk in the back seat. I collect cardboard boxes because I have a secondary income on amazon. When I drive with my windows roll down, I could hear the rattling sound of the boxes in the back seat. It adds more beats to my music, lol. Sometimes,  I find cat’s attractions to Robert. I saw cats walking on my cars, leaving tiny foot prints. Also, from time to time, I’ll see a cat  napping under my car.

Robert has made a dramatic change in my life. Free, I am; absolutely free to commute to any place at any time I want. I have gained more pride after having a procession to a car. In addition, I became better with my sense of direction and distance. More options for work became available, and thus opportunities in the society. I’m sure some of you have a car too. Stop and take a few minutes to think what it would be like without a car; then, you will realize how grateful you should be.

Even though my car made so many things possible in my life, it also brought a tremendous headache. As everyone would expect for an old car, oil leak, brake pads, engine stalling and all sorts of problem, you name it. Being an naive, inexperienced, first-time car owner, I felt that often times I was being ripped-off on services or parts.

In 2013, my grandpa passed away, and I received a good portion of the inheritance money towards a new car. As a penny pincher, I wanted a car that can save on gas, perhaps a hybrid. (Later on I realize that insurance on hybrids cost heavily more compare to a normal vehicle). My coworker who work on marketing and advertising with auto dealerships on a daily basis, referred me to a dealer- a giant in automotive sales industry in the Augusta, Ga area. They got me really good deal on a Toyota Prius C, and I bought it right away. Even though I was more than excited about my new car, I still felt devastated to trade in my old car. I even made a good-bye video for it.

Thank your car, guys!



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