It's been about a month since I bought my car and I think I've really gotten the hang of the whole driving stick thing. At first it was a little frustrating because I kept stalling and was nervous about pissing people off and being too slow, but some encouragement from a friend and the stick-driving Reddit community made me less worried. I still have to concentrate on listening to the engine when I'm driving around town but the sweet spot is showing itself must faster now.
Parallel parking is coming easier, making me more confident that I can squeeze into those tiny spaces, and I've tackled the big scary hill by my apartment a couple of times. I still get excited when I shift smoothly and angry with myself when I make a mistake. But the mistakes happen a lot less often now.
There are still a couple situations that I don't have a handle on: letting the engine slow the car down in a low gear (the engine sounds like it's freaking out) and inching forward in traffic (it's probably best to just not do that). But learning all these things, and the intricacies of driving a manual transmission, is a lot of fun and it's really exciting. I can't wait until I'm good enough to teach my friends.
If there's any one part of manual driving that makes me think I have a handle on it, it's driving in heels and flip flops. In the last month, I've driven in my normal shoes, a couple different pairs of flip flops and heels at New Years and the only time I had a difficult time driving was when I drove barefoot after getting a pedicure. Driving in flip flops and heels was a slight concern when I started because The Ex would never drive in flip flops, saying it was too hard. Though he wouldn't walk in flip flops without intense prodding on my part either, so now I'm thinking it was more of an insecurity than a hardship... there's no way I could be a San Diego girl and not know how to do anything and everything in flip flops, and I can't very well always bring an extra pair of shoes when I need to wear heels, now could I?