A Basque in Boise

Vanity license plates

GATIBUYesterday, while I was driving back to work from my lunch break, I saw this big-a$$ truck with a “MYTRUCK” custom plate in the front of it.

One of the cool things about the US is the fact that one can pay a little extra and get a license plate (vanity license plate) that fits their lifestyle, personality, or interests. For about $60 (as opposed to $35), not only can you choose amongst a bunch of designs, but you can also make up your choice of numbers and letters.

My own license plate is like that. Most people don’t know what the hell it means, but I really don’t care, because it means a lot to me. For starters, I chose the Sheep Wagon themed license plate to support Basque activities in Boise. When you chose a personalized plate, part of the extra money goes to support the organization or group featured in the license plate. Then you can add your own wording. In general you are allowed 7 characters to make up your word, but in my case, the sheep wagon takes up extra space so I could only use 5. Thus the “GATBU” instead of “GATIBU”. Probably most people in the Basque Country now got it, right?

In my opinion, Gatibu rocks. The reason why I chose them for my license plate goes beyond the music; thinking about this group brings up memories of one of the toughest but best times of my life. The beginning of a new journey on my own, before the full weight of responsibility and growing up hit me square in the face. A time to make long-lasting friendships and learn a lot about myself. A great trip back to the Basque Country, to reconnect with my friends and family, and where I actually got to meet the band (I will never forget Morga, remember, Itxaso and Irune?). Then there is the meaning of the word “Gatibu” in itself (“captive”), because, as much as I love Boise and I am happy here, I feel like that sometimes. I can’t move back to the Basque Country, I can only visit, and not that often.

Anyway, to me the whole point of getting a custom license plate is to help an organization you feel strongly about, or chose a word meaningful to you. But, seriously… Is it really worth the extra money to get a “MYTRUCK” license plate for your truck? We can already see it is a truck, and that you are driving it.

Thanks for passing by: ↓

8 thoughts on “Vanity license plates

  1. Diana

    Henar, as much as I understand your Gatibu feeling, because I feel the same (albeit, in relation to Argentina), I will say that I’m so happy to have found you gatibu in Boise with me. Don’t you even dare to think about leaving! Maite zaitut, enana. Y al que diga otra cosa, que le den.

  2. Henar Chico

    Thanks, coleguita. Perdón por el ‘edit’. You know I’m here for the long run. Musu!

  3. NeskaBaska

    Great blog entry. You are right on expressing your feelings of “captivity” in a foreign land. Nobody who has never experienced what it means to be an “immigrant” would ever understand the feelings of alienation, loneliness, and isolation that people like you and I (living away from our country 15+ years) feel. Even though we “adapt,” speak the language, have jobs and friends in our adopted countries, it is not and will never be “home”…


  4. Henar Chico

    Thanks, NeskaBaska. I do love being in Boise, and I wouldn’t change coming here for anything. It has been a learning experience since I arrived in the US 14 years ago, and it continues to be so. But that does not mean I can alter how I feel sometimes. You know. Muxu!

  5. Jon

    It’s a great idea. I think in Basque Country it’s not possible to choose your plate.
    Gatibu is one of the best groups I’ve ever listen to.

  6. Henar Chico

    Hi Jon, thanks for the comment. You are right, you cannot choose your licence plate in the Basque Country. I was trying to find out if you can in any European country, and it looks like it’s possible to personalize your plate in the UK to a certain degree, but nothing like what we can do in the USA.

    Ondo pasa eta eskerrik asko irakurtzeagatik!@Jon

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