For most of us that have owned our MINIs for a year or two it's easy to forget the sheer joy of the first weeks and months of ownership. Not that it gets old after a year or two mind you, but there's just nothing like those first 1000 miles.

So in an effort to relive some of that excitement for some and give a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel to others, here's an short piece from a new, first-time MINI owner that arrived in our inbox today:

As of August 17th, I became a MINI owner for the first time.

My Mini is a 2005 Chili Red MINI Cooper S. I got all three convenience packages; Premium Package, Sport Package and Cold Weather Package. I got the navigation system, upgraded HK sound system and Chrome Line Exterior Package. I also have a white roof (with sunroof), tartan red cloth with black leather, driving lamps and alarm. The only three options I did not get are the auto dimming rear view mirrors, rain sensing windshield wipers and no park distance control (which I don't think anyone really needs in a car short of 12 feet long). So I went all out and have not looked back once.

I took delivery of my car last week and cannot get enough of driving her. It's been an interesting (extremely fun goes without saying) experience. First, I've never owned a manual transmission car and collectively over my 16 years of driving, I think I've driven 'stick' maybe 3 hours total. So my Motoring experience with my new MINI (her name is Sally by the way) added a dynamic as I was not able to simply get in and drive like an expert. She is very forgiving with the clutch and gears and I've had no problems really. Biggest problem is getting used to a manual in bumper to bumper traffic on the streets of Chicago. As much as I love cars and driving, for years I've had people ask why I don't have a manual. They said I would love it. Well, so far, they were all right. I'm having a blast. So much control and it indeed adds to the driving experience.

I have put nearly 400 miles on her in roughly 5 days or so of driving. Friday night I got home from work and would not leave my fiancé alone until she agreed to get in the car with me and go for a drive. A drive without an established destination. She finally gave in after much prodding and I had a lot of fun just driving (she even admitted enjoying herself a bit too). I've never been one to just get in the car and go, but now with the MINI, it feels like exactly the thing to do when it is nice outside and there is free time to enjoy. I've also been entered into the 'cool car driving club' as well.

So I am a new MINI owner and a first-time European car owner and at this point, I can't ever see going back. I've already told my fiancé that I would love to hang on to my MINI and never get rid of it. In a couple of years I would like to get a BMW or whatever else strikes my interest at that time and keep the MINI as a weekend driver.

Hope everyone is enjoying their MINI as much as I am enjoying mine.

Thanks Greg for sharing! You can see more of Greg's car here.