Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I've Been Working On The Railroad! Well, Riding, Actually.

Guess where I am? I am blogging from a train! 

I was pretty mad because I saw on the Amtrak website that the trains have wifi, but then it turned out that this one doesn't. And I wasn't getting any reception on the little mobile wireless stick I bought before I left Chicago. Luckily, now that we're in the midwest, I have reception again! The rest of this trip is going to fly by!

Because I'm writing about my aunt and uncle a lot, I thought I'd give them bloggy names. So my aunt is Auntie M (like Dorothy's Auntie Em!) and my uncle is Uncle J. I'm so creative, haha. Roo, the dog, is still going to be Roo. 

So. Anyways. Friday evening Auntie M, Uncle J, Roo, and Roo's doggie friend Cookie all came with to drop me off at the train station. I was trying really hard to stay calm and positive and cheerful, but I just couldn't help it... the tears kept spilling out! All I had to do was look at Roo and I'd feel like bawling my head off! (Me and Roo are totally best friends.)
By the time the train rolled in, I was a mess! I am so not good at hiding my emotions. Pretty much whatever my face is doing is exactly what my mind and heart are doing! 
Auntie M took a picture of me bawling as I got on the train. She must
have recognized it as a "bloggable moment!"
Things actually seemed to get worse as I got on the train. The town I am getting off at (a suburb of Chicago, which is easier for my mom to pick me up at) doesn't have baggage service, which meant I had to lug my gigantic suitcase onto the train. Plus my backpack, of course, and my very important bag of snacks! I hauled my stuff onto the train, and then I had to drag it up a very narrow, steep flight of stairs to the top level. These stairs in the train are no joke! Later on during my trip, I actually saw an old lady fall on them! I had to drag my suitcase up one at a time.

Then, the top level was crowded, so I was dragging my suitcase and all my stuff up and down this very narrow aisle, with tears still pouring out of my eyes, feeling like everyone was staring at me! I was getting a little freaked out here!

One of the conductors (who was actually am Amtrak Car Assistant, and don't call them conductors or they get kinda sore at you) asked me if I had found a place to sit. When I said no, he went and asked some guy to scootch over so I could sit by him. So I jammed my suitcase, backpack, snack bag, and self, into the seat, barely having room to move! I just covered my face with the sleeves of my sweatshirt and sobbed silently. I really can't stop my own tears... sometimes the only thing I can do is let it go and get it over with!

I was actually texting my mom and Auntie M and Sunny at the same time, and they all started texting me back, so I started calming down and feeling better. Then the couple across the aisle from me told me a place where I could stash my giant suitcase. And then the guy sitting next to me randomly started talking to me and asking me where I was going and stuff, and since I was engaged in conversation I was distracted from my sadness and I felt better. The guy next to me turned out to be really nice and we talked a whole lot of the time. We were on the train for about 30 hours, literally, before he got down in some little town in North Dakota. He was really good at spotting wild animals outside as we sped past so he kept pointing out deer to me, and once a coyote! So by the time I was ready to sleep I was doing much better. 

Yesterday I ate lunch in the dining car. It is super expensive, but I thought it would be a fun experience! It is kind of weird, because they just seat everyone in the first available seat at any table, so if you are by yourself or with one other person, you will definitely be sitting with at least two random people you don't know. So I got more practice talking to random people and making small talk. It is actually fun to hear everyone's different stories about where they're from, where they're going, and why. The lady across the table from me, and her little granddaughter, were on their way to North Dakota because the lady's husband had gone there a month ago, found a job and a place to live, and had sent for them. She said a lot of people were moving to North Dakota because there were jobs and houses available there. The old guy next to me, who by the way smelled nasty, was headed to Wisconsin to buy a marina! And the best part was, I had a chocolate mousse parfait for dessert!

After the guy I was sitting by on the train got down, I had the two seats to myself. I was sorry to see him go because he was funny and cheered me up, but the good news was I could stretch out on the two seats, so I slept much better last night! Like a rock, really!

Except it was really cold. I think they lower the temperature in the cars at night so that you will go buy these "passenger comfort kits" they sell for $8.00 in the lounge. They have some sort of blanket and travel pillow in them. 

I have about six more hours on this train, before I get back to Chicago. The plan for me to move to Oregon or California, by the way, is officially on... even my parents know about it and are happy. All I have to do now is find a job in Illinois, and save up as much money as I can before summer!

My last day in Oregon, Uncle J and I climbed this giant
mountain! Well actually it is a rock. And we hiked, not climbed. It was
a huge rock, called Beacon Rock I think. It took half an hour to go up.
I climbed onto the very highest point! I was kind of scared of
falling down. But I didn't. 

1 comment :

  1. I looooove traveling by train. I'm so glad things got better for you.

    I took a month-long cross-country trip on Amtrak when I was 23. It might have been one of the happiest and most exciting (and yes, sometimes scary) times in my life.

    I'm so proud of you that you're making plans! Go you!


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