Monday, April 11, 2011

I learned...

While traveling some 2,200 miles on a train with my boys and two of our favorite people, I learned quite a bit.

First and foremost I learned that I am not crazy, as many thought when I told them of our plans.  I knew it would be a challenge with a 2 and (barely) 5-year-old but I vowed to go into it with an open mind and an adventurous soul and was blessed with immeasurable rewards in return.  I want to thank Tiffany and Brielle for taking on this journey with us because not only did it make the trip that much more fun and memorable, but it gave me the courage and support I needed to forge ahead when so many thought I was insane!  Especially since when Tiff signed on for this trip she originally thought I was suggesting a trip to Portland, MAINE.  HA!

I learned that people FROM Oregon, do NOT pronounce it Or-eh-gone as I had, but rather, Or-uh-gin with a soft g sound).

I learned that the people here are all amazing! Sweet. Helpful. Friendly. Polite. Even, dare I say, genuine? Great group of people!

I learned that a city really can be clean and cultured and safe and pleasant all at the same time!!  Portland must have some amazing systems in place because I have never seen a cleaner City.  The buildings were clean, the streets were clean (and liter free!), and everywhere you went they offered "green" options (hold the bag, skip the coffee liner, reduce, recycle, reuse!).  They even had these most fabulous solar powered garbage compost bins.  Throw your garbage in and solar energy compacts it somehow.  Pretty cool.  It must be a healthy city, too...everywhere you went there were bike racks (even little kid ones outside their daycares/schools) and there was a big push for biking, for example, bike trails and bike lanes).  I waited at a stop light in a line of cars that was just as long as the line of bikers on their daily commute.  So cool!

I learned that train travel is so much better than plane travel. Even with the delays and extra time it takes, it sure beats the anxiety and stuffiness of flying. I’d take the adventure over the convenience any day!!  You have to go into it with a flexible attitude but that is just up my alley!  We were treated like royalty and most of the staff were wonderful and sweet!

I learned that traveling anywhere with my two small children is NOT crazy, it’s FUN. They are troopers. They adjust so easily to any circumstance or situation, they’re flexible, they go with the flow and they love the adventure as much as I do. Sure they had their moments when listening, behaving, and taking naps were not their strongest skills, but considering the excitement, the chaos, the schedule, and the time changes, I think they were amazing!!

I learned that I really do have the best family! They are worth traveling across the WORLD for, much less across the country! I have been blessed with a family I am proud to call mine. I wish Marc & Lindsay the best of everything in their new life together and am so glad I was able to make it to their wedding. What a great time! Welcome to the family, Lindsay!!

I learned that this country of ours is gorgeous.  Just as I had made an assumption that certain states were boring (North Dakota was flat, Montana was snowy and blowy), our return trip would show me the beautiful trees "sugared" in freshly fallen snow in North Dakota.  Or I'd get to see Montana on a bright, sunny day with the bluest sky you've ever seen!  And Washington...oh, Washington.  What a beautiful state!  The mountains and the lakes...and how the later reflects the former!  It was a sight to behold!  I could spend days just soaking in the sights of Washington!  Oregon was gorgeous itself - everything covered in the most glorious green you've ever seen.  Coming from the drab brown and stark white of winter in New York, this was magnificent!  

Most importantly, I learned that if you don't DO what you dream, then you're just hollowly TALKING about your goals.  And talking about it doesn't get you any closer to actually living your dreams.  I am so glad to have made this trip and look forward to many more adventures to check off my "bucket list"!

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