Those who admire modern civilization usually identify it with the steam engine and the electric telegraph.
— George Bernard Shaw
I don't know anything about the electric telegraph, but I know with certainty that one of the delights we've come across on this journey, that we may very well have missed, is the joy of traveling by train. The train between King Street station in Seattle, and the train station in Portland takes about 3 1/2 hours. The journey would be the same by car, but it is in no way as enjoyable.
On a train, you can get up and move around whenever you want. There's no "please remain in your seat until the seatbelt sign goes off," or "place your tray tables in the upright position." There's no tapping the brakes in rush-hour traffic, arguing about which lane is traveling the fastest, or taking time out to stop for bathroom breaks. Amazingly enough, the bathroom travels right along with you, and even when you're using it, you continue making forward progress! You're allotted more than 18 square inches of seat and leg room, and there's even enough space to stretch your legs out and recline a bit. There's plug-ins to keep your electronic distractions charged up, and even Wi-Fi on some routes.
Perhaps the best part about train travel, are the people. We've met a lacrosse team traveling from California back to Canada, a young college grad from Denmark who traveled from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles and finally to Seattle, all by train, and all sorts of other people. People are just friendlier on trains. If you happen to take the route with the dining car, on your journey you'll be seated with two other people, whom you don't know, for dinner or lunch. Although Aaron finds this a bit tiresome, I love it. How often do we break bread with strangers anymore? Although you may only be sharing space with them for less than an hour, there's plenty of time to talk and start seeing the world through their point of view. It's always an adventure, and you never know what you're going to get!
The coast of Washington is beautiful to see by train. Much more beautiful than looking at every McDonald's and Chevron sign up and down the freeway. Just for the adventure, I highly recommend everybody try it one time, at least. You'll see the world from a whole different perspective. Whenever I start to feel like this journey is getting tedious, and I'm weary of traveling the road between Seattle and Portland, and back again, I try to remind myself that it could be so much worse…We could have to drive all the time!
We just rode the train down on Sunday and back on Monday for our 12 week appointment. It was our first time at the midwifery clinic. The midwives are all nurse-midwives, and practice at Oregon Health Science University Hospital. The baby will be delivered in the hospital in the same room that would be used if we were using an OB, however by a midwife. The first visit seemed very relaxed and personal. For the first time we got to hear the baby's heartbeat! What a great sound. "Lisa" was very excited that this ultrasound was the first that could be conducted through her belly instead of with the ubiquitous and highly personal "vag cam". Lisa and I are both happy to be done with that! Our baby is looking great. S/he is measuring five days older than s/he actually is. What a surprise, a child of Aaron and I, is already an overachiever. S/he was quite active, waving arms and legs, however also compliant and positioning his/herself just perfectly to take measurements for some sort of genetic testing and a first look for Down syndrome. So far everything looks great.
And, for those of you who are curious, the "fruit" comparison for this week is that of a peach. Frankly, given all the genetic manipulations and growth hormones, I've seen plenty of "limes" (last week's fruit of choice) that are the same size as peaches, but our glorious app tells us that this is a distinct growth.