|as visions of hermit crabs danced in their heads|
Amtrak doesn't have WiFi – hence the lack of updates. Even if it did, I probably wouldn't have had time to utilize it. I have time now because I opted for collapsing in bed rather than joining my family at my cousin's graduation. (After sleeping on the floor for four nights in TX because Extended Stay America messed up my reservations, a good bed is slightly more alluring than being sociable. Plus, I can be social with my new friend – the cat – who enjoys joining me for sleep. He doesn't mind if I'm an introvert and choose to sit at the other end of the bed with my face buried in my laptop. He's currently cuddled up with my bear, Carl, dreaming about going downstairs to feast on some hermit crabs.)
|my tiny friend Darius|
The lack of WiFi on the Amtrak is (shockingly) barely even noticeable – even after a three day train ride. Once you find an empty seat in the lounge car where you can stare outside at all of the scenery, time flies by at an alarming rate. (And if you do get bored and happen to be going through Texas, Arizona, or Nevada, you can count the cacti until you just fall asleep. And don't worry about missing anything while you're out like a light. There will be thousands more cacti to see when you wake up, along with an endless amount of rocks. If you're REALLY (un)lucky, you'll even see a few dust tornadoes!) The point is, I didn't have internet and I didn't really feel much of a need to access the online world. Between the lounge car, the snack car, and the dining car, I was fairly entertained. (It also didn't hurt that I had two three year olds to keep me busy.)
|Woody's Diner at Seal Beach|
I'm in Anaheim, California now. I got into LA about 6am PT yesterday morning then hopped another train to my aunt's house to stay with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and their pets for a week. It's a fairly nice – fairly awkward – vacation. I'm not quite made for staying with other people. I do better on my own where I can hole myself up in a corner and sit in silence for extended periods of time if I need to. But being here, staying with them, is great. Since we're across the country from each other, it's not often that we have time to spend together. And we have plans ranging from Venice Beach to Nature Preserves to keep me occupied. We hit up Seal Beach yesterday where I encountered a terrifying pelican then had amazing burgers at Woody's.
|Carl and Bearca at Downtown Disney|
And, finally, better than Austin, better than the Amtrak, better than knowing I'm going to finally get to see LA, I have the opportunity to spend time with the one actual, good friend that I have. It's weird already to have a friend that makes plans with me then goes through with them – and hasn't already ditched me early to go hang out with someone better. I almost can convince myself to feel like I'm not a last resort for once. From exploring our way to Starbucks to mulch battling to taking our fuzzy bear children, Carl and Bearca, to Downtown Disney, it's a bit overwhelming (in a good way) to be around someone who actively wants to spend time with me and (hopefully) likes being friends. Having someone make time for me and not mind driving to see me throws me for a loop. I've already been told by family that I look much happier than they're used to seeing me. I guess feeling like someone wants me and loves me for once can have a visible impact.
Leaving is going to be the worst.