Brussels

Can I please just point out– and after six trains in Belgium, I know– that Belgian trains have ridiculously high steps? And it’s not just me, when I returned home a friend of mine and I were discussing Belgium and he agreed. Epically high, a stranger pulling you up, nearly dropping your cane steps. It also does not make things better when you take the wrong train. Sorry if I expect the train on my platform five minutes before mine leaves actually goes where I need to go…

But that’s beside the point. I went to Belgium to meet Maude, another young woman with Dermatosparaxis. I stayed with a woman who had once been her tutor. At her house I got to know her very nice daughter and two granddaughters, as well as her study abroad student from France. I also got to talk with several people about disability attitudes and such.

Maude and I had very different upbringings. I am very lucky to have parents who see my disability as just another part of me, and let me live my life as ordinarily as possible– just with added bandages. Maude’s parents were more careful, and justifiably so. It’s a scary thing when the merest bump could lead to a long battle with infection.

But, I also learned how grateful I should be for American school inclusion and for my friends who never saw me as different.

One day while I was there my host and her exchange student took me to Bruges, an adorable city outside of Brussels. I used a wheelchair that day so that we could see as many sights as possible. They were very helpful, but I have to admit I cannot imagine being a wheelchair user on all of those cobbles!

I don’t have a lot of commentary on Brussels itself, we only went for one day. I can say that the Cathedral of Saint Michel is GORGEOUS and so much more awe-inspiring in person. Also, it has a handicapped bathroom, fun fact.

Travelling, though, is more than seeing he sights. It’s about cultural exchange. I got to speak French in my three days there, and that was so encouraging, to see that I could really manage. I also hope I got to inspire some thoughts about what a disability does and does not have to mean. I think that was part of my motivation for traveling in the first place….

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One Response to “Brussels”

  1. Danielle Lavigne Says:

    I watched “In Bruges” the other day and it did look reeeally pretty! Glad you got to see it!

    Loving the blog, x

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