Friday, October 4, 2013

Welcome to Europe.

On Saturday I'll be giving a twenty minute lecture on my life with Cerebral Palsy and how all the years in Hungary have helped me become more independent. The congress organizers have decided to sponsor three nights at a hotel, a bit odd considering I'm traveling from across the pond, the congress is three days exactly and I was asked to be there for all of it. That's part of the reason I've decided to go to Poland for a week (other than I haven't seen my family in years) - I feared I wouldn't be able to pull it off, and the idea is a bit ill-conceived. The conference starts Thursday and I'm arriving in Munich Tuesday. Sounds simple enough, right? I'm even bringing my parents to help me.... Wrong. Finding a wheelchair accessible hotel in Munich or anywhere close is a nightmare. A perfect commentary to anything disability related. Welcome  to Europe, you're not wanted here. There are stairs everywhere, there are lifts nowhere. Of course you can find some really expensive high end places for hundreds of euros a night, but I'm not prepared to make such significant personal investment into something I'm doing for others, something I was asked to do as a guest. We were planning to stay with my uncle in Munich, that's why we decided to fly there Tuesday and not the day after. A week ago he seemed excited to see us, but now it seems that something may have happened. We now can't reach him. We don't know where to go, what happened and if he's expecting us. The last two days were spent calling hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts and agencies and in most places asking about wheelchair access felt like requesting door knobs made of gold. The whole trip feels like everything is falling apart, as every plan and every contingency falls through. Even the suits that my parents wanted me to wear proudly in Munich, waiting for me  in Warsaw, don't fit me anymore. A lot of stress, very little information, and that's just the first step. I'm ready to be done with this already

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