Belgium Visit With Friends and a Wheelchair

I’m back from Belgium Testing Days. I had a blast.

When I was in Belgium, I had a chance to visit with Yves Hanoulle and his delightful family. Lisa Crispin and her husband Bob and I took the train out to see Yves. I’d asked in email how large the gap between the train and the platform is. Yves said that they were retrofitting trains to reduce the gap.

Well, not on our train. Big gap. And, we had to change trains at a station without a working elevator. When I try to take an escalator, I get dizzy and nauseous because my oscillopsia kicks in. (When I look down, the world moves up/down/sideways. I can’t tell where the moving stairs are.) So I take elevators or stairs. Since the elevator didn’t work, I took the stairs, then took Bob’s hand and we sprinted toward the train we needed. I’m pretty speedy when I have another hand and my cane.

We had tons of fun with Yves and his family. Did I remember I had a camera and a phone with a camera? No. No pictures at all. Grumble. Jet lag. That’s all I can say.

I stayed safe by asking for help.

The next day, the organizers had arranged a surprise which turned out to be sightseeing. Well, European sightseeing almost always involves walking on cobblestones, which is beyond my capabilities. I asked a bunch of questions, and said I would stay at the hotel. They would have none of it. Since we were right next to the airport, they commandeered a wheelchair, and that was it.

I had some of the biggest names in software testing pushing me around Leuven, Belgium.

Julian Harty pushing me

Julian Harty took the first shift.

He even popped some wheelies, which made it easier to get over the curbs and the cobblestones.

Bumping over the cobbles was not easy for me–every bump still jostled my brain which made me dizzy. But I didn’t have to walk, so it was easier.

I missed getting a picture of Lloyd Roden pushing me.

I did get Lee Copeland. He is standing in front of the elevators with me.

I am glad to have participated in the sightseeing.

After that, we made dinner. Well, everyone else made dinner. I sat and talked to Karen Johnson. I hadn’t had a chance to schmooze with Karen in years, so that was quite fun.

It was a very long day. In retrospect, too long for me. I was exhausted. I should know better. But the extrovert in me wants to be with the people. The damaged part of me needs more rest. The problem is that the vertigo always trumps the personality. Always.

But I asked for help, I took the help, and I had a great time with friends. And, I got to see a little part of Belgium. Fun!

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