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Posted 2017-04-22T21:14:49Z

Happy S.A.D.

Three years ago, I was sprung from REHAB for an evening to participate in our annual emotional Staff Appreciation Dinner (which we are roundly discouraged from referring to as SAD, but it made a great title for this week's post, don't you think?). I will always remember the overwhelming emotions I had that first outing away from REHAB four months into my stay there, and I was reflecting on how far I've come since then during this evenings events. I am particularly amazed at all that I managed through this week in light of the expectations I had after my first staff dinner. 

Early Easter Monday, my friend Jenny drove Katrina and I to the Basel train station to catch a 7:15 to Mannheim that connected us to a train to Munich where we took a Starbucks break before our final long train to Budapest. We'd reserved the tickets in advance and told them I was in a wheelchair, and I was so relieved to see a person at each platform with the lift to help me in and out of each train. 

I was already so grateful for my friendship with Katrina because I'm convinced she is one of the most amazing people on the planet, but traveling with her only made me love her more. Her German skills were particularly helpful at the train stations, and her patience in carting my sticks and bag around while I was helped on and off or pushing me through long stretches made the trip so much more amazing. 

I'd never had much of a chance to enjoy the close proximity to so many beautiful European cities before my accident, and I'd hesitated to ask people to take me along on an adventure because I worried about being a burden. Katrina had invited me along with her on this trip, and I cannot stress how wonderful this friend is for never once making me feel like a burden as she pushed me through the streets of Budapest with a recovering foot injury of her own.

We were staying in the home of some friends of Katrina's, and I felt like a champion making it up the six narrow steps to the main level of their home where they had graciously put an air mattress for me because I wasn't able to manage the even smaller steps up to the rest of the house where the beds were. The first morning, Katrina and I navigated back down the super steep driveway and to the nearest bus station. We were pleasantly surprised to find that every Budapest blue bus (the major lines in the city) were all handicapped accessible. Each driver hopped off and unfolded the ramp to help me on or off at each stop. Only one of the several we encountered so much as grumbled at the task.

I'd heard from some friends that the Cave Church was one of the best attractions in Budapest, so we made our way there first and were not disappointed. In fact, I think it was one of my favorite things we visited, and I was able to get around almost every part of it with no problem in the wheelchair. Katrina graciously pushed me up along the Danube as we enjoyed the city view on the overcast day before meeting up with my friend from Multnomah who just moved to Hungary in January. Jessica is working with Josiah Venture in Gyor which is a couple hours away, but she managed to work out coming to visit that afternoon so we could catch up.

Wednesday we woke up to wet snow which was significantly colder weather than either of us packed for, but we blazed onwards into the city and visited Matthias Church, the Hospital in the Rock, and St. Stephen's Basilica all which allowed us in for free with the wheelchair. We saw the castle too, but it didn't seem to be a great place to visit in a wheelchair according to the internet, so we contented ourselves with a view as we left the Fisherman's Bastion Starbucks after drying out a bit from walking. The Basilica was our last stop of the day as I had to wait outside in the freezing cold rain while Katrina found an attendant who spoke English or German who could help us unlock the elevator on the backside of the building. Unfortunately, I wasn't up for making it to the Parliament building and the bronze shoes in front of the Danube that commemorate the Jews killed in the Holocaust, so we caught the closest bus back to the house to warm up and dry out. Thursday we slept in and headed to the international Christian school where a friend of Katrina's showed us around before taking us to get some good Hungarian food. 

Friday was another early morning as we headed to catch a 7:40 train, but I was able to sleep in this morning and relax before the staff dinner tonight. Aside from the six steps at the home we stayed in and the full flight of stairs at the Budapest train station that had two out of service elevators, I didn't do much walking, so I was a tad worried about my legs today. Praise the Lord, I managed my usual loop around the fire station with my sticks and braces and no problems. I was tired by the end, but I know my stamina will jump back up as I get back into a routine of walking and even increase my daily steps.

I won't have Cindy to walk with me the next couple weeks, but I'm so thankful for the people in this community who can help make my recovery possible either stepping in with walking beside me or meeting various other needs I have. Katrina is at the top of the list for the emotional and relational support offered in our friendship that allowed for me to experience such a great vacation on my spring break despite my various limitations. Dozens of others around BFA make my recovery so much easier, and I had a couple of great conversations tonight as people spoke words of truth and encouragement to me. Next year, I'll be recognized for five years of service at BFA, and I can't wait to see what level of recovery I've reached by that point.

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Comments (4)

  • Chuck Felton
    Chuck Felton

    Nanine and I were in Budapest in December of 2014 and enjoyed some of the same places that you described. So glad you could go.

    7 years ago · Reply
  • Corrine Rogers
    Corrine Rogers

    Sounds like a wonderful trip and friend. So glad you had that opportunity.

    7 years ago · Reply
  • Helen Spencer
    Helen Spencer


    7 years ago · Reply
  • Stephensfam

    WOW- what a wonderful experience with a wonderful friend! A gift straight from our Jesus. I love it!!

    7 years ago · Reply