Disney songs. Overused. Oversung. Over it.
Except Pocahontas. She will forever be my heroine. Not only because I am positive that somewhere in my ancestry we are related, but also because she is a princess who can swan dive off of waterfalls, cradle bear cubs, talk to racoons and single-handedly unite two waring groups out of her very own love for one blond haired, egotistical soldier. But most importantly, she sings songs of wisdom that have inspired me since 1995. I used to sing the ballad "Just Around the Riverbend" with gusto, assuming that some day I would face the same problems that she had. Such as, "Should I marry Kocoum? Is all my dreaming at an end... ooooooor should I still wait for you, Dream Giver?"
Fastfoward to 2009. I am twenty-two years old. I do not listen to the Pocahontas soundtrack on a regular basis; however, I do have it on my iTunes. And when I'm in need of some inspiration, I readily whip out some Native American folklore. Pocahontas sings to me. She tells me that anything is possible, that we shouldn't always follow traditions or expectations. She reminds me that to be safe we lose the chance of ever knowing what's around the riverbend.
What does this have to do with my current situation in Amsterdam? Honestly, not a whole lot. But if I can be so bold as to attempt to connect it, you really never know what's just around the riverbend. As Mother Willow so eloquently expresses in her solo, Listen with your heart. You will understand. And so we follow our hearts. To Hungary.
We have been given the amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity to work with an organization in Budapest, Hungary. And so we booked cheap flights and will cross the continent into the former Soviet bloc country that is still reeling from the devastation of a post-cold war culture and economy. It is a journey that may not immediately change our lives and we might not appreciate the significance of it this weekend... but it's big. 60% of the women trafficked into Amsterdam are from Hungary. It's a new phenomenon and no one has been able to figure out why so many Hungarians, over other Eastern European women, are ending up in the city. And so we pioneer. We pack our tiny bags and head to a country full of mystery.
Was the a roundabout way to inform you of the latest turn in our research? Yes. But was it interesting? Maybe. Embarassingly honest? Absolutely.