Paige's Return to Deutschland!

Hallo Berlin! This blog will be a place for friends and family to get very occasional snip-its on Biggs' life in Germany.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It’s not all warm fuzzies…

It’s funny how much life changes in just one year. Last Halloween I was sitting in my office at the Center for Food Safety in Washington DC, wearing a mad cow disease costume, and frantically putting together a grad school application in one night. Then one year later I am in Amsterdam at an Irish pub dressed as little red riding hood with grad school classmates. Wait a new country you ask?
Yup, I will be in Amsterdam, actually a little outside, for the next four weeks. I am taking a course on Sexuality and Health. I signed up for this class because of course the topic is interesting and the timing was also good. It’s nice to have a month where I focus on something different before heading back to Pecs to wrap up my thesis. I am writing a paper here about mapping of prostitution in this test city which is 50 km north of Amsterdam.
Prostitution is fascinating. I mention to anyone here what I am doing and I have a captive audience. Nevertheless, yesterday it really struck me what I am dealing with. Two other students and I are working with this organization called TAMPEP - Transnational AIDS/STD Prevention Amount Migrant Prostitutes in Europe Project. Last night Pui Sai, Inken, and I went to the redlight district of a nearby city with a TAMPEP representative. First we did interviews with a public health nurse and then with a brothel owner. The brothel owner was a very friendly man. He had two daughters and got in the family business of renting rooms to prostitutes. He runs it like a business and avoids the mafia.
After the interviews we visited a prostitute in her room to educate her about safe sex. This girl spoke some German so the TAMPEP representative could communicate to her how to put on a condom, dental dam, etc. There are more details that I won’t mention here. I can send you the paper if you want more information. Anyway, as we were about to leave I found out that the girl was from Hungary. Eighty percent of the prostitutes are immigrants and the majority of the girls come from central Europe because of the expansion of the European Union. These girls are trafficked around europe and sometimes don't even know which country they are in. The fact that this girl spoke some German means that she probably worked in Germany before coming to Holland.
After the interview I lost it. It wasn’t crying with sobs or the hiccups. It was quiet and subdued. I am not Hungarian and I don’t speak Hungarian. In fact, all I could say to the girl was thank you, good night, and good bye. Nevertheless, I have been living there the last two and a half months and I feel some kind of connection with the culture. We couldn’t really talk to this girl because she needed to get “back to work” which is probably a sign that her pimp is keeping tabs on her. We didn't ask her how old she was but I think it was safe to say that she was probably around my age or younger.
So, this is my life these days. When I am not learning about prostitution I am speaking Spanish with my roommates. They are really nice girls. Two are from Spain and one is from Columbia. I also am eating a ton a vegetables. In fact, the last time my eyes watered was tears of joy after checking out the produce isle in a Dutch supermarket.

The following is my contact info until the 25th of November. I would imagine that it takes about the same time to get mail here as it does to Germany – about one week from the US.

Ms. Paige Beckley
Fideliolaan 34
1183 PM Amstelveen
Skype: paigecbeckley
Cell: 011 31 (06) 152 440 52

From the 26th of November until mid December I will be back in Hungary:

Farkas Lili
Pécs 7632
Kerényi Károly u. 2/b
Cell: 011 36 20 200 7837


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Page, I think you are one brave lady. Mary K Purdy

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are one brave lady. Mary K

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Katie said...

Hey Paige,

I don't know what I want to do with my life. How did things fall in place with DC and Europe? I would love to come over and be roomies with you for quite some time, but I think I would need to be in school to justify the stay... either that or working on a novel.

I have a few leads. I'm considering, ESL in Thailand or Japan, but I believe the paperwork takes a year to go through. I'm also looking at Peace Corp or some other organization, but I don't want to work for some smoozy government organization that is going to exploit the people it is suppose to be helping. Any suggenstions? The last option I have right now is doing some sailor work through NOAA, the organization that my uncle works with. This could make me a lot of money to start something else, but it could also be lonely, as I would probably be the only girl on the ship. I could have a job doing anything from deck work, to standing watch, to mapping out the ocean floor. I have to research a lot more. What do you think?

I just took an hour and read through all your blogs. I read the first couple, then I lost the address until I thought of it again tonight. Good times in Europe, bad times breaking up, interesting times learning new cultures and languages. I love your life. Hopefully I'll get out of this school business soon so I can start living something different. Anyways, this is a long blog comment. Take care and I hope to hear from you soon.

Katie Trembley (I'm finally Trembley again)

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't really know what to say. I am in awe and so proud of the things you are doing. I haven't seen you since High school Graduation but some how I know we are still connected. Maybe cause of school, Oregon or Spanish Immersion but keep up the good work. I just stumbled across your facebook which brought me to your blog and I'm so glad I did.

The things you are doing inspired me. I'm still here in Eugene, finished school last spring and am just working. Your stories inspired me. I can still remember little Paige dancing in the Fiesta Culturals and look at you know. You are doing great things Paige and look forward hear more about your trip. Take care and I will be thinking about you.

Elizabeth Clark

11:31 AM  

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