Midnight Impulse

learning experiences and impulsive decisions


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I came back from my trip to St. Petersburg a couple of weeks ago.  My recap of the trip follows.

We stepped off the airplane into far warmer weather than we’d been told to anticipate.  A tour guide met us at the airport, bussing us through the dreary road to our hotel.  Once there, we checked in, dumped our luggage in the rooms, and went off exploring.

A day of walking followed by a day of intense touring gave way to the anxiously awaited MUN conferences.  We were ushered into the spirit of political debate with an opening ceremony held at the Tauride Palace, which, like most buildings in St. Petersburg, is a renovated and repurposed palace.  The Tauride held its first parliamentary session in 1906.

Little by little, the auditorium seats were filled with the students from all the participating schools.  Each represented country sent one of their delegates to the podium to make the country’s opening speech.  Afterward, we were taken to the hosting school, Gymnasium 157, to have lunch and begin lobbying.  Resolutions in hand, we sat down at each of our different committee rooms and began debating.

The second day of MUN was focused on committee sessions, where each of us went to our respective locations (one was placed in the International Business Center and others at Gymnasium 157 while I, being in the Environmental Committee, was sent to the Youth Environmental Center), whereupon we debated and amended points on the submitted resolutions from the previous day.  The final procedure of the day was to choose the most interesting of the passed resolutions to submit to the General Assembly (GA) session to be held the next day.  By a house vote, the resolution on the question of the integration of migrant children won out.

On the third and final day, all participating delegates once again met in a large auditorium, this time at the International Business Center.  After a long day of intense debating, the Environmental Committee’s resolution was passed by majority vote.  Exhausted of the intensive three-day MUN curriculum, we were finally free to go back to discovering the city and enjoying our free time.

The next two days, Thursday and Friday, were filled with more group tours.  Over these two days, we began to notice that the hotel lobby was no longer filled with the bustling of students and their chaperones as the participating schools dwindled down every day, returning home or going to tour Moscow.

Our last two days in the city were spent sight-seeing.  We visited the brightly and intricately decorated Spilled Blood Church; had an educational walk-through of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s apartment, led by the most enthusiastic—and surely the author’s biggest fan—tour guide; took a detour with my friend Skillet and lady chaperone to a self-guided tour of Vladimir Nabokov’s home; explored the Hermitage Museum; and took a trip to Catherine’s Palace situated in the outskirts of the city.

Highlights of the trip included our intimate dinners at the hotel after each busy day followed by a movie held at the girls’ room (a suite for three); getting abandoned by the tour bus at the St. Isaac’s Cathedral; sprinting through the impressionism gallery of the Hermitage; Our male chaperone’s group photos, group selfies, and jumping pictures; and lastly, finding Soviet propaganda-inspired postcards at the airport.

The close-knit atmosphere amongst my fellow MUNers and myself guided by our fantastic and experienced chaperones led to the best school trip yet.


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Almost All Packed Up

I’m off to St Petersburg for my MUN trip tomorrow morning.  I’ve been up in my room packing for an hour and a half, and so far all I’ve got left is the last-minute packing like toothbrush and computer.  I’m excited for the trip part but sort of nervous about the MUN meetings themselves.  I don’t feel as well prepared as I was last year, nor as knowledgable.  My resolutions aren’t that fantastic and I’ve already set my mind on not trying to get them passed but rather spend my time debating points and making speeches in favour of or against amendments and resolutions.  I didn’t speak much last year so I figure I should this time.

We have a really busy trip chock-full of sightseeing and dinners, plus the three days of the actual MUN meetings.  I had all my outfits planned out and written down, so packing this time was a breeze.  The only tricky part was the fact that we’re not sure what the weather is like.  The forecast says it’s fine weather (from -2C to 10C) but then there’s pictures of very light snow.  We’ve been told to dress warm and bring our winter gear.  I hate winter trips.  They’re always heavy and bulky and seem excessive.

Anyway, I’m going to be in Russia from Saturday to Saturday, so I’m staying there a week.  I will be sharing a room with my friend Skillet and another girl, Pasta.  There’s four boys coming with us and our two teacher chaperones.

I should be off to sleep, I have to get up at 4, be at the airport at 6, and fly at 8AM.

Goodnight everyone and see you sometime,

Adelaide


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MUN Trip

I’m finally back from my trip to Amsterdam!  

For the past week I’ve been out on a trip with my Model United Nations (MUN) club to The Netherlands.  We stayed in Amsterdam a couple of nights and attended our MUN conferences in The Hague.  The whole thing was incredible and wholly exciting and full of new experiences: I got to visit a new country, two new cities, the Anne Frank House, and see 5 Dutch mills preserved from the 17th century.  

This was my very first year doing MUN and the conference in The Hague was my first ever.  The event was a bit of a mess, to be honest, since the coordinators of the event sent out the most important preparatory information only about 3 weeks before the conference itself, which left us all rushing to research for and put together some worthwhile resolutions.  Each member of the MUN club had to write 3 resolutions to different issues relating to the councils they were in.  Resolutions are about a page or two long and are written in a special grammatical manner.  They list solutions to a world issue, say, the disproportionate impact of poverty on women.  So you have to take this topic, do your background research, and then list your solutions to this issue.

After all my and my fellow club members’ hard work, we attended our meetings only to find out we were the hardest workers there.  Nobody else from any other school in the MUN conference had a finished resolution, let alone 3.  On top of that, everybody there seemed to be breaking the strict, business dress code by wearing the shortest skirts and highest heels available.  

OTHER than that, I managed to meet 3 (yay) new people whom I’ve already added on Facebook.  Coming from an itty-bitty high school, I like to consider this a real achievement.  On the first day of the conference, before my group separated to attend our respective meeting rooms, a friend of mine and I started joking about how we have to go out and make friends *gasp* and how our school hasn’t prepared us for anything like that.  

Once I finally got a grasp of what was going on I decided to enter two of the resolutions I’d written.  I was advised to submit only 1, as it is much easier and far more interesting during debate time.  I handed over my less favourite resolution to a girl I’d met there and worked on the other one myself.  I spent the first half of the second day of conferences running all around the school in The Hague, going from the upstairs meeting rooms to the computers downstairs to the advisory board and back again.  When I’d eventually passed the final stage of submission, I headed back to the meeting room and later had my resolution discussed and debated over.  However, it was apparent that the resolution wasn’t as comprehensive as it should’ve been.  The final vote on mine was 8 for and 13 against.  Honestly, I wasn’t too bummed out about it.  I now know what needs to be included in a resolution in order for it to pass, I know I need to make friends who will help me advertise it, and I know how much work needs to be done in order for it to be discussed.  

I’m happy to say I’ll definitely be joining the MUN club again next year and will surely make a better and more comprehensive resolution and will try just as hard to get it passed.  

I hope everyone’s been doing well the past week!  

Love,

Adelaide