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.



Summer Reading

For those bookworms who’ve been dormant the past several months due to school work, you guys know that summer vacation is just the best time to wake from our long stuppor and READ again.  I’ve barely read anything this school year.  So little, in fact, that I pathetically added books we’ve read in class to my Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge List because I felt terrible not having read anything throughout the school year.

I’ve been hauled up in my bedroom reading since school let out on Friday.  So far, I managed to finally finish the popular A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (which I started in January), sped through Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me, am on my way to get through Isaac Morrion’s Warm Bodies, and have started Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.

Warm Bodies Isaac Morion

I have to say, A Game of Thrones got pretty boring at some point.  But for those struggling to make it through this 800-page tome, just stick with it.  It gets good again in the last 50 pages.  I’m definitely planning on starting to read the second in the series, A Clash of Kings, very soon.  For zombie lit lovers out there, I have to say that Warm Bodies is quite incredible.  I’ve got 30 pages left, but I’m pretty sure this is my new favourite book.  Author Isaac Morrion portrays zombies in a new light and vividly illustrates the Dead’s thoughts, making the reader do the unexpected:  sympathise with the zombies.  I haven’t watched the movie yet, but I will as soon as I finish the novel.

For those unsure where to start their summer reading lists, here’s a couple lists to get you started.  Whether you’re into reading a wide variety of modern and classic novels or just plain hipster ones, these flowcharts have got you covered.

I currently have a huge Goodreads list of about 180 books that needs to be tackled (I’d love to read 15 books this summer) and I cannot wait to see more books move from my “to-read” shelf into my “read” shelf.

Off to the reading cave!

Happy readings,