Blown Away in Washington DC

Week 10

Apologies for the late post this week, but after reading this I hope you will understand!!

The beginning of the week was completely work fuelled. However, on Monday evening I went to Denver International airport with some fellow AIESEC members to pick up an intern called Alvaro. When he came through arrivals I could completely sympathise with what he was going through; excitement, confusion and a complete lack of sleep.

On Tuesday, we had out first football game of the indoor season. What an epic game, which we eventually came out on top 5-4. The opposition were so annoyed and only 2 would shake hands. There is no need for that at all, especially as it’s only for fun!

After a serious 7 hour library session on Wednesday, I walked out to be greeted by snow!!!! Exciting times. However, my enthusiasm soon wore off as I had to cycle back through it. I may have well been a blind man cycling. The brakes were very temperamental to say the least but I eventually got back. It continued snowing throughout the rest of the evening, so we had about 4 inches of snow. Giulia then invited me to a mass snow ball fight at midnight near her halls. So much fun, but probably not the best preparation for a mid-term!

Thursday was a marathon day. In the morning I had a mid-term for my geography of development class. Straight after this I rushed back, quickly packed and set off to catch the bus to Denver airport. The snow had accumulated in the night but the Colorado sun was making light work of it. Bizarrely, Itaru was on the bus as well as he was going to Denver airport to pick up his girlfriend who was coming all the way from Japan to see him. That’s real dedication and great to see. As I was a bit paranoid about the impacts of the snow I reached the airport 3 hours before my flight, so I had plenty of time to start on my ‘take home’ section of my mid-term which I had 24 hours to complete. I joined 4 other fellow Model UN’s  on the flight but was largely anti social as I had to finish my exam. It was made even more frustrating by the guy next to me being extremely fond of his elbow space. Anyway, 3 hours and 50 minutes later (and 2 time zones) we landed at Washington DC national airport. We took the metro to George Washington where our hotel was located. It was a very strange atmosphere in this area as there was a mixture of late night revelers and an alarming number of homeless people roaming the streets. Unfortunately, by the time we checked in it was after midnight thus finding a place to eat was extremely challenging! Eventually, I got to bed at 2am.

I had to wake up at 7am to make sure I finished my exam and handed it in online. It was a definite inconvenience. For the rest of the morning I went and explored the sites, including of course to iconic white house.  For me, it’s hard to comprehend how many important, world-changing decisions have been made in just that single building. Very powerful. In the afternoon, we met up as a group to go to the state department for the opening ceremony for the Model UN conference. It was definitely an honour to be within such a prestigious building. The actual room where it was held is where the president addresses members of the state department about important policies and such. How I got to become in the bowels of the state department is beyond me. After this we moved into the hotel where the conference was being held and consequently joined up with the rest of the group. However, at 8pm, we moved into our first session of committee. With my partner Lorraine, I represented Romania in the General assembly committee. After much  discussion the topic that was chosen to debate was the ‘whether countries should have the inalienable right to develop nuclear technologies’. This session lasted until 11pm! I have to admit I was very overwhelmed by it all as I had no clue what was really going on and I felt like a fish out of water. After this exhausting day, we were feeling peckish so we ventured to Chinatown and stumbled upon a cheap little chinese place. By the time we did all this we didn’t get to bed until 2am.

Saturday made the previous two days look like childs play! Committee started at 9am and throughout the day we were in committee for a grueling 9 hours. However, I really enjoyed myself and got stuck in. We even managed to write a working paper with Spain, France and Uruguay, which I was very proud of. The majority of schools there have dedicated classes to Model UN so they were more adept, but I was proud how we learnt and took them on so vigorously. The case of France was a perfect example. They tried to bully us into incorporating ridiculous policies into our paper including giving French nuclear energy companies licence to basically rule the global nuclear energy market, and made out they were European agencies, but I bet they didn’t contend with a Brit’s limited knowledge of the French nuclear energy sounding them out. I also gave a speech which was both terrifying but very rewarding. Try saying the IAEA in a speech multiple times! At least my British accent won many people over to our way of thinking!! However, whilst all this was happening, the threat of hurricane sandy was building. Eventually it culminated in my flight back on Monday morning being cancelled. The majority of  our club were flying back on Sunday evening and they were alright, but in an effort to save a bit of money and see Washington DC I decided to stay until Monday. Unfortunately, some delegates felt like they had to get home so throughout the day the committee’s gradually got smaller. After committee eventually finished at 10pm, a group of us went for a late night walk around the national mall. What a great experience!! It was so peaceful, especially Lincoln memorial and the World War Two monument. Didn’t get to sleep until 3am!

Committee started again at 9am. I can tell you I was very thankful that there was a Starbucks located in the hotel.  The committee lasted another 5 hours today, but I am proud to report that our working paper was voted in as a resolution. Sadly, by the time voting happened only about half the original number of delegates were present. A bit of excitement was generated as there was a rumour that president Obama was going to give us a visit as he was in the same building as our hotel visiting FEMA, but nothing materialized. My original plan was to stay in a hostel, but a fellow club member offered me to stay with him at his Aunt and Uncles just outside of Washington. As we were getting provisions the atmosphere was very eery as it was so calm. We just got to the house in time before it started really raining. The house was in a lovely wooded suburb and the family was lovely. They even took me out to get some hot wings. I love America for this sort of unexpected hospitality. However, as nice as the place was , it’s location was a bit secluded so the next day, Ryan and myself decided to join up with another member who had a hotel near Dulles airport. What a crazy week!

To read more about the impacts of hurricane sandy read next weeks post!!

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