The conference lasted for three days plus a fourth day which was considered “funMUN”. My committee was WCW (World Conference on Women) and our topic area was Sexual Violence During Warfare. Because the discussions we were to have could have possibly been triggering, our chair decided to censure us. Yes, it was a very sensible decision but nonetheless it still significantly limited our debate. On the third day we voted for resolutions and the resolution I was a signatory of won. That was a real relief but it also meant that this wonderful experience was soon to be over and I’m quite sure none of us were ready for that.
The alarm rang at 5 o’clock in the morning, I looked around and found my suitcase and bag in front of me, together with my clothes for the day ahead. I ran down the stairs preparing the last things as quickly as I could while breakfast went down my throat, my family and I were in the car shortly after that. Finally, the moment I’d spent years waiting for had come. Was I actually ready though?
The ride to Fiumicino airport wasn’t long. The atmosphere started getting less nervous as more and more people made it to the meeting point. Our parents started chatting as they usually do and we did the same, talking frantically about our plans for the week ahead and how we felt about it. I’m not going to write about all the procedures we went through for boarding because that would be extremely lengthy, unnecessary and boring as you all know how it’s done, right? Anyway, we had just entered our Rome-Munich flight when I found out that my friends and I had all been separated. I know, that was a bummer, but fear not as that didn’t stop us from communicating. One of the girls had this fantastic idea that involved one of the phones being used as a messenger while it was passed down from one seat to another (without disturbing our fellow passengers of course). That, ladies and gentlemen, was how we managed to spend our two hours flight without dying of boredom!
After waiting for a while, in Munich, we found ourselves being herded like sheep onto our next flight to good old New York, our final destination. I’d like to give a special thanks to Ms. Natasha and Ms. Joanna without whom, I guess, most of us would still be running around in Munich looking for the right terminal. This was the best flight I’ve ever had. I was lucky this time and my seat was right next to Viola so I had lots of fun with her and the others. We chatted, saw films, ate, took photos and polaroids, joked around, spent time with other classmates and read through our notes. Obviously, we even took a good nap and I was grateful I did as I thought, otherwise, I would not have been able to get through the rest of the day as we got to know NYC… and I can guarantee it was one of the best encounters ever.
I got into the hotel, had a quick wash-up and rest and then I was out again but this time it wasn’t Rome or Munich, it was NYC! My buddy and I started walking down the streets and I was even more excited than before. Although I had already seen New York, seeing it again was just like the first time. The yellow taxis buzzing around, the buildings scraping the sky, the people heading in all directions, the lights sparkling around me… it was a concrete jungle and a breathtaking one. In the following days, the class visited some of the city’s most famous buildings. We went all the way up to the top of the Empire State Building on our first day. I could see the whole city from above, all the lights twinkling in the distance, the airplanes swooshing above us, the cars that were no more than a sequence of red lights zig-zagging between the skyscrapers… It was unique, a once-in-a-lifetime show that I still can’t get over. We also visited the MoMA (Museum of Modern Arts), NYC’s Library, the Museum of Natural History but the most significant visit, in my opinion, was the Ground Zero Memorial and the 9/11 museum. Seeing the monuments that are now in the twin towers’ place was one of the most overwhelming experiences I’ve ever had. As I got closer, I suddenly became more and more aware of the unspeakable quantity of names present on the borders, of how the water flowed from them and fell down into darkness. The impact it had on me was almost too much to bear and my sadness, anger and disgust only grew deeper once I entered the 9/11 Memorial.
"The yellow taxis buzzing around, the buildings scraping the sky, the people heading in all directions, the lights sparkling around me… it was a concrete jungle and a breathtaking one".
Our days in NYC came to an end and that became obvious to me as I entered the train that was to take us to Boston. The train ride was long and as you may have guessed we didn’t spend that much time looking out of our windows or reading. All I can say without accidentally incriminating myself or others was that we had fun, lots of fun… By the time I set foot in Boston I was more than exhausted. We all had a good rest (even though Fillippo’s extremely smelly feet stopped some of us from that) and then the class was introduced to the various rules and then, finally, the HMUN. We were all quite anxious after that. On Friday morning my class and I visited the University of Harvard. Now you finally know how we all got our very much loved Harvard hoodies!
Many things happened during that last day and before we even realized we were off, exhausted, on another airplane and then back to Rome. Being finally able to eat some proper food was good though…