Spring Break: Part II

–by Hamza

Read Part I here

After a long and nice day in Lithuania, the next day, early in the morning, we went to the airport to catch a flight to our next destination, which was

  • Moscow, Russia:

As you may know from a previous blog post “My Favorite Cities,” Moscow was one on my top list of future cities I’d like to visit. We arrived at approximately 1 pm and it took a while to get through customs. Our first impression of Russia was that the people are definitely not welcoming people (Sorry Tamara lol). So there are lines for Russian citizens and citizens of other countries, and we obviously lined up at the foreign citizens line; even if the Russian citizens lines were vacant. Then this Russian customs lady started screaming at us in Russian to move to the Russian citizens lines. How were we supposed to know or understand what she wanted us to do? Anyway, despite that, we were still excited to be in Russia! Again, Russia was completely different from anywhere I’ve been. We went to exchange some money to the Russian Ruble when we arrived in the city center, and it was extremely hard to know the actual value of things as 60 rubles=1 Euro (We always had to have our phone calculators out). It was a pretty interesting experience dealing with that kind of money. We only had a few hours in Moscow so really we only had time to go to the Kremlin and walk around a little bit, and also visit this humongous mall right next to the big Red Square. It was extremely cold, I don’t think I ever wore so many layers and still felt cold. I wanted to take so many pictures but I just gave up at a certain point because I had to keep taking off my glove to touch my phone screen. I was glad we got to see Moscow and we weren’t sad to be leaving the capital because after Saint Petersburg, we were coming back to Moscow for another couple of hours.

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  • Saint Petersburg, Russia:

You may be wondering why we went on this school trip, well it’s because we went for a Model UN conference held in Saint Petersburg. We arrived at around 10:30PM and we were escorted by our travel guide, Olga. She spoke a variety of languages and her English was superb compared to most Russians who refuse to even attempt to speak another language. She taught us all about Saint Petersburg’s history in our 50-minute bus ride to our beautiful hotel, the Radisson. We had a nice little buffet that was ready just for us at 1 am, which we all really enjoyed. The next day was a site-seeing and excursions kind of day that was organized by the conference for all the international delegates. We shared a bus with two schools from Turkey, and Olga shared with us some more of her knowledge about the city. We saw the Hermitage, a big church, and a ballet show. We also got to see the frozen river that was starting to melt during the equinox. That day was a beautiful and sunny day and was totally the opposite of what we had expected the weather would be. The next day was extremely cold and it was snowing. Our bus picked us up from the hotel to the the opening ceremony where all the ambassadors of each delegation delivered a brief speech, and I was honored to be the ambassador of Chad. This took place in the very fancy Mariinsky Palace where many formal assemblies take place. We had to walk a small distance from the bus to the building entrance, and we were definitely not wearing the right shoes. We witnessed all the Russians who were accustomed to the bizzare weather come in boots and then change into heels and proper shoes for the conference while we stood there freezing to death; that’s one way to distinguish the locals from the visitors.

There were schools from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Singapore, Italy, Russia, Qatar, and obviously Morocco. Surprisingly, most of them are not originally from those countries, but the schools are international, so not really THAT surprising. We then went to the school where each individual delegate went to their own committee/council for lobbying. Lobbying is basically a way for you to chat with other delegates and share ideas about the topics and resolutions. I was in the Disarmament committee and by the end of the day, we drafted 2 resolutions per topic (we had 2 topics), and we were ready to discuss them for tomorrow. I was happy by the end of the next day because we had some really good and effectual debates with each other, and it was very interesting to see how all the different delegates defended their positions. The next day was the General Assembly (GA); not all delegates were present as other councils/committees are not part of the GA. We got to debate more about a resolution from my committee that I did not really agree with, and I got to make some changes to it. The closing ceremony was on that same day and I was really proud of myself when I was called the Best Delegate of the Disarmament Committee along with my friend and classmate Marouane who was the delegate of Egypt, and another guy from Singapore who was the delegate of Cuba. There was then a social/party in the evening which was during our last night in Saint Petersburg. We got up the next morning at 3AM to go to the airport to catch our flight back to Moscow. We then got free time after putting our luggage in lockers near a train station, and we got to roam around and do some last minute shopping before catching out next flight to Prague that night. ^_^

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