This is a continuation of Locomotive Nights.
Day 3 – Friday, 2nd March 2018
The big day finally arrived. We had to wake up at the early hour of 4 am, and leave the hotel at 5 am. Wearing fancy suits, fancy formal accessories, and empty stomachs (the buffet opens at 6 am), we sat in the school bus, stomachs fluttering like a butterfly searching for meaning within an expanse of darkness, only to find none and become nothing more than a turn of phrase to indicate nervousness. We were the first to arrive once more, and we had a packaged breakfast on the floor. The university had a resident stray cat, and Roberto, the kind soul, gave it chicken on a spoon, to which the cat responded with a suspicious sniff, and enthusiastic guzzling. While Roberto tried to get the cat off his tail, my delegation set up our laptop and helped the delegation of USA set up theirs. I practiced my GSL (general speakers’ list) speech while we waited for the others to come. We soon met our liaisons, and we were directed (whisked away) from our teachers and brought to the conference room, “Veritas Hall”. We couldn’t use our phones inside the conference room, only our laptops. Algeria was first in line, with Australia behind us. We ended up making conversation with the genial, intelligent delegates. We discussed our hopes and fears, and became friends (take note of my foreshadow-y italics). One of the delegates was named Bill. Innocently, we told him that when we walked out of that conference room at the end of the day, we hoped to pass two bills. He was understandably silent after that joke.
My delegation soon entered the conference room as Algeria was called. Jay, Stephen and I took our seats in front of the chair, where a microphone and a placard sat on the table. Slowly, all the other delegations filed in and took their seats. We all had to stand as the chair-persons entered the hall. The room was silent and tense. We set up our GSL speech as the president of the chair introduced the UN conference, then announced that it had begun. From there, we were thrust into the game, a game of allies and enemies, a game where your luck could go either way in the blink of an eye. Each time we wanted to make a motion, we had to raise our placards to alert the chair. The chair was very selective, and you didn’t always get called to suggest a motion. There were 25 other delegations. In order to pass a motion, you needed at least 13 votes. We could motion for a moderated caucus (taking turns to make short speeches) on a topic, an unmoderated caucus (having free discussions with other delegations), or suspension of the meeting. As the motions started to pour in, my fellow delegates and I were forced to put together speeches in short amounts of time to share our thoughts.
Despite (or perhaps due to) the somewhat competitive atmosphere, participating in moderated caucuses was exciting. We offered ideas, congratulations, criticisms. However, the first session was utterly exhausting. The lunch break that eventually came couldn’t have been more welcome. I had a lunch of beef stew and rice, and I chatted with my fellow students and other delegates as well. I ended up making friends with more people than I expected during that lunch break. After an hour, we returned to our seats, and began working on creating a draft resolution. My delegation collaborated with France to produce a draft resolution (a “bill”) to counteract food insecurity. Our draft resolution ended up getting rejected (due to insufficient votes), but it was certainly a gripping experience to finish one before the submission time. We got to discuss the merits and disadvantages of different draft resolutions during an unmoderated caucus, which was certainly stimulating on my part. India’s draft resolution ended up being accepted (with 17 votes).
Our MUN conference was finally adjourned at around 4.30 pm. It had been an exhausting day, but we definitely felt accomplished. We ended up chilling in Starbucks, awaiting Social Night, a social event which was at 7 pm. This was where something most unexpected happened. My fellow delegates and I were sitting in our chairs minding our own business. I had just made a joke about roasted coffee and a certain someone’s love life, when I was forced to eat my words. A female delegate from another school came up to us and asked my friend Jay if he wanted to play Mobile Legends with her. They ended up playing together as my friends and I shouted helpful things like “Teach us, Sensei” and coughing loudly.
At 7.30 pm, we left for the social night venue. It was a cozy ballroom in a hotel near Starbucks. After a long dinner where we learned about table manners, the awards for best delegate and best delegation were announced. The delegate of Mexico won best delegate, and the delegation of France won best delegtion. This was when a sudden bomb was dropped on the room. It was the “slow dance” part of the evening. My friend Jay, naturally, needn’t have worried. He danced with the delegate of Australia. A beautiful scene, one he will never forget because I will never let him.
We left for Jakarta at 10 pm. The night was still dizzy, drowning in a thick haze of treacly teenage emotions. As I fell asleep on the bus ride home, I could feel the night fainting into oblivion, blurring into a mass of sighs and heartache, to the sound of Elvis slowly crooning: “Wise men say, only fools rush in…” But I can’t help falling in love with you.
Epilogue – Saturday, 3rd March 2018
We arrived in Jakarta in the early morning. All was quiet. We said our goodbyes, and the twelve of us slowly dwindled in number as we each went home, like rainclouds slowly drying up. We fell asleep before our heads hit our pillows.
Nothing happened that Saturday. Nothing was felt. Only discombobulated mornings, and vague recollections of a glorious night.
*I know this is an incredibly long post, and so I thank you, dear reader, for sticking through to this final word. As you may have noticed, this experience was a very meaningful and memorable one for me. And so, to all the people I have met, and to all the people I have found; thank you. This is your resident space face Fred Zebra, signing out.