Monday 4th March 2013
(Or: how I'm sick of static electricity)I should probably explain myself. I'm not sure why, or what it is about me, but literally everything I touch in New York gives me a static shock. It was funny for about the first 2 hours, but I've now been in New York over a week and have found myself doing some really weird things (like rubbing my feet on the carpet, and doing everything as fast as I can) before opening doors/ climbing into bed/ switching on a light... I'm starting to think I'm going insane, and anyone watching me will definitely be considering calling the men in white coats.
Anyway, apart from my slightly bizarre behaviour, today has been an incredible mixture of completely amazing and completely overwhelming.
My day started early, as a few of us headed out to collect our CSW handbooks. In an attempt to convince myself it wasn't time to get up, I just put on my jeans and a hoody over my pj's. Note to self - when going out anywhere near the UN, this is NOT a good idea. You will feel like a complete idiot when you're standing in a lift with delegates and people you should be lobbying, trying to fix the mop of hair you haven't brushed for 3 days (I *really* should find my hairbrush). After all that, our mission failed anyway - despite it only being 8.15am, the handbooks had already disappeared.
|Finally here and feeling like a delegate!|
I made it into the viewing balcony of the General Assembly with seconds to go before the speeches started. The session was opened by the Chairwoman, and we heard from the Deputy Secretary General, Michelle Bachelet (she's still wearing our wristband!) and the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. Member states and regional blocks (groups of countries who had formed alliances) were then invited to give their statements and to outline their positions on gender based violence.
|Proof that I really was there!|
I spent three hours sitting in the General Assembly, too scared to leave incase I missed something important, and too engrossed in the discussions to realise I was desperate for the toilet (sorry, more toilet chat!). When I got back to my room, fortunately right next to the HQ, I found myself sitting on the bathroom floor, sobbing into my knees. This was partly caused by the electric shock(s) I got from my laptop. But mostly, I think, it was the result of being so tired and completely overwhelmed.
I don't want you to think that I spent my whole week in New York a miserable wreck. It was quite the opposite infact. I just want you to know that this trip was NOT a holiday. It is impossible to describe the intense mixture of emotions we were all feeling during this week. Even though it was only day 4, we had already put so much effort into getting to this moment, that finally reaching it was like a huge weight had lifted from our shoulders.
|A WAGGGS delegate has already been here!|
At the end of the event, I ran back to the hotel to get ready for the Young Women's Caucus (I did a lot of running today!)
The YW Caucus is jointly organised by WAGGGS and the World YWCA, and is a group of young women who meet to focus on policy discussion, advocacy action and networking with decision makers at CSW. Any young women attending CSW are invited to come along, and at this first session there were about 30 of us! Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for very long as I had to go to another event, but I believe the first meeting was a success.
|Sir Mark Lyall Grant at the UK NGO Reception|
By the time I arrived back at the hotel, I was exhausted, but very excited to catch up with the rest of the team and find out if their day had been as intense as mine. (They had!)