Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Delegate from the U.S.

The delegate from the US
Our excellent adventure in New York was last week. It's hard to believe, but I really think that Mathboy had an even better experience this year at the Montessori Model United Nations than he did last year. We stayed with my friend Elyse and her family, and were very grateful for the chance to stay with them.

We actually went up to NY a day or so early, and were glad that we did because we beat the 8-12 inches of snow! On Sunday, we met Elyse and her family at the New Victory Theater in NY and saw an amazing production of Henry V. The kids seemed to understand enough of it that they claimed to enjoy it as much as we did. Mathboy saw Times Square for the first time, and was pretty impressed ("such enormous TV screens!").

On Monday, when our schools were closed and everyone was scrambling to figure out how to get to NY, we were already there! Mathboy got to play in the snow with Elyse's son, who also had a snow day, and then we took the train in and spent several hours at the Museum of Natural History.
Primate family Tree!
He finally got to see the Primate family tree that we had told him about last year. His favorite thing was the cladogram and the dinosaurs and mammal evolutionary display on the 4th floor. We were there for hours. Then we had to buy ourselves a transit map so that Mathboy could plan our way home to Elyse's house, as well as our travel for the rest of our visit.

On Tuesday, we went to the hotel in Brooklyn and met up with the group from school. A couple of the kids could not make it at the last minute, one being Mathboy's best friend at school and the other being his partner on the Security Council. Without a partner, Mathboy ended up being the sole delegate from the U.S. on that committee. That also meant that he would have to "wing it" on the topic for which his partner had been responsible: the situation in Sudan. Mathboy's first motion, once the committee really got started, was that they do the topic of Nuclear Weapons (his topic) first. His motion passed, and they spent the entire first day debating his topic. This was a great start for him, and he ended up being closely involved in the debate all day.

He wrote much of one draft resolution, and got to read it to the committee a couple of times. He had to field questions from the committee. He also had to deal with the fact that, personally, he was not entirely in agreement with the position of the country he was representing. This is good experience. Interestingly, the model seemed to imitate life, in that this delegate from the U.S. never seemed to get along with the delegates from France.

On the last night, after a full day of caucusing, the kids got to vote on their draft resolutions in an actual meeting room in the United Nations building. We were told that there were over 600 students and more than 300 parents and teachers in attendance--and I can believe it, judging by how long it took to find everyone a seat. Here is how it looked from the heights of the gallery, where the parents were:
You can't see the delegation from the United States among the throng; they scrounged up some seats at the back of the room.

During the voting, the president of Mathboy's committee asked if anyone would like to say a few words about their draft resolution--yes, would anyone like to stand up, without any notes or preparation, find a working microphone and explain in a few words to this group of 900+ people what the resolution was about?

So ... can anyone guess whose hand shot up? The Delegate from the United States, of course. The delegate who did not care that his mother was having a heart attack up in the gallery. He ended up doing a fine job. In fact, he did very well throughout the entire MMUN. The president of his committee praised him to the group at large as "an articulate young man," which was very nice to hear. He also took Mathboy aside at the end of the day on Tuesday and complimented him for his hard work and for doing such a good job handling the tough questions from the committee.

All in all, Mathboy had a wonderful time. He did not mind that he was not staying in the hotel with the group--it may have helped that his good friend at school wasn't there, so he did not have anyone at the hotel that he truly missed being with. We had the group eating lunch together both days, so he got to see them at that time, and they went to the United Nations together on the last day. He also enjoyed playing with Elyse's son and he liked riding the train and the subway.

As for knitting, I actually did not get that much done. I had been working on a pair of Garter Stitch mitts that I had planned to give as a thank you to Elyse, but since my grafting looks like garbage, I put them aside and instead gave her the lovely Lace Ribbon Scarf that I finished after Christmas. I did finish the Garter Stitch Mitts when I got home, but with such lousy finishing I am keeping them for myself.
Not my best work. In addition to the crummy grafting, they are a little loose because I made the larger size. If I were to do this pattern again, I would use a bulkier, smoother yarn--both to give them a bit more heft and spring, and to make the grafting easier! I also would adapt the pattern somewhat to come up with a medium size to fit my hands, I'd have to adapt it with the bigger yarn, anyway, so what the heck.

My knitting time in NY was limited because I spent a lot of the time walking around between the various meeting rooms in which our school's kids were caucusing. I got to see a couple kids give their speeches. One boy spent a lot of time with his head down, apparently sleeping! Adorable as it was, we were a little worried about him, and there usually was at least one parent in his room trying to keep an eye on him. So I turned the heel on a sock, but that's about it.

Since our return, however, I did get started on the "Dr. G Memory Vest," which I am making for Mathboy:
The yarn is actually a lot grayer than it is in this picture. It is a really cool steel blue color of Cascade 220 Heather, and it is showing the cable pattern very nicely. I had to start this project. I was having cable and twisted stitch withdrawal after finishing Inishmore. So far, this pattern is really pleasant to knit: the stitch patterns were ridiculously easy to memorize, and the yarn is very nice to work with. It's a vest, too, and in size XS, so it should be a relatively quick-knit.

In other news, Rich and Catgirl did fine while Mathboy and I were away. Rich took her to the Big Hill to sled on the snow day, because he is so much more fun than Mommy. (This is the truth. Mommy would have persuaded her that she would have as much fun making snowmen with the neighbors, because Mommy does not really like going to the Big Hill.)

No comments: