post-Model ASEM, post mortem

Model ASEM 2009 Le Havre ended on sunday, 9.30am, when the last of our worries finally bought his flight ticket back to indonesia at CDG. after our last roll-call on the bus in front of the youth hostel, a small group of us waved almost everyone (54 of them!) goodbye as they departed for paris. judging by the amount of activity on facebook, it would seem that most of our participants are now home and safe. little model ASEM shoutouts to each other are appearing on my newsfeed every 10 minutes. everybody seems extremely happy to have been a part of the event and even appears sad that is now truly over. last i saw on facebook, even our little indonesian friend is happy now, waiting at abu dhabi on a long transit but relieved to be on the way home.

i am proud. it is extremely rewarding to see such happy faces and to read the feedback forms, nearly all of them overwhelmingly positive. i think we were incredibly lucky to have had such lovely participants. they were lively, open-minded, fun and intelligent – a group of the nicest young people i have ever seen. some participants did not manage to fit in with the group en gros but it was clearly not because the kids played the game of high school politics. there was no air of rebellion or social tension, no suggestion of popular clique-forming and exclusion. i was particularly glad to see that even after forcibly creating groups of mixed nationalities for the Model ASEM Trivia, everyone got along wonderfully and really did profit from the diversity. over the course of 5 days, they came to the fore to defend their ideals, to present their cultures, teach the Austrian waltz, dance the Swedish pole dance, play booming party music in the bus to create a mini party… they even created their own little trivia about themselves to share with the chairs and organisers. “who painted him/herself completely in gold when he/she was seven years old?”

i slept from 10am to 6pm on sunday, completely wiped out from prolonged sleep deprivation and nonstop running around. i’m usually a late sleeper, but between saturday and sunday, i only managed to get 1.5 hours of sleep, which made me feel quite ill when i woke up at 5 in the morning to make my round of wake-up calls. i’m feeling better rested now, but am a little lost and restless from the lingering Model ASEM inertia. not being responsible for anybody but myself has never felt more awkward. i learnt a lot about what it means to take care of people, both older and younger than myself. i saw role models around myself whom i want to emulate in terms of patience, professionalism and sociability.

clearly, i haven’t been blogging at all lately due to Model ASEM. but besides the 1 week long marathon of work, i’ve also been living in a sort of emotional vacuum. i was relatively tired and depressed over the last couple of weeks and am still not completely fine. twice i began to cry involuntarily in front of other people after talking about the 3 main things which have been troubling me substantially. the only time i felt that golden “life is good” feeling wash over me in the last month was when zu, abhijit and aseem came over to my place with our champagne rosé to celebrate abhijit’s birthday on friday night. we talked and laughed till 3 in the morning, when we ran out of champagne and wine. i had to get up at 8am slightly hungover after that for Model  ASEM, but it was so enjoyable that it was worth it. i need more times like that.

barring such emotional hiccups, almost everything else in my life is running perfectly. unless i do really badly for this saturday’s galops, i currently have the best grade in history. my application for a dérogation was successful and i have a phone interview scheduled with someone from the centre amérique about a few US universities tomorrow. the BDA’s presence and reputation has improved twofold since when i first joined it. i said to people that i was determined to travel a lot this year by attending conferences, and by the end of the semester i will have been to paris, london, geneva, bern, lausanne, zurich, barcelona and madrid.

let’s hope things keep on a roll.

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