After traveling for what felt like 3 days, I am safe and sound and thoroughly enjoying Poznan. Even though the jet lag is in effect, and I am running mostly on caffeine and adreneline, the city and the conference are both amazing. Everything here is so cheap- for lunch I had delicious peirogies y serem (with cheese) and they were filled with ricotta and covered in sugar...and only cost $1.30 US. With our combined knowledge of maybe 20 Polish words and phrases, I think we have ordered vegetarian food for up to 10 people at just about every meal.
The opening to the conference was amazing; just being in the same room as all of these important UN figures- and later, the IPCC guy (you know, the Nobel Prize winner from India) smiled at me so that I could take his picture!!!
I just got done going to a side event about gender justice in climate change and it was great. The first part was a bit confusing, but the question portion was interesting. Some women from India were really passionate and it was nice to hear first-hand what they want to see in developing countries; there is so much diversity and some difference in opinion and different priorities but everyone is coming together so well. I have a huge bag of information already and my suitcase might go from 18 lbs to the 70 max. by the time I leave. One of the things I am bringing home is a kit to bring to Ithaca where people color their index finger green and write on their palm one thing they want to save from climate change- then you take a picture, and the organization is posting them all online and eventually making a banner of all 500,000 (assuming they reach that goal). We are going to have it set up at an IC Environmental Society table sometime after we get back.
We are going to the reception held by the Polish government at 8 (in a few minutes...) and probably falling asleep soon after. Quite honestly, I don't want to leave, and feel like since I'm already in Europe, I should just skip the rest of school and stay-- I REALLY WANT TO TRAVEL. And everyone who speaks Polish to me, I want to respond in French (/Spanish), which a bunch of us have felt.
Being thrown into a completely foreign setting has really made me realize 1- how quickly you can learn a few words you need to get by; 2- how little Americans actually know compared to international youth; 3- at the press conference with the US delegates, it really sounds like the world is hopeful now that Obama is coming in, but this delegate is standing in the way of getting anything necessary accomplished globally by 2015 or 2020. 4- my first encounter with someone Polish was at a gas station on the drive to Poznan and he asked if we thought that Sept. 11th was a US Government conspiracy, because he saw a video on YouTube.