The warm temperature that welcome us at Charleroi airport in southern Brussels immediately indicated that I was outside Scandinavia and but the magnificent buildings reminded me I was still in Europe just in the warm part of Europe. Having been in Norway for over 2 months now, I have become very Norwegian as you can tell from my winter jackets, scarf and lots of wool on my body!!
The first night in Brussels Kine and I couchsurfed in different places and the next day we had to meet up somewhere and that was Midi central station right in the centre of Brussels the European capital! Kine called me and asked me if I was ok with finding my way there alone…and I quickly said yes because after over two months of Oslo city l`m so certain I can find my way in any big city in the world!!!
First experience on the bus was weird I walked to the driver and he was just mute… weird I thought because back in Oslo I always get help from the bus drivers. I walked to the nearest passenger and just forgot I was in a French country and asked her in English!! She just nodded, so I quickly murmured a sentence and she got it that I was asking for the way. Wow i got someone to help me find the way!!I sat near her and kept my eyes on her when she got off, I too went off and pretty much just followed her because she didn’t really talk much. When we got to the station she signalled to me and now I was just supposed to find Kine!! Was so glad when we linked up and we then started our small tour of Brussels just before the opening of the COP18 Preparation meeting at 4pm. It was a very amusing tour and now it was almost time for the meeting lol big cities are just big cities one can never really get used to them! We had no map and as the common saying ladies are bad navigators and cannot really read maps…ha-ha.. well what we went through to find the European Foyer just proved the fact but the most important thing is we still found our way and in very good time so our losing the way was covered by the fact that we had enough time to unintentionally tour Brussels and since land is not steep it was all good to keep walking!!
The meeting started on a very good note with some experts making introductions to what COP really is and giving updates from the last one held in Durban. So the overview was given on Day 1 and that pretty much it!! Day 2 started at about 7hrs with breakfast and immediately afterwards we had the big meeting another recap of climate change issues and then the real things started!!! As a youth in YOUNGO I was tasked to find and interview the EU and unfortunately the secretary told me that was not possible as the negotiators were in a very tight meeting …what?? and I was told plan B would be to see the chairperson which I need and after convincing her she agreed to give YOUNG 2 minutes intervention period!! But of course typical of our leaders they managed to shorten it to 1 minute!! Anyways as YOUNGO we were happy as we could have gotten a rude zero minute intervention!!!
The negotiations were really tough and finally they all made their points and so after all is said and done we as YOUNGO got together and divided ourselves into 3 working groups with the sole objective of lobbying, scrutinizing and ensuring that the future, our future as young people is not tempered with and we challenged them to UNBLOCK OUR FUTURE!!
Day 3 marked the end of our COP18 Preparation meeting and the beginning of our final tour of the European capital which ended after 10pm. Next day was our trip back to Oslo!! We woke up a bit late and only had 10 minutes in which to prepare!!! But since we had already managed to lose our way several times, the navigation was just at the finger tips!!! We kissed the warm weather goodbye at about 11:45hrs local time and said hello to the cold Norwegian weather and that was how I had a glimpse of my Zambian weather!!!
– Lizzie (utvekslingsdeltaker)