This morning the sun is shining. From my window I look across the back of the building to the blue sky. Looks like a nice day. I google ‘new york city weather’ just to be sure. 65 high 45 low. That’s sounds pretty good I think. Then I step outside. It’s only October and I can already feel the bite in the air. I don’t realise that 65 is about 18 degrees.

I haven’t been at work long when my office phone rings. It never rings. I answer with a cheery ‘Alliance of Civilizations, Nina speaking’. It sounds so weird to be so ‘up’ with such a weighty title. The other person doesn’t answer and I wonder if they are also thinking how strange that sounded. Then I hear Paul’s voice. Oh thank god! I sent him an email yesterday complaining about having a bad day, feeling like a failure, and generally beating up on myself…. mostly exacerbated by not being able to pick up the phone in that moment and speak to a friend who has known me for more than 5 minutes. We talk for about 30 minutes.

When he asks me what is new I tell him all the bad stuff- housemate horrors, work disappointments etc etc. Then as the conversation is winding down I go, but I think I’m going to Serbia. ‘Oh nothing big’ he mocks me. ‘Just going to Serbia’. There is a meeting that has been organised and there is a high possibility of me going. Guess I’m pretty hard to please sometimes.

While I am on the phone I receive an email with photos of me and the CEO. The head shots have been taken to attach to the piece I wrote for a coffee table book for the Queen of Oman. They are literally life size, and as I see every pore , wrinkle and grey hair looking back at me, I need to coach myself to remember that nobody else will be looking at the photo that closely and the photo will be shrunk down to size anyway. Thank god, cause I can still see the pasta sauce in the corner of my mouth and something caught in my teeth. Real classy!

Tonight I go with Beth and our Office Manager to see Budrus. It’s the story of a Palestinian town that fights against the building of the wall through the town. An inspiring story of courage and the complex Israeli-Palestinian relationship. I decide I have to know more about the history of this conflict. Beth suggests we buy one of our colleagues lunch.

I have so many moments like this. Every day I marvel at how little I know about the world. Today I printed out some world maps to try and memorize geography. It’s not easy I tell you.

Every day I’m fascinated, overwhelmed but so motivated. I may not be doing the most exciting work, but the environment and the potential of the people and the organisation is so inspiring, my resilience is magnified tenfold. New York is tough, the UN tougher, and I still wouldn’t be anywhere else right now even if you paid me.

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