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Five stories about being wife of the diplomat
307

03.01.2019

Five stories about being wife of the diplomat

Maria Teresa Davino

Wife of the Ambassador of Italy, hometown — Rome

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My main goal as the spouse of the Ambassador — participation in the diplomatic activity of the husband. This means to create the house life that the Italian Ambassador needs.

As the wife of Ambassador, I'm trying to explore every new place where we come it is interesting, but at the same time necessary. Important to meet different people: local authorities, international communities, Italians living in the country, guests coming from Italy — politicians, businessmen, representatives of culture. The ambassador's spouses devote sufficient time to non-diplomatic activities. But I think our presence makes a great contribution. Events help to maintain warm relations between diplomats and the country they work in at the moment. For example, at the beginning of December held the Christmas fair organised by the Ambassador's spouses community.

Every time we come to a new country, where we know nothing and nobody. Ambassadors conversely work in the offices of embassies, where they are interacting with the culture of the homeland, what gives them a sense of home warmth. I don't want to say that wives live worse than their husbands-ambassadors, but at the very beginning of the move, there is a feeling of loneliness. For 33 years of life in the diplomatic environment, everything became positive for me. Important that the number of places, people and experience cannot be counted, and it is wonderful.

After returning to the homeland, you start to love and understand it more. Because after a long journey people begin to look at their homeland quite differently. This lifestyle makes me feel enriched. I think our only daughter Fiamma, 26 years old, feels the same way. Sometimes she felt lonely and missed Italy, but now she is used to living in Germany.


Julia Nichkasova

hometown — Minsk, wife of the Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus

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The wife of the Ambassador is the grey cardinal, in the best sense of the word. This is an influential person who works together with the Ambassador at a high diplomatic level. She has her own, feminine look, complementing the Ambassador's vision by providing with the 360-degree overview. She as any faithful woman helps, supports, prompts. This is Yin and Yang, two important parts of one whole. If they exchange energy, thoughts, views, trust each other, then a good result obtained not only in the family but also in the work.

I think spouses are goodwill ambassadors. They represent their country, knowing its culture and history. Good contacts are formed through cuisine and national holidays, presentations, exhibitions, receptions. The organization of such events is an important part of the Ambassador's wife mission because the receptions provide an opportunity to communicate in an informal atmosphere and get to know the person better, what always helps in work. The spouses of ambassadors typically quickly establish friendly relationships with each other, what always helps, because the friendship of the spouses, as a rule, grows into the friendship of ambassadors.

If we talk about the difficulties and hardships in the life of the Ambassador's wife it is moving, boxes and suitcases, an arrangement in a new place, adaptation of children in school, kindergarten and generally to new living conditions, because changes are quite often and very different. Difficult to live a few years away from home, family and friends. Of course, modern technologies of communication make it possible to communicate every day, but the phone can not replace the warmth of mom's hugs or live communication with friends.

From the disadvantages is a number of restrictions associated with the peculiarities of the diplomatic service — in each country they are different. Many of us are unallowed to work in the host country, and this means a loss of the profession and limited opportunities for self-realization. It is forbidden to study and restrictions on the use of transport. The wife of the Ambassador is an official position, with all the privileges and immunities of the Vienna Convention, but nevertheless, she is not officially an employee of the Embassy.

Being the Ambassador's wife is uneasy. One of the essential tools is a foreign language because it is the basis of communication. A broad outlook and good education welcomed to easily find topics to keep the conversation going. Appearance and clothes also play a big role. In Astana, the life of the Ambassador's spouses is active, because many events held, so we should always be in good shape and mood. But a lot of work is hidden behind the beautiful picture of life.

Therefore, optimism, adaptability, openness, respect for the traditions of the host country and people, resistance and a sense of humour are our best qualities. All of it is the result of own work.

High social status gives a lot of opportunities, but there is a reverse side of the coin — high responsibility. Therefore, we try to use our opportunities for the benefit of helping people and children in Kazakhstan by holding an annual diplomatic Christmas market, which is loved and known by many residents of Astana.


Theona Benashvili

Wife of the Ambassador of Georgia, hometown — Tbilisi

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Zurab and I have been here for a year. This is his first post as Ambassador. Before we did not live in other countries, so when I found out that we are moving to Astana, I immediately looked at the weather and saw the forecast of -20 degree, I got very scared. After coming to this wonderful city and living a little, you get used to it, and now I like everything here: snow, and even cold.

Since this is our first trip, it was difficult for me to leave friends and relatives. The difficulty of being the wife of the Ambassador — you leave everything in your hometown and move to another city, where know no one and nothing. A huge plus is meeting with new people and making friends, creating contacts with other countries, it is interesting.

I'm still getting used to living here. I like it here because I always feel that people in Astana are warm and hospitable. I like there are big families in Kazakhstan.

We have three children, three boys. Since the youngest is still little, I do not have much time for the Association of Ambassador's spouses, but I try to take part in the events as much as possible.

We participated in a charity fair where we sold our national dishes and souvenirs.

Last year we held an event for children, organized a trip to the water park and Dolphinarium. They were happy, and we are always happy to talk with the children.


Lyudmila Vasilenko

Wife of the Deputy Minister of foreign affairs, hometown — Shymkent

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My first trip as a diplomat's wife was to England in 1996 — my husband worked as a third secretary at the opened Embassy of Kazakhstan in the UK. The 1990s were hard years for our country. From recovering after numerous problems Kazakhstan we came to a developed country and we had a cultural shock.

Before going abroad wives of diplomats were untaught to anything. We had to learn everything intuitively: how to behave, how to dress. Our husbands also investigated diplomatic art, mainly in practice. We returned to Kazakhstan three years later and faced the first difficult and interesting years after the transfer of the capital. Then we moved to the USA and lived there from 2000 to 2007. My husband became an advisor to the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Washington, and my status also changed with his career. Then were another level of events and business meetings.

I remembered then and remember today that I represent not only my husband but the country as well. Everything I say and do affects people's opinion about Kazakhstan. That is why the wife of a diplomat should know the culture, art and history of her country. Timely and in an elegant way present it.

In America, we held events for the spouses of diplomats organized by the wives of former US diplomats and the soldiers. We exchanged culture, experiences, and conducted various workshops. Rather than events it was warm meetings in a friendly atmosphere. There we could embroider and share stories of the first meetings and weddings. We also had a tradition to cook national dishes, and I had the opportunity to present Kazakh dishes.

Adaptation, frequent school changes are the difficulties faced by the families of diplomats. For children necessary to keep and save their culture. Our children studied in Russian and American schools, plus we also had Kazakh language lessons in the Embassy. Our children did not have much stress after the comeback because they knew Kazakh and Russian, and it was easier for them to adapt at home.

Of course, there is a beautiful side of the diplomat's wife life: events, communication and meetings with new interesting people. Constant exploration of new culture and the opportunity to make friends with people from different countries. But the disadvantage is that sooner or later you have to say goodbye to friends from other countries.


Hitomi Shimomura

The wife of the UN Ambassador, hometown — Hokkaido

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My husband is an Ambassador of the United Nations. He never was the Ambassador of Japan, but he always was part of the UN. We lived in different countries. In Astana, this the first post of my husband as a coordinator, UN Ambassador. A great honour for us.

My husband's status is slightly different from other ambassadors. He does not have a substitute. Therefore, I try to help, to attend events to represent the UN. I also try making friends with different people to help my husband in communication.

I enjoy what I do. For me especially important to be a part of the Christmas charity bazaar, in which I participated for the last three years.