show time

So I may have mentioned once or twice that I am a diplobrat; the child of diplomats (aka ambassadors when we’re out of the country/ commissioners when the country is of the British Commonwealth).  As such, I have been lucky to be my father’s back-up date to various fancy-schmancy events here in Ottawa, such as the Prime Ministers Christmas Reception (2 funny stories that I can tell later), concerts, recitals, shows, and the ever popular cocktail parties full of schmoozers and utterly boring people but fabulous food and even more fabulous drinks.

Its the only perk I can think of – besides travelling on a diplomatic passport – of being a diplobrat.  We’re just civil servants serving in another country, but either way we are the property of Canada: everywhere we go we represent Canadians, and more often than not we defend our home and native land against the horror stories of stupid tourists who lack the pride of Canada because they’ve never truly lived in another country that has significantly less than Canada.

After a restless and drug induced sleep and a morning/afternoon battling a headache, I am gussied up and ready to go to an evening full of banter and who knows what else at tonight’s Senators hockey game.  I get to watch the game from a booth with some local celebrates (not on the ice, mind you) and enjoy their company.That is, if they even acknowledge me beyond the initial introduction as so-and-so’s daughter, the nursing student.

You know, these kind of functions aren’t as fun as one may think.  Some illusions of grandeur place the lucky little ‘princess’ in ball gowns and princes in tuxes, a live band playing while the floor is full of dancers, exotic dishes are served by men in vests and the quiet gossip of the crowd centers on who will next grab a dance with the daughter of the diplomat.

WRONG.

In most cases my dad has to leave me to schmooze and I am mearely the entertainment for the other ladies-in-waiting; as in, waiting for this night to be over.  If not then I get to stand around and listen to topics of no interest to me and receive pitiful looks of quiet displeasure over my choice of career.  I’ve had doctors, lawyers, politicians, bankers, even trophy wives look down on me with a little ‘oh’ when I answer the question ‘so are you in school? what for?’  I swear that question (in its entirety) NEVER changes, although my answer does… depending on the person.

See, as a diplobrat, I’ve gained some essential people skills that I believe my 3rd year community health nursing course and yearly ‘professionalism’ courses are trying to teach me.  I find them laughable.  You can’t learn how to deal with a variety, multitude of people by reading books or attending lectures or researching.  Those people haven’t touched a patient in years let alone had a NORMAL conversation with NORMAL people.  Not to say that this so-called upper-elite crowd is NORMAL but… at least you’re talking TO someone and not highlighting what they may or may not respond to you with scripted words coming from the under-utilized imagination of a scholar.

There are times when I am an integral part of the conversation, where by-standers look and laugh along with my witty jokes and sweet and honest answers.  And there are times when I don’t speak unless I am spoken to.  How do I know the difference?  After 23 years of living this way, I think I’ve got a handle on it.  Sure there are times when I am mistaken, when I give the wrong people the benefit of the doubt… but that comes with more time.

I write this because of all the press the Canadian in Mexico is getting: although she has been in a Mexican prison for 2 years, and as far as we know her sentence has already been decided by the judge PRE-trial.  I’m sure people like my father are being shit on for not doing enough to safe-guard Canada’s citizens from the tyrrany that is the rest of the world… however, because there is always a however, it’s way more intricate than what the public knows.

For example; have you ever tried to deal with a person from a third world country? One that is SO set in his or her ways that there is NO way in hell of you getting them to see another perspective of things?  Ok; so imagine an entire COUNTRY like that.  Not so easy, is it?  It takes a LOT of tact to get ANYTHING done, and unfortunately what IS done is so minute that 1/2 of the population doesn’t even consider it a victory.

Or maybe this is a better example:  Imagine someone coming in to YOUR country, breaks YOUR rules, and then demands clemency because of the fact that they are not a citizen.  Of course, in Canada and the US it is highly unlikely (well, maybe moreso in Canada) that we’d just jail someone for no reason, but who knows.  It’s kind of like immigrants who refuse to let go of their identity to a point where they demand the country that they have immigrated to to change on their behalf.   Imagine: Christmas being taken away as a holiday because of 10% of the population celebrating Ramadan.  Can I get a collective HELL NO?  Because if a group of Christians went to the Middle East and demanded such a change… safe to say that it would NEVER happen.  When you go into another persons country, you have to have to HAVE to obey their rules, no matter how ridiculous they may seem.  If you truly feel that the country’s rules are against your moral standards, then DON’T GO THERE.  Show your disproval by not pumping your hard earned money into their economy.  Go somewhere else, somewhere where they respect you. Don’t go in all maverick-like, thinking you’re going to save the poor citizens with your minute amount of money that really, won’t ever make it into the hands of those who need it most.  

Anyway, this diplobrat has to get back to class. Happy Monday!

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~ by Carrie on March 17, 2008.

21 Responses to “show time”

  1. The Brenda Martin case right? I heard a bit about that this morning, seems she is on suicide watch now.

    I think its great that you get to network, meet people and hone your social skills while at NHL games…there have to be some benefits!

  2. I totally hear you on the schmoozing :).

    Haven’t heard about this Canadian in Mexico… I’ll have to read about it now!

  3. I think this makes me never want to leave New York State, not that I even know all of our rules. I hope that those schmoozing skills come in handy in the rest of your life! I bet you do Canada proud.

  4. Wisdom my friend, wisdom you speak! I find it so appalling, as a US citizen ,when I have travelled with others who reinforce the ugly american perception by acting as though other countries laws don’t apply. Dont have the time, don’t be doing the crime!

  5. Hell no … let’s stage a sit-in … Hmmmm, am I showing my age?

    And what’s all this about no debauchery in the diplomatic corps? I thought you had to sign a contract that read … I WILL be the debauchery king/queen for Canada.

    Your diplobrat training has given you a very fair and even understanding of “rules” … you spoke eloquently, but you always do. As for Brenda Martin … if she did something criminal she deserves to be where she is. We all know the stories of innocent tourists being jailed but I am not certain if I have ever heard, after the fact, that they were entirely innocent.

    And, as for the fancy schmancy events … the other attendees (speaking from my male point of view) are probably saying … who’s the hottie with .. .I am moving to her country.

    Be well sweetie.

  6. The property of Canada? Did they tatoo a maple leaf on you?

    You know what they say…When in Rome. I have no doubt it’s tricky stuff, but if we can respect laws and traditions of other countries we really should. I mean I don’t see Americans/Canadians heading to England and just driving on the right because that’s what we always do…

  7. […] en Concert 1998 – Marseilles/Tokyo Review by Finnforest James Prog Reviewer Buwww.progarchives.comshow time So I may have mentioned once or twice that I am a diplobrat the child of diplomats aka ambassadors […]

  8. that sounds so cool! to travel all over? but i guess it would, me not being the one having to live it all the time…the grass is always greener, right?

  9. Wow. It certainly is an interesting way to spend a few evenings every now and then and you must win whenever everyone talks about what their dad does for a living.

    But then I’m just a diplodud…

  10. hmmm did they really wanna do away with christmas cos 10% of the population was celebrating Ramadan? darn thats preposterous.
    no offence but about people from third world countries not understanding your perspective well it can be equally frustrating when its vice versa.

  11. I saw Brenda Martin’s interview. I feel badly for her. It is clearly a difficult situation that isn’t easily resolved by having someone pick up the phone.

    I am not great when it comes to professionalism. It’s not that I can’t be professional, I’m just not a very high self monitor and I get nervous about saying stupid things. I tend to just keep my mouth shut.

  12. I have to learn more about this Canadian in Mexico story. Doesn’t sound like a good thing. I do love the term “diprobrat”. There’s so much more to you than meets the eye.

  13. I’m not very good at being sociable with strangers – even at my gran’s funeral on sat i was struggling to make conversation with family members!

  14. Well said! It would seem that much of this should be common sense, but common sense just doesn’t seem all that common these days.

  15. how fun to get all dressed up! i totally wish I had a reason to get all dolled up like that. 🙂

  16. Technically, judicial proceedings shouldn’t be political, but in practice, sometimes countries use trumped up charges against another country’s citizen to make a political point. In the case of Brenda Martin, I get the feeling the motivation is more financial than political.

    I wouldn’t underestimate the power of a diplobrat. Who knows? Even without knowing, you might have charmed your way into some foreign dignitary’s heart, thus indirectly affecting the outcome of some negotiations that benefit the Land of the Maple Leaf.

  17. I’m not a dipolbrat and although my dad was in the military, I’m not a military brat either, so I never got to experience those types of functions. But now that I’m all grown up and I write for a magazine, part of my job is to go out to these so-called “social functions” and interact with the “creme de la creme” of Tucson. And to me, it’s funny, because let’s face it…Tucson is nowhere near “creme de la creme”! All these people think they’re somebody and really, they’re not. They’re just regular people who buy their Louis Vuitton in the same store I do. So it’s funny to see them prance around and act like they are parting with Tucson’s chosen few. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes, these parties are a great way to make connections in town that can lead to bigger and better things and the food is always wonderful, but like you, I always wonder…what’s the point?

    Also, I couldnt agree with you more about the whole tourist thing. If you’re visiting a country, just be respectful of their country. Common sense…period. If you’re gonna act stupid on purpose, then yeah, you need to pay a stupid fee in jail.

  18. You are in Nursing right? I don’t understand why people would “look down”??
    I love the term diplobrat!

  19. great work,

  20. I am looking forward to reading this paper in detail. ,

  21. Unless, of course, you know different. ,

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