This lingo gets confusing. In Diplomatic speak, O.R is the official residence. The official residence is where the Ambassador lives, and many aspire to finally step foot in these monstrous houses. Except me, I know better.
We arrived, with a 14 hour difference, I was about to turn 10, we were finally reunited. My Father had gone ahead to the posting, and we had been separated for 6 months. We were all exhausted, but happy. I was shown my room. it felt different, it was large, and a little much, but my stuffed animals were all on the bed, and I was happy to get into the bed and go to sleep.
I woke up, the house was quiet, I had no idea where I was, but I got up and dressed, and opened my door. I found the massive staircase, walked down it and realized, I was no longer in my small home, where I knew all the neighbours and could play in the front yard. This was a fortress, guards were posted outside, there was a massive wall surrounding the property, there were 9 staff who lived in the house, there were 3 guards posted outside at all times.
What I learned, there was never a time that there wasn’t someone in the house. The O.R was everyone’s house. No one was there for us as a family, they were there to make sure my Father could do his job to the best of his abilities, whether it was entertaining massive receptions, small dinner parties, or hosting fundraisers, Christmas parties and National days.
I ventured out, and realized it was 4am, no one was up, I stumbled on the massive fountain that was in the middle of the house. I got up on it, and walked in circles, and looked around, noticing every wall sconce, and the marble on the floors. I was stunned, it looked like a hotel. I would be living in a hotel.
At 5, someone appeared, and asked if I wanted anything for breakfast, I didn’t answer, I had no idea who they were. I was a little scared. Soon after, my Father appeared. I leapt into his arms, I was so excited to see him. The same person who asked if I wanted anything, looked at my Father and said “Good morning Ambassador, your coffee and breakfast is ready.” I was stunned, I had no idea why they were greeting him as Ambassador.
I followed my Father into a family room/dinning room on the side of the house. I still couldn’t wrap my head around what was going on. I sat at the table, and looked at the food at the table. I knew my Mother wasn’t up, so I was confused as to who had cooked. It turned out, there was a cook.
As the time passed, my Father had gotten dressed and ready. A driver met him on the side of the house, with a radio. He said his goodbyes, and he was gone. Within minutes, another car arrived, 2 people from the Embassy were here to go over a piping issue.
And so, everyday from then on, I was never alone, and this house, was never ours.