Economics 101

When I was sent to boarding school, the school treated me like I was fortunate, that being away from the chaos of my parents posting was good for me. That I was lucky the government was subsidizing my education. It was the worst kind of treatment, no matter how much they pretended to accept me, I was a charity case.

I went from an International School where everyone was like me, from everywhere and nowhere. Everyone had moved, packed and moved again. The teacher’s were all nomadic, and brilliant,  they wanted to be at the school and had chosen it, it was their passion. International teacher’s recognized things in us that we never imagined, they pushed us to be better, more open-minded, and more passionate about where we were living. The school was safe, I never got embarrassed if I suddenly welled up, or got angry, I never had to hide the same way. Moving back to a country I knew nothing about, and being sent to a boarding school in the country, was absolutely terrifying.

Nothing was as horrifying as the day in my new boarding school in Economics class.

My teacher, the biggest arse you could imagine, began to ramble on about the government, and what a horrible waste of money the Foreign Service was. DUH, hello sitting right here.

I had never seen anyone (especially a teacher), rant on an on so pointedly. He went on about the perks and privileges of the diplomatic service, that while people are starving in our own backyard, Diplomats were living it up for free, drinking champagne and eating caviar. All the while, he never once looked over to me. He knew exactly how many diplomatic kids there were in the tiny school, and it was less than a handful, but only one of them had been on back to back postings, me. I was shocked and outraged. Instead of saying anything, I got up after class, the teacher saw me, looked at me with a Cheshire cat smile. I walked away, went straight to the dorm and called my Father at work.

I was not one to call my Father at the office, ever. I can only remember 4 times in my life that I felt the need. His assistant answered, and knew that I never called, so she interrupted a meeting. He got on the phone a little angry.

I burst into tears and told him exactly what my teacher speech entailed.

My Father was speechless.

The next day I couldn’t avoid economics class, obviously in boarding school it is impossible to skip, or even fake being sick. So I went, ill to my stomach. My teacher avoided looking at me, he was more silent than usual. I had wondered if he got a phone call from my Father, but thought that was pretty undiplomatic of him.

I never heard another negative comment about the federal public servant from that teacher.

I later discovered that my Father’s way of dealing with the teacher was to offer him the chance of visiting an embassy at a posting under civil war, and to shadow him and his staff as they visit local jail cells with our own nationals (probably the most horrifying part of the job) to not only make sure that they are being treated according to International Standards, but to explain they broke local laws and will be charged accordingly;  to go to the country side where our country was funding water wells, or maybe visit orphanages, or local hospitals, or attend a “formal gala” with this so called champagne and caviar.


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