Golden Moments From Teaching Abroad Part 4 of the short blogs series: The British Embassy

If your classroom assistant is the wife of a “Cultural Attache” at the embassy, you may strike lucky and get invited to a slap-up formal lunch at the Ambassador’s residence. He was still a spy, if you ask me.

In some places, where life is difficult for expats (like Libya, where you couldn’t officially buy alcohol), the Ambassador may invite the whole Remembrance Sunday congregation in the CWGC cemetery back to the residence for drinky-poos and canapes. As British territory, the rules on alcohol did not apply and a fine wine was served. Nom nom.

My passport had only a couple of unstamped pages left. It also had the official stamps I needed to work here in Libya. Problem? Not here. The embassy understood so well that they issued me a new passport in Tripoli without cancelling the old one, which would have invalidated the permission stamps. I still have this outdated, uncancelled passport. And a new one. Sometimes, if the country is berserk enough, the embassy follows suit.

We went through a similar situation in Bratislava, when my daughter’s passport ran out. The passport office in London had it and were taking a stupid amount of time to sort it out. So the Embassy in Bratislava issued a temporary document that listed permission to travel through all the countries we may or would drive through on the road trip home (and only them) along with a written expectation that it would be repossessed at the final return journey border. But as we were happily part of the EU at the time there were no border controls anywhere either on the home journey, or the return to Slovakia (apart from in and out the UK). The result was that we drove happily both ways and collected another travel souvenir. They probably knew that all along at the embassy.

It was only the second entry into the register for a marriage in Jordan, where the young relief consul was on his first posting and was so excited about one of his first duties being marrying us that he phoned his dad, all excited, from the Brit Club, we later heard.

And talking of the Embassy Club, what a great place to go for a swim, pub quiz or to to join the football team.

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