Foreign Service – a Child’s View
Two young boys, both 12, are walking home from a nearby school. Pere, a slender boy, nonchalantly swings his back-pack over his shoulder, and turns to Maurice, a pale, delicate boy with dark brown hair...
“You’re new here? I haven’t seen you before. My name is Pere, what’s yours?”
“I’m Maurice and we just arrived last week. My Dad got posted here.” he replies shyly.
“Posted? Is your dad is a diplomat?”
“Yes.” Eyes averted.
“Is this the first time you moved to another country?”
“Yes, it is our first time.”
“Well, this is your first time, don’t worry about it. My Mom is a diplomat too, and this is my third school and I’m not even a teenager yet. We just arrived ourselves a few months ago. My real home is in Madrid.”
Maurice’s face lights up. “Oh I know about Madrid! My Mom went there once, and she was raving about how beautiful it was. Me, I only know about Madrid because Real Madrid football club is my favorite football team in the world.”
He looks at Pere enquiringly... “So, what other places have you lived in before?”
“When I was 4 we moved to Budapest, . I remember it was very cold, we had to plug our cars in to warm them up so that they would start in the morning!” He shrugs. “But luckily that did not last long, because when I was 7 we had to move back to Madrid. Now that is always home for me... ” he giggles “...and then last year we moved out here”. A sigh...
“Do you like it here?” Maurice asks his new acquaintance.
“Nah, not really. The kids are different here, but my parents say it’s the safest place on earth. I miss my friend Carlos. We were best friends. At least we can chat on Facebook to stay in touch, but I miss the times we would play football with our other friends. Oh, and we would hike in the nearby countryside too.”
“Yeah, I guess. So Maurice, how about you? How long are you guys staying here?”
“Dunno. I hope not long. I also miss home and all my friends, but Dad and Mom say I should be thankful because we will get to see and experience other cultures and countries and stuff. It’s ok I guess”...he tilts his head sideways, thoughtfully ...” the house we are staying in is pretty awesome...and...they allow me here to go outside and to school by myself! I couldn’t do that back home, no playgrounds where we lived and when with my friends we had to play in each other’s homes. Back where we live it’s not safe for kids to be by themselves to play outside.”
“Well, you will get used to it I guess. I also don’t know how long we will be staying for, but... I’m glad we met.”
“Yeah, same here! “ Maurice enthusiastically responds, relishing the thought of having made a new friend.
Pere points to a large Tudor house, and says, “Come in for a soda. I’ve got the latest FIFA 2011 game and a huge flat screen. Want to play?”
Maurice nods eagerly and takes out his mobile phone...moments pass... ”Hi Mom, I’ve met Pere – they live in the house next door, his mom is a diplomat too like Daddy and they are from Madrid. He asked me to hang out and play a computer game, may I please?” He nods again eagerly, smiles, and with a quick “Ok, I will. Bye.” Maurice turns to Pere. “Come! Race you to the gate!”
The two boys laugh and run the last 30 meters to the imposing gate, shirts bellowing in the wind of their excited rush... memories and longing for a home and life left behind forgotten in the moments of a new friendship.
04 November 2012, Moira G Gallaga©