How long does it take for one to fall in love with a place? UK Ambassador Fionna Gibb knows the answer – having served a term in Belarus, she feels like a Belarusian in many ways.
The diplomat’s moving words.
UK Ambassador Fionna Gibb finishes her term in Belarus in August 2019, the diplomatic mission has announced. At a recent reception to mark Queen’s Birthday Party, Ms Gibb gave a speech, which in a way summarized her stay in Belarus.
The ambassador said she ‘has gone’ native and explained, what makes her a bit Belarusian now. The most touching quotes from Fionna Gibb’s speech (and some are likely to make you shed a tear of tenderness):
I have enthusiastically adopted the practice of the banya, thrashing myself with a bunch of leaves and jumping into the lake to cool down before doing it all over again.
I have a great love of smetana which has required large amounts of sport to compensate
I find that when I visit London I now wait patiently until the green man allows me to cross the road – and this has become the most important piece of advice I give foreign guests. Do not jaywalk!
After an interview yesterday … I said to my colleague I wasn’t happy with how I spoke. I seem to have adopted the habit of feeling that things are “never good enough”.
If you give Belarusians a compliment, you say you are wrong and you could have done better
I have developed a great admiration for Belarusians. I am a Scot, and they say Scots are rather frugal – so I do appreciate how Belarusians never throw anything away and have a special place to keep bits of metal, plastic, material or wood in case it might be useful one day at the dacha.
You may be frugal, but in terms of generosity, no one can beat Belarus
A Belarusian will empty their fridge and give you the best hospitality – and the guest STILL leaves with a beautiful gift!
I love your optimism – no matter how bad things are, they could always be worse! If you have a problem, Belarusians won’t offer sympathy or advice – they will tell you what to do.
I have many happy memories – from crawling along a tunnel in a potash mine in Soligorsk, to swimming in the bog in Yelnya, to seeing a wild wolf in the dark in Naliboki, to riding across the fields of winter snow in Dzerzhinksi rayon, to driving a BelAZ truck – for a short distance only!
But it is the people who make or break a place and I am happy to say I have met some wonderful people here whose friendship and kindness has made my time in Belarus special and unforgettable
The text of Ambassador’s speech provided by UK in Belarus – British Embassy Minsk.