By Alexandra Paucescu
Diplomatic life offers some of the most beautiful encounters, with people that inspire you, touch your soul and remain your friends for life, although eventually life will take you to different corners, far away from each other.
Gulnaziya Nussupova was one of the most active and friendly diplomatic spouses that I met while we were both posted in Berlin. Always with a smile on her face, always with a refined and never ostentatious appearance, she won everyone’s respect and admiration.
Born in Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, ‘one of the most beautiful cities in the world’ as she describes it, she studied law and linguistics and started working for a travel agency, then for the National Company “Kazakhstan Temir Zholy” and a broadcasting company. ‘Almaty is a city with a stunning mountainous landscape, a city where apples come from. I remember spring in Almaty: apple trees start blooming, you go to May parades with your parents, school ends in a couple of weeks and you feel so happy. These are some sweet childhood memories that always bring a smile to my face’.
After graduating from university, she got married and started a nomadic adventure along her husband, a career diplomat. First stop: Vienna. She remembers while smiling: ‘our daughter was born there. With its gorgeous architecture, beautiful parks, cozy cafes, numerous museums, glamorous balls, Vienna has a special place in my heart. Living in Vienna also helped me to learn German, the language that I so much love and enjoy speaking’.
Learning German proved extremely useful, as the couple then spent 13 years in Berlin, Germany’s capital.
‘Thanks to the diplomatic club “Willkommen in Berlin” I had a chance to visit Germany and several of its federal states, experience German culture and traditions and meet fantastic people. Also, for our last three years in Germany, I was privileged to become a member of the Advisory Board of the diplomatic club and to represent our regional group “Central Asia and Eastern Non-EU countries”. I loved my time there.’
Indeed, everyone can see her joy for life, her eagerness to discover and learn more about all the places where she lives for a while. Her Instagram account beautifully shows this fascinating journey. ‘Although it’s difficult to be away from your family and friends, moving from one place to another with countless packing and unpacking, I love living in different countries, exploring local culture and traditions, travelling around, meeting new people and making friends from all over the world’.
She loves people and beauty and expresses it in any way she can. She makes some of the most beautiful flower arrangements and some of the most delicious dishes.
Where does she get her inspiration for all this? She tells me: ‘I love flowers and making flower arrangements. The first thing I do when I organize an event is going to the flower market. You can have just a couple of simple snacks, but if you have fresh flowers on your table, everything looks much better.
My second hobby is cooking. I discovered Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi, and the whole Ottolenghi family during the pandemic and since then, I fell in love with their cuisine, a mixture of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean traditions. Ottolenghi offers a burst of flavors, colors, textures and layers. Whenever I host a dinner event, my menu always mixes Kazakh and Ottolenghi dishes. But I generally get my inspiration from everywhere: social media, books, magazines, my friends and nature. I think the most important thing when organizing an event is to make everything with soul and love.’
She is now living in Brazil, which welcomed her with open arms and felt like home from the very beginning. ‘I got to know this country from Brazilian telenovelas which were very popular in the late 1990s and the early 2000s in Kazakhstan. Never have I imagined I would be able to see the famous Copacabana and Ipanema with my own eyes. As a result of many historical, cultural and geographical factors, Brazil is so big and diverse. What makes this country even more special is its people, the friendliest, warmest and most loving people I have ever met. I also admire the beautiful Brazilian Portuguese language which sounds so melodic and reminds me of the soul-capturing Bossa Nova.’
While far away from her beloved country, she never forgets to present it to the world. ‘What I appreciate most about diplomatic life is the chance to present Kazakhstan to the world. I try to organize cultural events in order to promote its rich historical and cultural heritage. Recently we held a cookery demonstration of Kazakh dishes, a sewing masterclass of our national items, a celebration of our spring holiday Nauryz, and a fashion show of famous designer Tarbiya Aydymbayeva. Every time we have a cultural event, I feel happy and proud to be able to present my beautiful country.’
Since March 2023 she also became the President of GCCM (Grupo dos Cônjuges dos Chefes de Missão), a group of spouses of heads of missions in Brasilia. ‘We are a group of more than 60 spouses, who try to help local communities by organizing fundraising events and supporting social projects in and around Brasilia.’
She adds: ‘most people think that we live a privileged life, but diplomacy is an important instrument to conduct international relations, stimulate economic development, and foster dialogue and cooperation. Multilateral relations and peace rest on diplomacy. We, families, are also representatives of our countries and our actions impact the intercultural connections. I guess that only our actions can change the misconceptions people have about us’.
She is full of wisdom and her many years into the diplomatic world added also much experience to it. She is a woman who feels comfortable into her own skin; she knows who she is and what she can achieve. She appreciates life and lives it to the fullest with elegance and grace.
Life is a gift and we have the duty to make it as beautiful as possible, don’t waste it and enrich our souls with everything it has to offer.
About the author:
She speaks Romanian, English, French, German and Italian, gives lectures on intercultural communication and is an active NGO volunteer.