Home Diplomatic Pouch Have faith and don’t be afraid of change

Have faith and don’t be afraid of change

Mirella Pocasangre de Vásquez

By Alexandra Paucescu

Mirella Pocasangre de Vásquez is a proud Salvadoran lawyer, notary, and also law professor, who for the last 17 years has fully embraced the diplomatic life, along with her husband, a career diplomat now ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

United States, Türkiye and the Netherlands have all been ‘HOME’ to them, adding beautiful chapters to their life story. From her words you get that she is an optimist, she loves life and welcomed all changes with an open heart.

‘I grew up during a challenging time in my country’s recent history, but I always maintained a positive outlook. Later, I have found happiness in each country we have lived in, although I must admit that the first move was the most difficult one, as it meant leaving my home country, my family, and my career. In time, I realized the blessing of this life and I have no regrets now.’

She was no longer a professional, but the full-time mother of Pablo and Miguel, and she devoted her life to her family. She learned to find good in everything and fully benefit from all the experiences, enrich her soul with beautiful memories. What’s most important, she found her role in this diplomatic great puzzle.

‘I have learned that there are many times when I cease to be Mirella, the lawyer, and simply become the Salvadoran. People often do not remember my name, but they do remember where I come from. Although I am not with an official position, I always try to uphold the name and the beauties of my country, something that can be achieved with small but significant details. Understanding each other is key for good diplomacy, even across cultures and religions. Although barrier language may seem hard, we can still find ways to connect and be friends. Even with big differences, building good relationships is always possible. Some people believe that diplomatic life is all about travel, social life, and privileges. However, I strongly believe that it is a life of commitment, and I see this every day at my husband. There are no office hours, no weekends, and when duty calls, he answers unconditionally. This is a lifestyle that can only be achieved when one puts the interests of the country first.’

The Ambassador of El Salvador, H.E. Mr. Agustín Vásquez Gómez and his spouse Mirella Pocasangre de Vásquez donating Mirella’s painting to IIllimani cafeteria.

However devoted and involved she is, she still confesses that sometimes she feels the challenges of being away from family and friends. ‘Saying goodbye is difficult. Not being able to share special moments with family is painful. Being far from our parents is hard, and not being able to attend my father’s funeral due to the distance was even harder. Not being able to help my mom and my in-laws in their old age, as well as my brothers, is a source of regret, not being able to give a hug, a simple thing which means a lot. Nowadays my heart is in the Netherlands with my husband, but it is also with my children at their places of study, many kilometers away, and naturally, it is in my home country with my family, as well.’

One of the constants in all life stories that I have had the pleasure of discovering over the past 4 years, while writing these interviews, is that many of these remarkable women have found their calling and vocation while living the diplomatic lives. Each has rediscovered passions that may have been long forgotten and has taken it upon her to offer some of that to the world. Mirella is yet another wonderful example.

‘Since I was a little girl, I loved to paint and loved colors. My parents always bought me crayons and I had fun painting the walls in our house, my bed and everything that was around. When I was in school, I won a painting competition. My classmates often asked me for help them make drawings. At the age of 12, my parents put me in drawing and painting classes with the Salvadoran teacher, Miguel Angel Orellana. It was a short time, but it marked me and I still put what I learned then into practice. Over the years, I put aside painting but, five years ago, during my first time living in the Netherlands, I took a short course in acrylic painting, also learning some new and different techniques. Then, during the pandemic, I picked up my brushes and acrylics again. I don’t paint with oil because I am too impatient, and I prefer to use acrylics, as they are more versatile. Recently, in a discussion with my good friend Rania, the wife of the Egyptian ambassador, talking about my hobbies, I mentioned painting.’

And that’s how they came up with the idea of offering painting classes to a group of diplomatic spouses in The Hague.

In the picture, a group of diplomatic spouses at the Egyptian residence in The Hague are shown displaying their first collaborative work following a painting workshop led by Mirealla Pocasandre de Vazquez.

‘We enthusiastically developed a workshop together, the first one in my life. The experience has been fabulous. The joy of the group is indescribable as it is a dream come true for many. It is even more gratifying to see them progress in their learning.’

You can feel the joy in her words and the fact that she is a generous and warm woman, who likes to share and bring happiness to others, too.

Mirella from El Salvador and Rania from Egypt.

‘All the paintings I have done so far have been given as gifts; the most recent is a painting of my country’s national bird, the torogoz, perched on a coffee branch, which I did for the Illimani cafeteria in The Hague, which sells gourmet Salvadoran coffee.’

She surrounds herself with beauty and good vibes and she brings that to others. Mirella is a great example of a perfect adaptation to diplomatic life, with all that it implies.

Her secret? An optimistic and faith-filled approach.

‘Either you have faith or you are afraid, but you cannot have both at the same time.’

About the author:

Alexandra Paucescu

Alexandra Paucescu- Author of “Just a Diplomatic Spouse” Romanian, management graduate with a Master in business, cultural diplomacy and international relations studies.

She speaks Romanian, English, French, German and Italian,  gives lectures on intercultural communication and is an active NGO volunteer.

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