Laurel Pardy was an observer of diplomatic life from the inside for over thirty-five years. Referred to variously as an encumbrance, a dependent, an accompanying spouse and, finally, just a diplomatic spouse, she volunteered for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs as housekeeper, hostess, chef and unofficial representative beside her husband, the official representative, during his long career in the foreign service.

A life in the Foreign Service is dominated by the need for frequent international relocations, called rotationality, and the need for cultivating connections with the people of the host country, called official representation. Add to these the mythical secrecy and subtle ways of international diplomacy and one has the basis for a life little understood by people outside the service. As wives and husbands, children and parents, we are concerned with the same issues as other people. The difference is the addition of the intrinsic characteristics of diplomacy which are both a blessing and a curse to those living the life. It does, however, create a parade of the sublime and the ridiculous for an interested observer.

Laurel was born in Nova Scotia during WW II where she graduated from Acadia University, taught school and met her husband. She worked variously as a teacher, writer, editor and from 2003 until her retirement as Director of Volunteers for the Riverside Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. Since then she has written two books, Life on a Carousel, and A Lady of Lunenburg. She and her husband are now retired and living in Ottawa.