Humans of the Embassy: Nikolina Kulidzan, Public Affairs Section

“Like everyone, I am many things: a daughter, wife, immigrant, free spirit, lover of books and nature, high-strung overachiever, person who will always speak English with an accent, and a woman who has grieved infertility. What makes each of us different is sometimes obvious but often not. For me, the surest way to respect the differences of others is to practice compassion.

I am also a U.S. diplomat serving my first overseas assignment in wonderful Singapore. The part of my job I love most is the opportunity to facilitate cultural exchange. When people meet and share, their worlds expand, their prejudices fade. I was 18 when I left home to go to the United States. Tears streamed down my face as I waved goodbye to my family and friends, the gravity of the decision I had made finally dawning on me. That was 18 years ago. I am an American now, and yet, the feisty ruggedness of my Balkan ancestors still flows in my blood.

The night before my husband and I flew to Singapore, I got a tattoo. It’s a tree of life – its roots run deep, its branches fly high. For every fallen leaf, there is a new bud.”