The Student News Site of Taipei American School




How Mrs Thatcher saved Mrs Hughes


Doña Carla is leaving TAS this year after 16 years teaching Spanish, including many years as Head of the Languages Department.
Mrs. Hughes, who is of mixed Spanish and English descent, first met her husband, Dr. Hughes, while teaching at an Iranian school in Spain in 1982. Dr. Hughes taught Chemistry at TAS for twelve years.
The Hughes’ travelled all over the Middle East and Asia as international teachers and have taught at a total of 8 international schools, including TAS.
Mrs. Hughes and her husband taught in Kuwait for five years until Saddam Hussein invaded the country in 1990. Operation Desert Storm, a U.S. led campaign to liberate Kuwait, made it impossible for the Hughes to return to there after the summer vacation.
“We lost everything…our home, car, clothes, and all my lovely jewelry,” said Mrs. Hughes.
They did not lose their taste for adventure, however, as they then moved to Bahrain, for the duration of the Gulf War.
In Bahrain, Mrs. Hughes remembers being issued with a gas mask at school. It had a big, blue dot right at the forehead that indicated “civilian” for any future body counts! She also recalls watching Scud missiles launched by Iraq being blown out of the sky by Patriot Missiles.
After the war, the Hughes’ moved to Dubai. When she grew frustrated at all the bureaucratic red-tape involved in trying to make a claim for their losses, Mrs. Hughes sat down and wrote to Mrs. Thatcher to express her disappointment.
Then a miracle happened. Two weeks later, Mrs. Hughes received a beautifully hand written letter on House of Commons notepaper. In a two page letter Mrs. Thatcher, Prime Minister of UK from 1979 to 1990, described her recent trip to the Gulf and apologized for the inevitable bureaucratic delays.
The next day, the Embassy called the Hughes to inform them how to reclaim their lost property in Kuwait.
After ten years in the Middle East, they moved onto Asia, first teaching at ISB in Thailand then at TAS. This year has marked Mrs. Hughes’ 16 years of teaching at TAS. It’s the longest she has ever taught anywhere.
“TAS has been the school where we were the happiest,” said Mrs. Hughes. “It’s the people that made this place so very special, and I hope TAS will always remain true to itself. We shall certainly miss it.”
According to the Hughes, at TAS, students say hello, even though you might just be a teacher of their cousins. Parents are also very supportive and will always stand with the teachers ready to help solve problems if their children run into trouble.
After 16 years at TAS, Ms Hughes will return to her hometown in the Andalusian countryside in Spain with Dr Hughes. “I will hopefully live happily ever after,” said Ms Hughes.

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