A little note to my dear EU friends...

26 June 2016

Goodness me! I can't let this huge change in our country pass by without mentioning it on my blog in my own mumbling, simpleton way ; )

I just wanted to communicate to the rest of the world, how I feel...because I feel somewhat ashamed of the direction in which the UK is going. In fact there may not even be a UK for much longer, which totally scares me.

I'm not much of a political person. I never thought I'd say that I am proud of this country.

I was born and grew up on the Isle of Wight, until I was 18 years old, I met very few people from other cultures, even the tourists back then were mostly northern white Brits.

I loved going to London when I was young, the vibe and the energy was like a magnet to me. People were all different and wore amazing clothes. Driving through Brixton with the music and wafts of foods and exhaust fumes seeping through the windows was so fascinating.

I moved to London in my early 20s and lived in an eight roomed shared house in Camberwell. I lived in that house for five years, with housemates changing regularly, I lived with so many different nationalities!

I learnt SO much about myself, the world and what I liked about the Britain that I used to detest as a teenager.
Next to our house was a corner shop where I used to scrape up my meagre wage to buy dinner each night and buy my travel card to get to work. It was run by two Sri Lankan brothers, and we all became good friends and I loved asking them about their life back home, why they were here and what they thought of Britain.
'It's freedom, we feel safe here, and everybody gets on' they would say, and it made me feel all proud and gooey at 22 years old.
Next door to the corner shop was the Indian Takeaway, I frequented this place a lot too, on days that I felt particularly flush (payday). My first taste of Indian food was from here and (being a veggie) my brain almost burst with the wonderful flavours happening in my mouth!
They also employed a young Thai man who cooked up mouth watering Thai food, wow! How lucky we are in the UK I thought.

I lived in London for about 15 years, my main adult life, it shaped how I am. If I had lived my whole life on the Isle of Wight, I don't know if I would have become the person that I am now?

So many of my friends are from other EU countries that I struggle to think of even a few who are actually born here.
Yet we could enjoy a Sunday down the pub, having a roast lunch, with five or six different nationalities. All enjoying the ambiance and the general pub banter, fluently, in English and with an understanding of the English language that would leave a lot of British born speakers behind (including myself). I learnt a lot about Europe, and I felt European.
I absorbed a lot of their positivity about Britain.

Those friends have been working in medicine, the arts, architecture, mental health, financial sector, freelancers, small business owners and education. Contributing so much to the country they loved enough to leave their own for.

The EU to me is a whole lot more important than just the economy. It symbolises a commitment to be International, integrated and a free and kind nation of people who want to help others and work together, and in return, benefit from the rich diverse culture that has now evolved.

Our own little internet business can sell and send parcels to any country in the EU as easy and as quickly as sending to the home counties. We dreamt of moving our business to a nice warm Mediterranean country when we got old. I loved that freedom to dream.

My children's father is an immigrant, we run a business that pays corporation tax, business rates etc...and employs over four British nationals, and utilises numerous British based companies. All of whom also pay tax on their salary/payments from us. We are just a miniscule plankton like business in the ocean of UK businesses. 'Immigrants coming over here, taking our jobs'...should be 'Immigrants coming over here, making our jobs'. I cringe at the ease and familiarity of the nationalistic tone coming across in the media. It is scary. It is full of toxic falseness. Too many people claim to hate people who they have never met.

I, like so many people I know, are not angry or bitter or resentful of the out come of the EU referendum, I simply feel sad. I need time to grieve for the loss, and the loss of what my children could have had. Goodbye EU, I think we should have appreciated you more when we had you, and thank you for teaching me how to be a European and be proud of my own nationality too.

Disclaimer: These are my own thoughts.
I am happy to agree to disagree with people I know and people who might read this on the internet. The world would truly be a boring place if we all agreed, wouldn't it?

Health, peace and happiness to all x

p.s. yes I know my spelling and grammer is atrocious!


© artemis russell. Design by FCD.