Last Friday morning, when the EU referendum results shocked the world, I woke up in a country remarkably different to the one I slept in the night before. Mark had already rushed off to work to deal with the tumbling financial market and I was left to stare at the news in complete disbelief and unshakeable sadness. The UK filed for divorce from the European Union and it’ll be the kids who suffer.
England has been my adopted home for the last 5 years. I still have a few grievances about adapting to life on this side of the pond. What’s with the social pressure to ask colleagues if they want tea in the office every single time? Why is customer service so poor when the practice of good manners is emphasized and the need to apologize for everything is a national pastime? But don’t get me wrong, I have grown quite fond of my husband’s country and the place where many of my friends, who come from different parts of the world, currently call home. It seems the feeling is not mutual and we’ve just been asked to not let the door hit us on the way out.
My experience as an expat living in London has no doubt been richer because of the global community not to mention access to the best of world cuisines. Creativity and relationships have been fostered not from our similarities but our differences. With the referendum results, not only is it insulting to those of us who pay taxes in the UK, contribute to their economy and embrace their culture (give and take a few quirks) to effectively be shown the door. I not only feel heartache for my friends/neighbors but also injustice for the youths whose futures face even more uncertainty than it did before, all in the name of fear and misinformation.
If something as nonsensical as Brexit can happen I shudder to think of what can come from the U.S. elections in November. And if there is one thing I learned from the referendum it is that we cannot afford to be complacent and let hate dominate our future.