candids by Jo » a lifestyle blog that centers on food, travel and leading a creative life.

Unrequited love in the U.K.

Wells Cathedral Somerset England photopintopinterestLast 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.

Jacintha Jess in Berlinpintopinterest

Jacintha & Jess in Berlin

Christine Kathy Jo in Parispintopinterest

Christine, Kathy & me in Paris

Rosella Christina Jacintha Jesspintopinterest

Rosella in London | Christina, Jacintha, Jess and me in Czech Republic

Giulia Kathy Christinepintopinterest

Giulia in Venice | Kathy & Christine in Amsterdam

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.

Civil ceremony Cambridgeshirepintopinterest

Civil ceremony Cambridgeshire surrounded by Brits

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury Dorsetpintopinterest


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  • Oh Jo… it breaks my heart on so many levels. Our dear expat friends have made London the magical place it has been since I moved here. I can’t even put into words how much I wish it will stay that way… and I don’t want those British idiosyncrasies to change either…ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      At this point I just hope there’s a lesson to be learned here for the States!ReplyCancel

  • Nicki

    I feel you, Jo. I was trying to convince David to move to the UK for a few years if Trump gets elected, but now I’m not so convinced it would be much better 🙁 Do you think it makes any difference (in terms of how you are treated) due to the fact that you’re married to a Brit?ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      I’ve always felt like an outsider as an expat but have never been treated differently/poorly which speaks to how inclusive a city London is rather than the fact that I’m married to a Brit. I know I get to stay because of that though!ReplyCancel

  • It doesn’t feel quite right to say I love this post, but you’ve said so well what I as an fellow American ex-pat (albeit here for nearly 30 years) also feels. Such unsettling times, but history shows worse in the past. So, whatever happens, I am firmly on the side of hope. It’s just unfortunate that the hateful, racists get the most media attention. I do hope they get drowned out by kindness and civility from the majority. All best to you xxReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      Thanks for your kind words Kellie! It feels we’ve set ourselves back a few decades but you’re right we can’t lose hope! xReplyCancel

  • Hi Jo! I’m still in shock and I don’t even live in UK… But I was born in Spain to a half Italian half Spanish family. I studied in England, Scotland and Germany, I live now in Germany but every time I can I travel to another European country for the weekend. My best friends live in London… I’m as European as it gets! So those results felt like a bolt out of the blue. I didn’t expect them to be honest. But then I thought: all the people I follow on social media, the newspapers I read, the world around me (friends, family, coworkers) shares my values and that made me unaware of the other people that doesn’t think like me. And we have to listen to them too! Because if we listen carefully we can answer back, otherwise we just ignore them thinking that the world is going in a good direction when clearly it isn’t. Education is key! And after the elections in my country (with a terrible, scary result) I’m terribly worried about USA…ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      Totally agree! It even more clear now that people are frustrated and afraid but I don’t believe what they voted for actually alleviates any of their concerns 🙁ReplyCancel

  • well said! alas, the consequences will be shown soon. sad days ahead for the UK and the EU.ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      For now, let’s just hope someone with a good head on their shoulders can step up to the plate and lead!ReplyCancel

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