I’ve been living in the UK for a third of my life, during the psychosocial development years where one forms and raises opinions on how intimate he becomes with himself, his peers/colleagues, and his lovers. The existential question in this stage of life is whether one is capable of loving, and living in this country has definitely helped me answer that.
My ethnicity is a product of colonial Asia and though I’m very proud to be Filipino, the UK has been my home for a decade. This is where I saw myself transform from spoilt little child to independent young lady.
This is the country which gave me a global perspective and I owe this, perhaps mostly, to the friends I’ve met from this country and continental Europe. Through them, I’ve embraced the world beyond borders from visas to languages, passports, gender and colour.
After years of visa renewals I am now a permanent resident and, actually, eligible for naturalisation. However, I still have a Filipino passport, so even if I wanted to, I couldn’t have voted last week. My heart and my mind was all for staying in the EU, because I genuinely believe we are better in alliance than when we stand alone – and that goes beyond an economic and defence standpoint.
I can’t tell you how glum I felt when I woke up post-elections and saw the results. Partly as it puts us in the shits politically and economically (although this can be rectified in the long run if the government and banks play their cards right and find best route to market); and partly due to the xenophobic uprising that unraveled. I’ve never felt so unsafe and so vulnerable.
“Why the f*ck do you f*cking care? You’re an alien in this country. Go home.”
– said a random man on Old Compton Street
In 10 years, I have paid my taxes and contributed to the economy; learned history beyond Hadrian’s Wall, doctrines from parliamentary supremacy to celebrity injunctions; given back to charity; and embraced the culture wholeheartedly. I will always hear the fervour cries of true patriots, and perhaps one day I’d believe and see their reasons. But as fundamental principles of British law and natural justice go, I can only hope they’d grasp the humanity of ours, too. Britain won’t be the Britain it is today without immigrants.
Anyway. The bigger picture is still unclear but whilst it’s all hazey let’s all try to get along and be… united?
Let’s keep calm and carry on, shall we?
Meanwhile, here are super old school photos from the past few years and then some.
This is my home. I do believe I have the right to be here. I do believe I belong here.
Have you visited anywhere and it’s sparked off such a strong feeling in you that considered moving there? Are you an expat, when and why did your new city start to feel like home? Have you ever moved somewhere completely new on a whim? What makes somewhere feel like home? People, places, food?
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