Apart from the obvious reactions of horror and shock, the thing that has struck me most in the aftermath of Brexit is that I’ve only met one Brit (in fact, just one person) who is even vaguely sympathetic to Brexiters.
Being pretty far away from the UK, I’m only really exposed to a certain type of person of UK origin: those who love to travel, are exposed to and at least vaguely understand the beauty of other cultures. Those who see the EU as a solidifying force, albeit one they probably don’t entirely understand.
In the past month-ish I’ve met hundreds of people who are genuinely heartbroken at the thought of what ‘we’ have chosen. The majority have talked – with varying degrees of seriousness – about reclaiming lost Irish/French/insert other EU country here heritage, or marrying into the EU, in order to continue to travel, to work, and to belong.
But that potential personal reclaiming of EU-ness doesn’t quite take away the hurt.
I have Finnish citizenship. I can easily get a Finnish passport (my UK one only has 1 free page for stamps anyway so it’s pretty much fate..). But that doesn’t take away the fact that I am a Brit.
And that every time I head back home, I now have to do so in the knowledge that over 50% of voters essentially voted against having people like my family in the UK.
I’m a born Londoner. I love the UK and it’s people, it’s all I’ve ever known as home. But I’m also about 0% British in terms of my blood.
Where does Brexit leave people like me?
When I go back to London in December it’ll be to a new country, to somewhere I’ve never been exposed to before.
All of a sudden I’ll be in a place where a majority (however small, it was still a majority) of voters chose to not want me to belong.
For a whole generation of mixed-heritage, born-elsewhere people, the UK has suddenly become somewhere they have to question our own belonging.
It strikes me as weird to be driving wedges between people – especially given the current threats facing Europen countries – rather than allowing them to find solidarity in their Britishness.
And for me? I guess it’s probably a good thing that I’m considering staying in Colombia for another year!