I hope one day we will forget about the summer of 2016 and the years that followed. The time when one evergreen topic dominated our dinner parties, office chats and news headline. An issue that led to quite a few arguments in my household, and a big deal of preoccupations, from my side.
I do not see any bright side of it; the Lord seems to think that his country will be OK. Since that horrible summer day, I think I have gone for a maximum of two days without thinking, worrying, discussing and being asked about Brexit.
I get asked every time I go to a foreign country – which means often. I have a constant reminder in the office – where we have 14 nationalities amongst 100 of us, with a high percentage of Europeans. Yes, it is a hot topic, it is on top of our minds, and it is worrisome, given some news of people like us asked – even if by mistake – to leave the country.
Now I have a paper folder called Brexit in my filing system. It is not a collection of important articles, but a place where I keep all the paperwork that I am collecting so that I can get a British passport.
Interesting that I never felt the urge to part with 2K in the past ten years, not needing a passport or a visa to live, work, pay taxes in the UK. But now I do, or I better get one, just to be safe. No matter I am married to a British gentleman. No shortcuts or privileges for me. If I want to make sure my place is safe I better get a British passport and get it fast before £2,000 turns into £3,000. Because I discovered that everything around permits, certificates and paperwork costs money, time and a significant level of commitment.
You need to be pretty motivated and organised. It is the survival of the fittest in bureaucratic terms or the best admin warrior.
So far, I obtained the permanent residence card last summer. Right now I am going through the steps for the passport, which included passing a test called “life in the UK”, where you can learn about kings and queen and courts and, as last week, an English test at the Trinity College. Taking an English test, with all the severe exam set up, made me feel slightly insulted, and set me back £150. Luckily I can afford all of this, but it never pleasant parting with money for something you do not need or want. It feels like paying a parking fine, the only money I consider genuinely wasted in life.
The surprising factor is how I feel towards this. And the word is simple: unwanted, rejected and slightly exploited. Not a nice feeling.
While I was getting ready for my test, I took a quick stock at the room, at the multi-ethnic faces, all ready to become British, some of them also going to lose their original citizenship for the privilege.
And I am pretty sure that who voted for Brexit would not have liked the prospect that all these foreigners, exactly like me, my builder, my cleaner, my colleagues, to become British. Funny outcome.