I went to bed a little worried last night. I knew the Brexit vote was in full swing, and I knew that it was going to be tight. It shouldn’t have bothered me, since I don’t actually live in the UK, but it did.
I woke up early this morning, and one of the first things I did was to look at the news on my phone. The results weren’t final, but they did seem to tend towards a Leave result. After my shower, the results still weren’t final, but the Leave vote had just hit the 50% of voters mark. Leave it is then.
What motivated the UK to vote to leave Europe, I do not know. I’ve been living in France for 25 years now, and my rare visits to the UK were business trips, where I went to get the job done, and then went back home.
So, Brexit vote. I wasn’t allowed to vote, because I had been away from the UK for such a long time, but now that the Leave vote won, I’m one of the first to feel the effects.
I’ve been living in France for 25 years now. This is my home, and I’m allowed to settle in without anyone asking any questions. After all, this is Europe. I can travel to any European destination without the need for papers, permission or anything else. I can work in any country I want, pay my taxes there, and benefit from the social security. All of that is about to change.
I’m British, living in France. Since the UK wants to leave Europe, it takes with it all of the negotiations in place. I don’t know what will happen when the UK does leave, but in theory, if everything goes with it, then I need to obtain a green card equivalent, I need to obtain a work permit, and possibly quite a few more other things. I need to check my social security status, look closer into my retirement situation, and make sure everything is up to date. I’m fairly lucky, relatively few things change for me. My sister is in France, and her situation has just become more delicate. My mother is also in France, and her situation is now critical.
Today I was in a state of shock. This country has now become foreign, or more precisely, I’ve become a foreigner in the country I love in, where I have founded a family, where I’ve spent the most important years of my life.