Okay. Here’s the gist of it. In a nutshell. Not to overcomplicate things too much. Just #whattheactualfuck is going on? I only step out of the country for a measly three years and – #boomashakka – the whole bloody world went and turned upside down and inside out. Just what the actual? Did I blink? I know I didn’t actually miss anything, but that doesn’t make the harsh edge of disbelief any softer.
When I left Scotland in August 2014, the country was on the cusp of voting in a referendum for its independence from the rest of the United Kingdom. My family got into our Volvo, packed to its rafters with teddies and suitcases and people with a YES sticker stuck to the rear window. Hopes and uncertainties were high, but courage was winning and we as a family, and Scotland as a country, were beginning a new journey towards unknowns.
I could never have imagined the #shitstorm I’d be moving back to. Three years on, there has been a NO vote, a Brexit vote, a Trump vote and now soon to be UK general election vote. Just what?? There is so much here that affects me directly that I find it hard to get my head around it all. So let me keep it in the realms of uncomplicated and spell it out, because, quite frankly, politics isn’t just some bollocks that affects only a few. The results of those votes have a huge potential impact on my life and of people I love. Politics, for me, is personal.
So, Scotland voted to stay within the United Kingdom. A lot of folk were worried about being able to remain in the EU (we were told quite vociferously that, if we left the UK, we’d have to leave the EU and we didn’t want that…). So stay we did. And then the rest of the UK voted a wee bit later and #abracafuckingcadabra! We’re going out of the EU! What an absolute load of #gadswombles. In out in out #shakeitallabout.
Then #DonaldJforJizzwallopTrump got elected and things just started to turn surreal. I won’t say too much about this, simply because whatever I say will be old news by the time this is posted because the torrent of controversies is spewing out at such a rate from the USofA that I’ll just let the latest headlines and #onthetoiletat5amtweets keep you informed instead.
Next up there will be a UK election in June and I get back to the motherland in July. What am I coming back to? To a new prime minister (when I left it was David, now it is Theresa). To a city in Scotland that’s been put through the #absolutebloodywringer due to the collapse in the value of oil and thousands upon thousands of job losses. To a country that seems to have turned from a hopeful, inclusive, forward thinking nation to one that is anti-immigration, rejecting refugees, better together yet better on our own, straight bananas, #350millionfortheNHSmyarse and our return home to somewhere I’m not sure I actually know.
See, that fear of foreigners? Those immigrants? Those people coming and stealing your jobs? Draining the NHS? Diluting Britannia? That’s me and my family, that is.
I am an immigrant in Paris. I am a foreigner. I don’t belong here. I talk French with a funny accent. I don’t have history here. I have to figure French life out and fail along the way. I have to live with the feeling of being #foreign. But….shhhhhh…#doIlookforeign?
Back in the UK, it’s my husband who is the foreigner. He talks English with a funny accent. He does have some history here – by way of owning property and paying high taxes for ten years. He’s had to figure British life out and fail along the way. He’s had to live with the feeling of being foreign, but….. shhhhhh …#doeshelookforeigntoo?
See the connection? Are my husband and I #okayimmigrants because of our skin colour or nationalities? Has it been okay for us to use the NHS because, when we arrive in A&E, we don’t look foreign? But what about when I struggle to explain my daughter’s injuries at the A&E department here in Paris because my French isn’t great – am I sucking the system dry because I’m so obviously a foreigner that I can’t even #speakthebloodylanguage properly? Or is all forgiven because I’m… shhhhhh …white? I don’t look like a refugee? Or a terrorist? Is that what it is?
So back to uncomplicated stuff. The Brexit vote has assured that we don’t know #whatonearth is going to happen to our wee family in these coming years. My husband’s work has told him that we should be fine in the UK until 2019. After then we’ll know if he’s allowed to stay in the UK. See, he’s a foreigner and the majority of the UKish people have said they don’t really want to have the foreigners anymore. So my little girls’ daddy might have to leave. No matter the property and taxes, he’s foreign. So right bang at the time when my eldest daughter will be starting secondary school we’ll be finding out if we can actually stay together as a family in the same country. #Nobiggiesintherethen. Get rid of those foreigners one at a time!
Oh. Hold on. Is this not what you voted for, UK? What was it that you thought would happen? #Straightbananashaverightstoo? Closing the net around the UK would keep the bad ones out and the good ones in?
#Slowhandclap and merci, Grande Bretagne.
I’ll let you know how this return goes. But for now, I can assure you that for these very personal and political reasons, I’m not looking forward to what I’m going to find. #WTAF.