I landed in Heathrow on a BA flight from Bologna on 31 March 2016, just a few months after my 51st birthday. My English was basic to say the least. I’d had a Skype interview a month before and had landed a new job and a new life after 3 years’ unemployment in Italy. It’s ridiculous for a nurse to end up unemployed you would think, but in Italy that’s how it is; if you lose your job at 50, you can forget about it.
I lived in Sheffield alone for a year and a half. My family stayed in Italy, and every month I sent them the money they needed to live on. A year and a half of blood and tears, because it was horrible having to learn a new language after 50 years speaking only Italian, horrible not to be able to understand, horrible having to reply, horrible speaking on the phone to get the electricity contract set up and not to understand what the operator on the other end of the line was saying. I remember perfectly how I spent the night of 23 June 2016, sitting with my laptop on my knees, watching as Great Britain was making the choice to go from being one of 28 states to the miserable state of being outside the EU.
Now I realise that I’ve thrown my family, who had in the meantime joined me in the UK, into Limbo for the nth time, into a situation of fearful suspension because we don’t know what will happen after 31st January. We are literally overwhelmed by what we’re living through, a situation that the Brits really wanted and chose in 2016, carrying on until 2019 believing the lies the Tories were telling about Europe, amplified by fake news funded by Murdoch.
We have had our share of racism. Our 15 year old daughter was attacked and beaten up at school several times, I was mobbed in my workplace, and we were forced to leave Sheffield and move to a small town nearby. When I chose to live in the UK I could have imagined anything, but never this.
Brexit is bringing our ghosts to life, we are becoming slaves of our fears. We get up in the morning in the knowledge that the 31st is 10 days away, and we will be outside Europe, outside our home forever.
I’m a nurse and I write articles for a well-known professional journal online. They’ve asked me to write one about what our work will be like here after Brexit. I’m taking my time because sincerely I don’t know what to write that isn’t a lie or a fantasy fruit of my fears.
Yesterday my daughter said something important to me. She said that what with Brexit and the climate catastrophe, our generation has ruined her future, and I can’t say she’s wrong. Our worst fears after Brexit are economic disaster and as a result the lack of jobs.
I hope Guy Verhofstadt is right when he says that England will come back defeated to Europe.
In the meantime we have to keep fighting our ghosts and insecurities for who knows how long, in the hope that Nicola Sturgeon will hold a new referendum and we can hope to continue to be a European family. ©
by Flavia Burroni
First published 21st January 2020
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