Brexit! I feel scared and I can’t hear it anymore. All at the same time.
But it’s happening right now! Even though, no one still has an accurate idea about what the consequences will be exactly, when Theresa May has finally triggered article 50!
I personally would love to just turn a blind eye on the whole thing, but I can’t. Politics become personal, when they happen to affect you directly. And Brexit does. I am not only living in England, but I am also a German, an European so to speak.
Seriously, I feel scared …
I came to settle in Cornwall, England, in 2010. Being ready to throw myself into a new adventure.
I love living in a different country to mine. The thing I personally adore most about the EU, is the ability to not only travel freely, but also being able to be resident in another European country so easily. You don’t have to apply for a work permit or visa etc. You just go and do it.
When I still lived in Germany and was studying Social Work, I took part in the European funded Erasmus Programm, enabling me to study in Ireland, Cork for half a year. It was a great experience. Meeting not only Irish fellow students, but also many other exchange students, from different European countries.
I find it thrilling to get to know other cultures, meeting people from other countries. In Cork I made friends with a lovely group of Spanish people from Barcelona. They showed me how to squash tomatoes on your sandwich, as a base spread. Yammy!
Five years later I moved to London to train with the School of Physical Theatre. Of course our group of actors was international! Coming from Greece, South Africa, Spain and Germany.
That’s actually the one thing I loved most about London, being so cosmopolitan. The old victorian house in Lewisham I was renting a room in, I shared with 12 other people. Being also a mixture of many different cultures.
Ruby, from the Caribbean’s, used to invite me to eat her rum coated chicken! God, I miss her and her food, I tell you! Everyone living in the house, including Ruby, used to come to my shows. It was a great experience!
I imagine all those people with different nationalities had to leave now. London wouldn’t be London anymore. That’s for sure! I feel scared, when I look at these new developments, where people seem to see other cultures but their own as a threat, wanting to get rid of them all. So, it seems!
It’s not that I don’t understand the basic fear of inviting more violence into one’s own country, by saying yes to immigrants with a completely different set of values.
I remember when I worked as a social worker in a children’s centre, consisting of 90 % turkish male children. I never forget, when one of the dads stormed in, ignoring me completely, because I was just a woman. He went straight up to one of the other kids, telling him, if he ever touched his son again, he would hang him on a tree. I was freaked out. In that very moment I felt invaded by a culture, that seemed to devalue women, appearing violent at the same time.
Still, I believe it’s too easy, to just blame all the problems we have in our own country on immigrants, refugees and so on. Germany for example invited turkish citizens, needing their work force. They have very much become a part of our culture. Also, it’s never a good idea to generalize things. This is how prejudice is generated in the first place. Of course not all turkish people, living in Germany, behave like that dad I encountered in the children’s centre so many years ago.
Honestly, I can’t imagine a Germany without all the greek restaurants, turkish shops selling their specialities. Not to speak of all the other wonderful things different cultures have brought to our country. Awful, if they all of a sudden left!
When it comes to foreign cultures, we need to examine our fears closely. I believe the benefits to welcome other cultures into one’s own country, be it refugees or people like me, who thrive on living somewhere else, are greater than the disadvantages.
Mainly, because people from other cultures open our horizons. We learn to embrace our differences and see our common humanity within each other at the same time.
I wonder whether I will be actually be able to stay in Great Britain. When I look at how crazy politics have become lately, Theresa May, invoking article 50, Trump’s travel ban, I have the feeling that everything is possible. No one can be sure, that May won’t decide to throw all Europeans out, no matter how long they have been living in England. I feel scared…
Plenty of my friends come from other European countries and live here in England as well. My housemate Doris, being German as well, decided to eventually move back to Ireland. She simply doesn’t feel welcome here anymore. I get it!
Another German friend of mine has been married to an English man for 24 years, lived in Great Britain since over 30 years and has two kids, born in this country. Still, even she told me she fears she might have to leave.
The other day this very friend asked me, whether I had experienced hostility since Brexit. Luckily I haven’t. Everyone here in Cornwall has been always very nice and welcoming to me.
Yet, there seems to be much at stake! I feel like I am sailing into a very uncertain future.
For example, our new theatre company ‘No Ordinary Theatre’, which has been founded beginning of this year, is very international as well. We are German, Spanish, British, American. I love working with my fellow actors. I even can’t begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to our rehearsal dates. But secretely I ask myself, what happens if we have to leave eventually? There will be no more theatre company called ‘No Ordinary Theatre’ in Cornwall anymore. That’s for sure.
You might think:
‘Come on don’t be so anxious you’ll be fine!’
You’re right. I will be fine. People like me are lucky and privileged, being able to chose which country they want to live in. I didn’t have to escape a war zone, like so many others. I’m not a refugee. Lucky me!
The thing, which scares me the most though, is that diversity as such is at stake. I certainly wouldn’t want to be locked in with only Germans for the rest of my life. Neither would I want to be stuck on an Island with only English people. It just doesn’t float my boat.
You know what I love the most about artists, performers, musicians and creative minds in general? They are usually curious people. Many of us love to travel, meet other cultures and live abroad. Culture so profits from those creative minds in particular. Coming from somewhere else and infusing our society with new points of views.
Insisting on exclusivity shows not only narrow mindedness, but simply is the definition of bouring!
By the way, even though I feel scared I am proud of being a German, an European, living in a different culture to my own. It takes some guts, you know!
Okay, enough with these disturbing politics! If you’re anything like me you need an entertaining distraction from all the mayhem! Right now!
Go and read my stories and soon you’ll have a smile on your face again! I promise!
Here’s what Emily Spivak, who also designed my gorgeous new cover image said about my book:
‘The stories take the reader on a delightful journey that is creative, quirky and fun. They have been such a nice break from the news with all the crazy political stuff going on over here.’
You can get my book on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Apple iBooks and other retailers.
Keep smiling and stay curious about other cultures!