My husband came to the UK because he was offered a bartender job at the TGI Fridays after he came third place in the European bartending final.
He came alone and went to three different restaurants to see in which one he could see himself work and live. I came to choose the schools for the kids and we followed him a year later. I was lucky as I was able to help my kids at the beginning, and I have got my GTC number, which means that my teacher’s degree was accepted and I started to work for the City Council’s Minority Group Services teaching Italian. As it was only two hours a week, I also went to a secondary school and, on a voluntary basis, I helped newcomers from all around the world settle. I was very happy, because I felt I was very useful. I felt that I could give back something to England, the country where my third child was born four years ago. I started to learn how to be a Teaching Assistant, worked as an exam invigilator and started to have more and more lessons. Now I teach in five different schools every afternoon.
The day after the Referendum I felt betrayed. Just a week before I had done my IGCSE exam in English because I had no qualification in it. I thought it would be my birthday present for myself: I got an A, so more than 80%. That day after the Referendum started with a sense of shock. My teenage kids were very confused, worried and sad. My eldest had clear plans for his future, but he was very positive saying that “if England doesn’t want me, then I will go to Scotland, ‘cos Scots voted to remain”. It was clear to me who voted to leave as they were embarrassed: they didn’t have the courage to look me in the eyes.
While invigilating, going up and down between the rows of kids who were writing their exams, I was thinking about how many of them are from the EU, how many of them know the consequences, the price of this decision, how their lives will be affected by it. Me, I am flexible, I can adapt. This is my third language, my third country: if I feel the pressure I will move. I’ve already made my escape plans, and I am sure it won’t be me who loses more. We have received our Permanent Residency status and we will apply for British citizenship – half-heartedly – for the sake of our kids. I don’t understand why England wants to lose us.