From my teens onwards I knew that I was going to move away from Germany by the time I was 18. Initially I had investigated Australia, but then we realised my dad’s uncle who had moved there decades ago couldn’t be traced. So I decided on Scotland, I had pen pals there and ended up staying with one of them for the first month or so till I was able to find my feet and get a flat sharing with a couple of other people.
Soon I got a part time job. Even though it was not as well paid as my job in Germany, I had the feeling my heart was in Scotland. I began to tell people I was Scottish despite not having back then the best knowledge of English, although I picked up a Scottish accent fast. While continuing to look for a full time job, despite employers’ promises of a full time job, I somehow ended up working part time every time… At some point I had three different part-time jobs. During one of those jobs I met my present husband, and a year later we got married and began to raise our children.
As my school knowledge was basic, I ended up in low paid jobs, which once we had children meant paying more on child care than I would earn. Moreover because of having children, it became more challenging to get a job. No one ever questioned me living here. We travelled to Germany more often when the children were younger. Back then I had considered applying for citizenship, but it meant being without any form of identification for over two years as Germany at the time wouldn’t allow dual nationality. Still wishing to stay in contact with my family, I ended up not applying. As we travelled over the years to Germany to visit the family it was good to see how open the borders had become.
While we had our usual ups and downs during the decades, there hadn’t ever been any question of my staying here being an issue… That is until Brexit. Meanwhile our oldest child found love with a girl who came from the same country as me… Because of Brexit she has now more rights than me to live here, as the present Permanent Residency system in the UK doesn’t give any rights to someone like me…
So after 35 years living in Scotland, unless Scotland becomes an independent country before the end of Brexit negotiations, it appears I’ll have no right to live here anymore.
With five British children, three of them with university degrees, another about to go to uni and another still at school – one of them living in a French speaking country now – it’s crazy to think of our family being torn apart, not knowing what our rights will be, full of uncertainty. All because some people thought they are better than others.
Having been self employed for the past three years, it’s challenging to know how to move forward, not knowing what others will decide, how PR will change… living in limbo, in nowhere land… Things that hadn’t ever been an issue before are an issue now, although many people are still blissfully unaware of it.
We have our own home and I couldn’t really imagine living back in Germany after so long – in a country I left because I didn’t want to spend my life there. In a sense, however, I am now glad I kept my old nationality, as I would be ashamed to be called British considering the amount of hate displayed by those involved in Brexit.
All the ‘promises’ of “it will be fine at the end of the two years” are difficult to believe considering all the lies told to allow Brexit to happen in the first place. It all seems such a waste of energy. People putting things in place that destroy the peace created over decades. And all that for what?