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Topic: Expat, been in england nearly twenty years  (Read 389 times)

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Expat, been in england nearly twenty years
« on: April 10, 2019, 11:16:19 AM »
Hello. I am new here, but not new to the UK. I first came here in '88, then returned for good in 2002. And I imagine I will die here. Which is not particularly comforting.

Do I feel British? No. I am forever a california beach bum. Nothing can take that away from me not even the fact I am nowhere near a beach these days. Have I lost my accent? Course not. Has Johnny Lydon lost his accent even though he's lived stateside for ages? So, when I come across people I haven't yet met here, I am always just sort of reduced down to my nationality. The same old questions time after time after time, mainly "what on earth possessed you to come here?" sigh. They never let you forget you aren't from here.

But while my accent hasn't changed, and while in my head and heart I am always a cali beach bum who still loves california punk bands, I know I've changed. My way of thinking has changed to some degree. My reactions to things have changed. The words I use have changed. I've become harder. Probably colder, too.

You sometimes feel you are serving a prison sentence. I mean, I can't afford to just fly home whenever it suits me, can I. Perhaps some of you can, and if so, good for you, but for me and for others, it's too expensive. And to a large degree, I've lost home. My dad died last summer. My mom moved out of state recently as well as she could no longer afford her rent in California. She barely contacts me anymore. She has my sisters. That can hurt. You think "hey, I'm not dead yet" but it's like you are sometimes. You can feel forgotten about. People move on with their own lives. My best friend never visited me here as she's never been abroad.

There are some good things about england. For one, football. I love it and the whole culture around it. Premiere League. And internationals. And no,  I don't support the USA when they play. I support england. What else is good? This is soft touch country.  If you've been here a while you will know what I mean. I won't give personal examples here though lol. And the benefit system, even though they are working to make it harder and harder to live on benefit, it is still here and it keeps people from being on the street. Free health care, no paperwork, no hassle. And curries. Proper curries. Indian, Thai and Chinese. Nobody knows how to do a curry stateside.

But one thing that has really troubled me, since I first arrived, is the anti-foreigner sentiment, and it's there if you open your eyes. And it's not just against Muslims. Or Polish, etc. A lot of people here, blue bloods, just don't like anything foreign. I have experienced behaviours by some people that I attribute to me not being from here, including being blanked, being shut out, being bullied a bit or made fun of, singled out, having assumptions made about me (which are wrong), and suffering anti social behaviour off a chav neighbour for the past six years, off and on, including having rubbish left at my door or put in my bins regularly, having my car messed with, having my door knocked on at 4am, having my key safe box smashed and key removed, etc.

And then, of course, the Brexit vote. The official "you're not welcome here" vote. That vote put me in bed for three days.

But I don't want to say too much here. I'm on here, yes, to post, but also if I'm able to help anyone I'd be happy to. Some of you may have only just come here and there is so much to get used to. But you will do. As humans, we can adjust to just about anything.

Dani x


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Re: Expat, been in england nearly twenty years
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2019, 11:33:26 AM »
While I don't necessarily share your same views on everything you've mentioned or have shared most of your experiences, I can definitely appreciate what you've come here to share. Hopefully your experience can help others when making a decision whether or not the move is the right choice for them.

Unfortunately, I think when it comes to others and their xenophobia, there's nowhere in the world you can escape that as much as I wish there was :(  There will always be people (regardless of the country) who will make you feel you don't belong and hopefully you don't take that too personally because it's their own issue and not yours. That type of hate isn't limited to one country or another and it doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon.

Just out of sheer curiosity, have you considered moving back to the US or are there roadblocks that would make that more difficult?

I'm sorry you're feeling the way you are even after 20 years :(
My, how time flies....

* Married in the US and applied for first spousal visa August 2013
* Moved to the UK on said visa October 2013
* FLR(M) applied for  May 2016. Biometrics requested June 2016. Approval given July 2016.
* ILR applied for January 2019 (using priority processing). Approved February 2019.
* Citizenship applied for May  2019

**CITIZENSHIP APPROVED July 4, 2019! Formal ceremony on August 28, 2019!**

HEY MOM, I'M A BRIT NOW :D


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Re: Expat, been in england nearly twenty years
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2019, 01:08:58 PM »
But one thing that has really troubled me, since I first arrived, is the anti-foreigner sentiment, and it's there if you open your eyes. And it's not just against Muslims. Or Polish, etc. A lot of people here, blue bloods, just don't like anything foreign. I have experienced behaviours by some people that I attribute to me not being from here, including being blanked, being shut out, being bullied a bit or made fun of, singled out, having assumptions made about me (which are wrong), and suffering anti social behaviour off a chav neighbour for the past six years, off and on, including having rubbish left at my door or put in my bins regularly, having my car messed with, having my door knocked on at 4am, having my key safe box smashed and key removed, etc.

I think they've had a little more time to refine their racism/classism. 
I just hope that more people will ignore the fatalism of the argument that we are beyond repair. We are not beyond repair. We are never beyond repair. - AOC


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Re: Expat, been in england nearly twenty years
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2019, 03:59:12 PM »
I've been here almost as long, and feel exactly the same in lots of ways.

I just completely ignore any negative / xenophobic stuff directed at me.  Don't acknowledge and go my merry way.

Like you, I sound like I just got off the boat and get asked 4 times a day if I am on holiday.  I always think it's fun and Always treat it as an opportunity to ask where they are from and make new friends.  It must suck a bit if you see it as defining you as an outsider.

Let's hear it for California and punk rock!  Two of my favourite things.  I went to a tiny gig recently of the Coat Hangers and they were fantastic.  It was just like the shows I used to see as a kid in Charlotte, Bad Brains, Fetchin' Bones, Ramones, Chilli Peppers, etc

Where do you live?


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Re: Expat, been in england nearly twenty years
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2019, 04:01:14 PM »
Oh, what are you on about regarding "soft touch"? Too subtle for me to get.


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Re: Expat, been in england nearly twenty years
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2019, 04:12:44 PM »
Oh, what are you on about regarding "soft touch"? Too subtle for me to get.

Was going to ask as well but didn't know if it was something obvious and I would maybe be too personal or offensive or something to ask lol

My, how time flies....

* Married in the US and applied for first spousal visa August 2013
* Moved to the UK on said visa October 2013
* FLR(M) applied for  May 2016. Biometrics requested June 2016. Approval given July 2016.
* ILR applied for January 2019 (using priority processing). Approved February 2019.
* Citizenship applied for May  2019

**CITIZENSHIP APPROVED July 4, 2019! Formal ceremony on August 28, 2019!**

HEY MOM, I'M A BRIT NOW :D


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