Ingrid Stokholm, Denmark
I have always wanted to come to Britain. At the age of 18, in 1986, I found a voluntary job in a care home in North Wales and off I went with little more than a suitcase full of clothes and a head full of dreams. I fell in love with the Welsh mountains and the people.
Through my job I met my ex husband, he was full of charm. We moved to Denmark after I found out I was pregnant. My daughter was born in Denmark in 1991. My ex husband had trouble finding work over there so we moved back when I became pregnant with our son. My marriage ended before he was born which was the best thing at the worst time. I stayed on. It was a hard time but also I found some of the most wonderful friends anyone could ask for. I’ve never sought out other Danes, always integrated with British people and culture. I look at myself and my children as multi cultured.
My daughter went to university in Southampton and decided to stay on. My partner, son and I moved there too as there are more opportunities to find better jobs.
I can’t say I was shocked when the Leavers got their way in the Referendum. I’ve seen a change in attitudes over the last five years. Things that were kept inside before were suddenly alright to say out loud, things like “those bloody Polish people are all criminals”. Since the Referendum I’ve had some upsetting experiences. A colleague told me I shouldn’t write in foreign on my Facebook. The day article 50 was triggered another told me that we’re all stupid for thinking there is anything to worry about and, as I walked home, a van drove past playing “rule Britannia” full blast. But the most upsetting thing of all to me is how little support friends have given me. If I put a post about Brexit on Facebook, no-one reacts… Not one person has checked if I’m OK! I guess my prevailing feelings are of disappointment and mistrust. Moreover I do believe that things are going to get a lot worse.
I haven’t yet started the process to get Permanent Residency. I threw out all my bills and bank statements before I left Wales and I get a headache just thinking about the amount of places I need to contact to get the right documents! I am one of the lucky ones who should be able to get PR, so that is something. But I worry about my children. They should both be able to get British passports even though my daughter isn’t sure she wants one. I’m no longer sure of anything! But I’ve bought a mindfulness course… I’ll be damned if all the haters are going to keep me down for long!