Multiculture, Profiles

Beatriz Angarita: “I have not been able to acquire a taste for London”

At 26 years old, she has lived half of her life outside of Colombia. With her mother she emigrated to Valencia and later on, with her partner, to London.


Beatriz Angarita

She was born in Pereira, but only spent her childhood and part of her adolescence there. This routine was interrupted when her mother told her that she thought they should leave Colombia. She was just 16 years old.

They went to Valencia because her Mother, Alba, “had a friend there who got her a job,” she says about the reason for the decision.

Beatriz Angarita herself specifies that her mother “wanted the best for me.” And it was, as this way she was able to finish her studies and live a more comfortable quality of life.

Upon completing her Bachelor’s degree, she then studied a module of Business Administration and Management and soon, she joined the working world. “I worked in a restaurant part time but decided to leave because it was not going quite right for me.”

She left in order to find out “what she could find in London”.  She packed up with the intention to try to “make more money or find something better than I had in Valencia,” explains Angarita.

She confesses that her dream was never to come to the British capital but “a friend convinced me and it was her who helped me to find work”, she commented.

Angarita arrived with her partner, Jaime Andrés, who returned to Valencia briefly before coming back to London, which she tells with a certain joy.

She claims that she was “lucky” because it was only a very short time after arriving that she began working as a waitress in a restaurant located at Elephant & Castle station. “I mainly work in the evenings and at weekends,” she says.

“This fits well with my cleaning shifts. London is very expensive and one salary is not enough to live on unless the job is well paid.”

The young girl works three hours in the morning and afterwards, she goes to the restaurant. “It’s a little hard, but necessary in order to live fairly well.”

She doesn’t care because she says “my purpose is to save and to then return to Spain as soon as possible”. She is aware that “it is a very difficult situation” but still hopes that “someday things will improve.”

Although it has nearly been a year (arriving in January 2012) she explains how she has failed to feel comfortable in the English capital. “I still have not been able to acquire a taste for London” and joked: “Of course the thing I like the most has got to be the weather”.

Just to quickly compare the British climate to that of the Mediterranean: “This Christmas I was in Valencia and the weather was splendid, it was almost 20 degrees,” she says noting that “it was almost a spring day.”

Nevertheless, she is happy because they both have jobs which she says is fundamental to the couple and is essential because, otherwise, they could not live there and save money for the future.

They live near Elephant & Castle which they describe as “lucky” because “it feels like home.”  She says this is not only because she works in a restaurant run by Colombians but also because the nearby stores sell many products of her home country.

This longing for the flavours of her homeland shows that, despite having lived most of her life in Valencia, her tastes and traditions are Colombian.

(Translated by Amanda Flanaghan – Email: aflanaghan@hotmail.com)

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