A Venezuelan couple talk about their experience of life in Britain, their relationship with the English and Latin community, furthermore the changes that they have seen since Brexit was voted on 2016.
The couple, originally from Caracas, began an adventure five years ago, seeing many opportunities in the United Kingdom and listening to the stories of residents they took the risk to cross the Atlantic Ocean with London as their destination.
The couple lived through anxious moments due to their lack of language skills and difficulties in finding work.
In spite of this, they say that from the start of their stay in Britain there was never any type of racism or rejection from locals. In fact, the opposite: they have felt very supported and looked out for by the British community.
The couple remember a special moment when they moved into their first flat. “We arrived in this small, empty flat, without furniture or cooking utensils. We decided to go to a well-known furniture shop to buy what we needed for our new home and a couple of Christian pastors decided to come shopping with us. When the time came to pay for the items, the couple decided to pay for everything we had chosen in the shop, and then they took us from the shop to our flat.”
Adolfo compares the two cultures explaining that, “to us, the Latinos, we like physical and emotional gestures, we are continually asking our circle of friends if they are okay and we share many experiences together. When we arrived in London it wasn’t the same, however the British people that we have met have supported us in practical ways.”
The Venezuelan couple declared that it is lamentable that some Latinos in Britain don’t help each other and there is an opportunist attitude of taking advantage of those who have just arrived in the country, so that the couple feel more supported by English people than by the Latin community.
After renting a property for three years from some Venezuelans that they had known for a while, they were asked to leave for no apparent reason. “We always paid the rent on time and there were no complaints from the neighbours, but from one day to the next we received a message from the owner indirectly saying that he needed the flat, without any explanation.”
They still don’t know the reason, Gelsomina added, they only remember that “When the owners came to pick up things that were stored next to our flat, there was never a hello or any recognition from them. Although we had known each other for some time and we were from the same country, the relationship was very distant.”
On the other hand, the couple admit that they don’t see themselves staying long-term in the country. They think about leaving, above all for the question of how they want to bring up their children, as they have found that young people – from what they have seen with those that have been able to interact with – say that their style of life is very solitary.
Another motive for leaving is the nostalgia that they have grown to feel for their country after five years abroad.
Although they aren’t sure about their future, they have the space and time to think about their next decision.
Gelsomina has a European Passport and when her partner arrived in 2015 he applied for residency, which he obtained a year later. So Brexit, which became official on February 1st, won’t affect them, thanks to the fact that Adolfo and Gelsomina are residents and they are both working for companies.
However, the couple who have lived the before-and-after of the Brexit process, say that there was a noticeable change in the society.
“Whilst Brexit was being discussed – they affirm – you could feel a rejection of people of foreign origin. We know people who have had experience of racist commentary and of discrimination, cases that are becoming more common since Brexit has become an issue in the community. Still, we have never experienced an uncomfortable environment.”
Adolfo and Gelsomina had their first child last year and they are now expecting their second child.
Although they don’t see a future in the United Kingdom they hope that he will be born there.
(Traducido por Carol M Byrne – guerrera247@hot)