Auf Wiedersehen

I’m still struggling to comprehend that today is my last day as a European Citizen (even though I no longer physically live in Europe).
 
This means that my family will no longer be able to return to Scotland to live without my husband having to go through an immigration process- a process that is still unclear. It means that I will not be able to live and work in Germany with ease, as I once might have done.
There are barriers now, that have never existed in our time together, stopping us from returning to either country.
 
But more than that, this transition away from Europe signifies for me an end to freedom, as I knew it.
It was more than just the freedom to live, and work and travel in Europe but to my the European Union signified the freedom that was fought for in 2 world wars. It was the continent coming together not just in economic and political friendship, but also culturally and socially, to understand each other better, in the hope of never repeating those tragedies.
 
It also signifies to me to growing intolerance and xenophobia that is gripping not just the UK but the continent. We are moving away from the tolerance and openness that has marked the last 30 years since the fall of communism and into a new period of hatred and fear and mistrust.
 
I didn’t cry when Scotland voted against independence in 2014 but I cried when Britain voted to leave Europe. I cried for the loss of everything I have known. I cried for the unfairness that meant that Scotland was cheated- promised they would stay in return for maintaining the Union, only to have it ripped away. I cried for fear of the future, the unknown and dark place that Europe is heading into as fractures appear.
I will probably shed a tear again tomorrow.
 
But I will raise a glass to the Union that gave me my husband, that encouraged me to learn other languages, to embrace other cultures and to see outside our tiny island. I will raise a glass in the hope that Scotland will one day return to a Union, the European Union. I will raise a glass in the hope that my daughter will be one day be able to live, work and travel freely across the continent, and celebrate her truly European roots.
 
This is not goodbye, Europe. Mearly, Auf Wiedersehen.

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