The EU, a Week in Barcelona and us Brits

Waking up on Friday to not being a part of the EU anymore was kind of unbelievable. I honestly just thought us Brits would be united in keeping the peace, staying together and working on our relationships, rather than deciding we were better off out. But that little 3.8% difference in the Brits’ way of thinking means that we are, as we are geographically, an island, all alone and by ourselves.

And whatever happens in the future, it’s our own fault.

exploring barcelona

If only we hadn’t relied on each other to understand what it all meant and vote accordingly, the Bremain campaigning might have got a little more airtime. Much like it’s getting now, now that the voting is over.

– Anger over ‘Bregret’ as Leave voters say they thought UK would stay in the UK

I’m on holiday with my family in Barcelona right now, following the Brexit updates on our phones, talking each one through. It sounds like not much is going to happen immediately, apart from the fact we’ve basically just stuck our middle finger up at the rest of Europe, worsening our friendship with at least 27 other countries.

Good one Brexiters – what could possibly go wrong?

Brexit reality

Of course, the fact that the pound is sinking so the Brit’s summer holiday budget has skyrocketed is now riling those people up. The millions who’ve suddenly realised what Brexit actually means want to retract their vote, but a decision is a decision. And whoever you decide is at the top – Farage? Boris? Murdoch? Merkel? Trump? Terrorists? – has won already, making Britain not only hate other Europeans, but each other as well.

My Facebook newsfeed has been full of hate this week. The 48% accusing the 52% of racism, xenophobia, all the isms, and for basically ruining Great Britain. I’ve seen at least three fights on there between friends, and friends of friends. Civil war has unofficially broken out if the social network newsfeeds are anything to go by. I’ve seen a British-Indian friend at the end of horrible prejudice in Birmingham, an Irish friend who’s lived in London for years suffering, and have you seen this shocking collection of Brexit related abuse currently being shared?

Immigrants are people too

I miss being part of the EU already. At a very basic level just for the fact that everything in Barcelona is 10% more expensive this year than last.

My brother has been living in Barcelona for the last year loving life, with plans to stay for the foreseeable future. He has a job here, but can’t yet speak the language anything near fluently, just like those immigrants people moan about in England. Immigration works both ways. There are millions who’ve come in to Britain over the years but there are millions who’ve left to go abroad too. I feel like some people forget that.

Our attitude to the rest of Europe, which has now been confirmed, is just embarrassing to say it lightly.

I only know of one person, personally, who wanted to leave. And she’s proof that some people just shouldn’t have the power to vote. Who in their right mind would tick that box?

My last week on the inside of the EU

I’ll always remember my last week on the inside of the EU fondly. I freely crossed the border from London into Barcelona, following that EU flag line that I won’t be welcome in in the future to exit the airport.

So free! So easy! We’re all friends here!

Montjuic Swimming Pool

 

This week I’ve partied till 5am, a few times, as is the Spanish way. I’ve scoffed my weight in tapas, enjoyed the 30C Spanish sun and explored the sights of Barcelona. I’ve eaten French croissants for breakfast, homemade Greek spinach and feta pie for lunch, Spanish jamon for dinner, all topped off by wine from all over Europe with a healthy dose of the local Spanish Cava.

I partied for 12 hours straight at Sonar, with some awesome Italians we’d met that day. We were around for the San Juan Festival. Fireworks went off all day and night, and the views from the top of Montjuic Mountain were incredible. I’ve explored the Gothic Quarter, chatted with Spaniards in English, as is the British way, and just had an absolutely brilliant time.

On voting day my mum, dad, brother, his girlfriend and me were all invited to a party thrown by the artist Frank Plant. Anyone who spoke to us asked us about the referendum. I couldn’t really tell the tone in which they asked us, in the brief exchanges, but still, us Brits are branded now. We’re the European nation who think we’re better than the rest. Well, 52% of 72%, but the finer details won’t matter.

The UK wanted out.

I vote remain

Brexit and Barcelona

I don’t know, what else is there to say? The majority have spoken, and I guess they have their reasons. From what I’ve read it’s the people who want to say no to immigration that have won. But, it seems the EU can dictate the terms in which we leave, which could be ‘you must take x number of refugees every year’, thus making their prejudiced vote pointless. And jeez are they going to be angry if that happens.

Cue more internal UK fighting, both on Facebook and IRL.

Simple movement between the countries that make up the EU has been a joy, a memory that I’ll pass down. In a few years us Brits can reminisce as we stand in queues at the airport, as we pay more for our holidays and inflation and interest rates increase. Oh how we’ll laugh when we recall the promise of the extra £350 million into the NHS, or when jobs traditionally filled by Eastern Europeans remain undone, or even when we separate our ‘United’ Kingdom into England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland – making ourselves even more insignificant.

Travelling the EU

Exploring Barcelona

I’ve been to 25 of the now 27 member states of the EU – just Cyprus and Lithuania missing from the collection – and haven’t even thought twice about travelling in between them. It’s easy, everyone’s friends, we all suffered in the war, none of us want any more, we were in it together, mi casa es su casa.

Not any more.

We’re out on our own and from what I’ve read, no one really knows what that means, apart from the fact we’ve told our once 500 million+ people-strong family and support that we don’t want them or need them and we can fend for ourselves better than we could together.

I absolutely, 100% disagree.

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9 Comments

  1. by Ian on June 27, 2016  10:27 am Reply

    Sums up my feelings perfectly, Vicky. I've just returned to England after 15 months travelling and it feels like a place that's suffering from the mother-of-all hangovers. Only I'm not sure a collective alka-seltzer or a hair of the dog is going to bring much relief, unfortunately...

    • by Vicky on June 29, 2016  7:26 am Reply

      Yeah, everyone seems to finally realise what's happened and be full of regret and remorse but there's nothing they can do to change it. It's scary to imagine what's going to happen over the next few days and weeks, and can't even comprehend months. Think Barcelona is calling me...

  2. by Cathy (MummyTravels) on June 27, 2016  2:35 pm Reply

    I feel like I've woken up in the middle of a nightmare - looking at the uglier headlines, it's like I don't even recognise my country any more. Even worse is the stories about people changing their minds because they've now realised what it means - or because they never meant it in the first place. It's a bit late for that...

    • by Vicky on June 29, 2016  7:21 am Reply

      It's awful that some people have unknowingly changed our country in ways we don't yet know. We should have been more pro active to start when it came to such a huge decision. Can't actually fathom the knock on effect to the rest of the world, all we can do is watch...

  3. by Rachel on July 5, 2016  11:33 am Reply

    nail on the head there Vicky. Just to add that I think those of us who have/do travel a lot, work with and meet and socialise with other E.U. citizens find it easier to see the benefits of the E.U. Demonstrated by pretty much all of the metropolitan areas voting to remain. It sounds cheesy but travel really does broaden the mind, the more you get out there and experience how other people live you realise that everyone is just trying to get along, work, provide for themselves and their family and enjoy life.

    what happens next for the UK is anyone's guess, but it's likely to be a bumpy ride!

  4. by Stuart Forster on July 16, 2016  10:37 pm Reply

    I hope Britain comes to it's senses before triggering article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The EU has flaws but I hope Britain helps change it from within.

    • by Vicky on July 22, 2016  6:15 am Reply

      I actually can't keep up. I feel like I need to go home and study the news so I can have something near an intelligent conversation about it. From what I can tell, the end of the world is nigh.

  5. by Chadwick on May 30, 2018  10:30 am Reply

    I've just read this post (2 years on). It echoes my thoughts at the time. I remember refusing to believe the result until I heard it from the BBC.
    So here we are, 2 years later we're still no clearer about what Brexit means, except that it means the UK won't be participating in a lot of pan-European development and decision making. Today it's the 'news' that only EU countries get to participate in the future development of EU data protection (as started by the GDPR). But if we want to freely exchange personal data (eg for business or commerce) we will need to meet the EU requirements. I suspect even the most ardent Brexiteer would find it difficult to call that 'taking back control'.

    We're negotiating for the least bad settlement and then there will be a period of damage limitation, before we settle into our new role on the periphery of Europe. Perhaps we'll eventually get some one-sided trade deals with the US and China to replace the free trade we currently have with Europe. I see no sign of other nations queuing up to deal with us, nor of the US muscling its way to the front.

    I'm still angry about it.

  6. by Chadwick on May 30, 2018  10:34 am Reply

    Not only did we not come to our senses, but we actually had to fight to allow our own parliament to make a decision. And then we somehow managed to trigger A50 without even working out what the implications were, what we wanted to have instead of full EU membership, and whether it was to our benefit or not. WTAF?!

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