A decade in the UK: post-#EUref expat thoughts


I’ve been living in the UK for a third of my life, during the psychosocial development years where one forms and raises opinions on how intimate he becomes with himself, his peers/colleagues, and his lovers. The existential question in this stage of life is whether one is capable of loving, and living in this country has definitely helped me answer that.

My ethnicity is a product of colonial Asia and though I’m very proud to be Filipino, the UK has been my home for a decade. This is where I saw myself transform from spoilt little child to independent young lady.


This is the country which gave me a global perspective and I owe this, perhaps mostly, to the friends I’ve met from this country and continental Europe. Through them, I’ve embraced the world beyond borders from visas to languages, passports, gender and colour.

After years of visa renewals I am now a permanent resident and, actually, eligible for naturalisation. However, I still have a Filipino passport, so even if I wanted to, I couldn’t have voted last week. My heart and my mind was all for staying in the EU, because I genuinely believe we are better in alliance than when we stand alone - and that goes beyond an economic and defence standpoint.

I can’t tell you how glum I felt when I woke up post-elections and saw the results. Partly as it puts us in the shits politically and economically (although this can be rectified in the long run if the government and banks play their cards right and find best route to market); and partly due to the xenophobic uprising that unraveled. I’ve never felt so unsafe and so vulnerable.

“Why the f*ck do you f*cking care? You’re an alien in this country. Go home.”
- said a random man on Old Compton Street

In 10 years, I have paid my taxes and contributed to the economy; learned history beyond Hadrian’s Wall, doctrines from parliamentary supremacy to celebrity injunctions; given back to charity; and embraced the culture wholeheartedly. I will always hear the fervour cries of true patriots, and perhaps one day I’d believe and see their reasons. But as fundamental principles of British law and natural justice go, I can only hope they’d grasp the humanity of ours, too. Britain won’t be the Britain it is today without immigrants.

Anyway. The bigger picture is still unclear but whilst it’s all hazey let’s all try to get along and be… united?

Let’s keep calm and carry on, shall we?

Meanwhile, here are super old school photos from the past few years and then some.

This is my home. I do believe I have the right to be here. I do believe I belong here.

Have you visited anywhere and it’s sparked off such a strong feeling in you that considered moving there? Are you an expat, when and why did your new city start to feel like home? Have you ever moved somewhere completely new on a whim? What makes somewhere feel like home? People, places, food?

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  1. 2nd July 2016 / 5:42 pm

    You are NOT an alien and I am very happy you are here. Such a lovely post. We need to catch up soon! xx

    • Honey de Gracia
      2nd July 2016 / 7:50 pm

      Thank you, Vicky! I was quite taken aback by that random comment, considering he just pretty much tatted in on a convo I was having with my mate. Yes please! I’ll be more available from the week after next! =)

  2. Suze - Luxury Columnist
    2nd July 2016 / 10:19 pm

    You’re very welcome here, Honey and how rude of that man. Love your retro photos by the way

    • Honey de Gracia
      2nd July 2016 / 10:34 pm

      Thanks you so much Suze! I really didn’t want to post these but it’s so hilarious finding old school photos - what a journey it’s been!

  3. 3rd July 2016 / 10:20 am

    I’m so grateful that you’re here. This is your home and you belong. Without you, I wouldn’t have learnt some of the lessons I have, without you I wouldn’t feel loved no matter what, without you I wouldn’t understand what a true friendship is, regardless for contact time.

    Love you girl.

    Fresh And Fearless

    • Honey de Gracia
      3rd July 2016 / 10:55 am

      Awww and thank you so much for being a breath of fresh air, darling. x

  4. 3rd July 2016 / 10:42 am

    Lovely post! I have both a UK passport and a New Zealand one and am so grateful I can have both and didn’t have to lose one to get the other.

    • Honey de Gracia
      3rd July 2016 / 10:54 am

      Thanks Sarah! I can apply for dual citizenship as well but I just need to do some more life admin before I get to that point. 🙂

    • Honey de Gracia
      3rd July 2016 / 8:11 pm

      Thank you Tanja! =) It is, isn’t it? But I’m not giving up… we’ll pull through! x

  5. 3rd July 2016 / 7:01 pm

    What a moving post and I hope you know that you’re welcome here 🙂

    • Honey de Gracia
      3rd July 2016 / 8:12 pm

      Thanks Angie! Having friends like you definitely make me feel at home. x

  6. 3rd July 2016 / 7:19 pm

    I totally know how you feel, it is such a shame at the result, I really hope people can remain feeling at home here when they are totally welcome!

    • Honey de Gracia
      3rd July 2016 / 8:16 pm

      The government just really need to make things clearer. I feel like every step they subject people to these days are so pushed and not explained as clear as possible.

  7. 4th July 2016 / 2:16 am

    Such a sad result. The thing that I am proudest about in London is how multicultural and tolerant it is, and that has all been called into question of late as I feel so ashamed about it all. You are welcome, and so is every other immigrant. Without immigrants I would have none of the friends I have and London would be a pretty dull place. We will pull through 🙂

    • Honey de Gracia
      4th July 2016 / 6:29 pm

      What a lovely comment - thank you Marcella! It is a small world, we can’t all be distant! x

  8. 4th July 2016 / 5:06 pm

    Great post and I am with you that it is a bad bad decision. I really don’t know what will be in store for me given that I am not able to get a UK passport without giving up my Dutch one. Something I would never do. If the UK doesn’t want to stay in the UK, I will.

    • Honey de Gracia
      4th July 2016 / 6:29 pm

      Hahaha I love that line - If the UK doesn’t want to stay in the EU, I will! I don’t think anything drastic is going to happen for most of us here, at least those who have permanent residency. It’s just a bit up in the air for EU citizens because you guys technically didn’t have to have a card saying that. Fingers crossed it’ll work out, Jaklien!

  9. 7th July 2016 / 12:15 pm

    Hello my colonial South East Asia sister from another mister! I relate with you on this post on so many levels. I’m so sorry to hear that already you’ve had to deal with xenophobic idiots - it’s the opposite of what we come to expect from London, it being so diverse and multicultural. Damn right we both have every right to be here, after all the emotion, time, and then some that we’ve invested in this country. x

    Posh, Broke, & Bored

    • Honey de Gracia
      7th July 2016 / 7:18 pm

      ASEAN 4evs! Hahaha x Congrats on the naturalisation darling! I’ve gotta start applying for mine, but I’m not in a hurry yet. Catch up soon please x

  10. Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad
    8th July 2016 / 9:36 am

    I’m so sorry that man was so rude, how inexcusable! Of course you’re welcome here, we are a nation formed of immigrants as far back as you want to look so it’s pretty ridiculous for people to start objecting to it now. The whole Brexit debacle has really upset me, it seems like the whole country has collectively lost its mind. I hope we find it again asap.

    • Honey de Gracia
      9th July 2016 / 11:08 am

      Thank you Rachel! It’s gone to shambles even after, hasn’t it? People not wanting to get blamed for things and lies they’ve made us put up with. I do hope we pick up the pieces soon! x

  11. 15th July 2016 / 7:20 am

    Lovely photographs. I agree that the feeling of uncertainty is the worst… I hope Britain regathers and remembers that one of the best things about it is acceptance! Thanks for linking up 🙂

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