After meeting Simona in November 2016, I recently caught up with her again to see how life has changed a year on from the Brexit vote. Now based in north London, we met up at her local park to talk about trees, diversity and the post-referendum hangover.

I used to read the press and worry a lot about Brexit, now that has faded quite a bit. I still follow the news but it doesn’t affect me anymore. I guess it’s because the whole process is so long and monotonous. Nothing has really changed, so there’s still a big question mark in my mind when I think about what it might mean for people like me.
I see myself here long term. Back then there was a part of me that was worried about things getting worse and feeling unwelcome, but that hasn’t happened. I have created a life for myself here, I have many friends and I am building up my career. I am not wiling to lose all that. In fact, Brexit has made me want to stay in this country even more, I am determined to keep what I have gained so far and prove that I am a viable person with a lot to offer.
My partner and I discovered this tree with some friends who live in the area. I come here often on my own as well. The tree is so reassuring, so welcoming, so positive, it makes me feel really safe and protected. It means a lot to us, it’s somewhere we can go to reflect and to ask for the things that we want in life. We actually literally asked the tree to be allowed to stay in this country, it was an instinctive thing to do. We also come to give thanks for the good things that have happened to us. We both come here often for many reasons.
British people around me are very supportive, they are against the idea of division and for the idea of union and inclusion. I think diversity is important for the sake of local communities, and there is a real need for dialogue. I have been listening more to people who are pro-Brexit to find out their reasons and exchange experiences, to try to have an understanding. Now more than ever it is essential for people to come together and keep the lines of communication open.