ANETTE - ONE YEAR ON

I recently caught up with Anette again on a freezing cold January morning after meeting her for the first time in February 2017. We took a stroll around her favourite nature reserve and talked about a possible future in Germany for her and her British partner whilst searching for the elusive bittern bird in the reeds at the water's edge.

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Over a year on, and we still don’t know any more than on the day after the referendum, it’s up and down all the time. On good days I can just laugh about it and think ‘this is all so unreal, and so ridiculous’. But in some way it has got worse because the longer we face this uncertainty the more it is taking its toll on me mentally.
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I like to be in charge of my own destiny. But now I am dependent on other people’s decisions. That is why I find ‘the3million’ so important, at least they give us a voice as no one listens to us, no one talks to us. All the papers are full with stories about us: who we apparently are, and what we apparently do, but no one is talking to us and showcasing our perspective. We are side-lined and we can only watch and wait and see what other people decide is going to happen with us.
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(On British friends and neighbours) I get the feeling that for many of them the whole subject is a bit embarrassing and they don’t really like to talk about it. I hear ‘you’ll be fine’ a lot, but I’m not sure what makes them think that.

On the whole, people mainly try to ignore Brexit. I think deep inside they know that it has the potential to go horribly wrong but they want to avoid an awkward or difficult conversation. Here in the UK not so nice stuff gets brushed under the carpet quite often and people just pretend it’s not there instead of facing the problems. I am disappointed by the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest in our fate.
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Moving to Germany with my (British) partner at some point in the future is definitely still on the cards. We are both struggling with the whole situation here.

We considered going back to commuting, me living in Germany and him staying here, like we used to do for several years after we first met, but then we remember how strenuous, costly and time-consuming that was. And we don’t even know if it will still be possible in the same way after Brexit, we might need visas and all sorts of other requirements that make commuting between the UK and an EU country even more unattractive.

But I also like my life here, with my partner, our house, our garden, our cats... I don’t want to give all that up. But the time might come when there’s just no other way, either because they force us legally or because they make our lives so miserable here that we give up and pack our bags. None of us really knows what the future might bring.