Everybody Do the Expat Limbo!

The day steadfastly approaches. Article 51 is about to be ratified. To give you an idea of the significance of this debacle, here’s how it leaves my husband and I in limbo:
1) My entire right to live here and work in France and travel within the EU is based on my marriage to an EU citizen
2) Stuart’s right to live and work here is based on being a British/EU citizen too; at least he can always return to the UK (just not necessarily with me as the foreign spouse!)
3) Stuart’s state pension is protected under Britain’s EU agreements; will they now change the rules?
4) Our income is primarily pound sterling which may plummet (as it has) or rise in relation to the euro. Who knows?
5) Depending on what decisions are made and how long they take to make them, we will not only not know our rights, we won’t know our options.
“They” say it is complicated. “They” have no idea! In a world where Brexit will never happen, Trump will never be president, US Citizens with the “wrong” religion are questioned before being allowed to enter their own country, and immigrants with valid visas and no crime history are refused entry, the only certainty is that nothing man-made will ever make sense.
Am I worried? No. Not really. Why worry about what I have no control over? But it does suck quite a bit…and we’re just one example of millions.

Xenophobia: An Expat Nightmare in Any Country

Every Wednesday, I hang out with a group of mostly British ladies drinking tea and conversing about all manner of subjects at a local cafe here in the Poitou-Charentes. Today, somebody mentioned xenophobia (put that on your scrabble word list) and how it is increasing in France. Xenophobia is a dislike or prejudice toward people from other countries. Seems to be increasing everywhere! world-flag-map

From Brexit to burqini bans, dreams of building walls to extreme vetting, closing borders to policing restrooms (which okay, technically is another kind of phobia altogether), the world seems determined to hate itself and each other–because let’s be honest, hating anyone is nothing more than self-hatred turned outward.

I haven’t been on the receiving end of any blatant xenophobia, but I dread the day I do. So far, the worst behavior I’ve experienced is an insistence in speaking too rapidly “at” me and the occasional roll of the eyes and dismissal from people who clearly have more important things to do than try to communicate with someone who hasn’t mastered their language yet. Can’t say I blame them!

More often, I find myself angry at my own kind talking hate speech and glorifying that kind of ignorance. I get furious with headlines that slant and journalism that tries to tell me what to think. I hate it no matter what side it comes from. Sadly, journalism has fallen into the often-made-fun-of category of professions that nobody likes…politician, lawyer, journalist. I think even morticians rank higher these days. They’ve completely effed up, if you know what I mean, emboldening idiots everywhere to take up their idiot flags and wave them around in sane, educated people’s faces.

Xenophobia aside, now that the UK has voted to exit the EU, I wonder where I will stand when my carte de titre expires in 3 years. Will I still have a right to live here as the non-EU spouse of a UK (formerly EU) citizen? Will my husband have to apply for citizenship in France to keep his rights? Will I? It’s all a muddle of uncertainty and will be for quite some time. It makes me realize just how tenuous my rights actually are. They are all pinned on Stuart and his rights. So, if something happens to him, what happens to me? Only time will tell.

But that’s the expat life…one had better thrive on uncertainty!