I Am Tired Of Being Unaccepted In This Country

NB: If you're English, I can understand that you'd read this and be mad, and ready to write terrible comments about me and probably tell me to go back to where I came from. I'm kindly asking you, as a person who is also sitting in front of a computer screen, who also has been mad, frustrated, and not perfect, to hold off. I would value your thoughts, ideas, and shared experiences, but I value them in a constructive way. I want to see English people as people again, and not as the big group that's out to get me, like it's becoming. I want to get back to where I was when I first immigrated to this country, and I can only do that if you, a person, address me, as a person.


I moved to England from Canada to be with my fiance. At first, I was excited to meet English people and integrate into this country to become the ultimate UK-Canada-Japanese trinity of awesomeness (I have lived in Japan as well). Having undergone one "mini-immigration" Japan, I figured the UK immigration would be old hat. Meaning there would be hard moments, but the good would largely outweigh the bad.

I quickly realized that A LOT OF people here saw me as an outsider, in a way I totally didn't expect and threw me off balance. I figured there would be a bond given we're both part of the Commonwealth, but god knows that was a wrong assumption to make. The exclusion, the hurtful words, the constant mockery of foreigners I hear around me....I don't know how to deal with it.

I mean, JAPAN was better when it came to accepting me. Granted, I quickly figured out that a Japanese person would never consider me to be Japanese even if I learned the language and lived there till I was eighty, but the people there were incredibly kind and thoughtful towards me. People saying racist things to me happened maybe once every 3 months, which is a frequency I could deal with. Here, it's every other day, and seemingly with every other person.

I'm starting to be very, very, wary of English people, which is not a good thing. Part of me secretly hopes the English government will have to come begging Canada for oil, or a loan, or some smart Canadian to reform the shockingly bad education system, and I can be a ****. Oh wait, that happened with the Bank of England. And how did people here justify it? "He's a servant of Her Majesty the Queen!" A man who comes from the only G8 country that kept its banks afloat during the recession, and he's STILL inferior because he's not British. If he needs to be justified, I think it's a lost cause for me.

I am wary of having children in this country, scared to pieces that they'll never see their mother as their mother but as some freak Canadian person who they wish was English and not a foreigner. Not good.

I am not talking when I'm meeting people, because I can relish the few moments of neutrality before I open my mouth and am quietly placed in the "other persons from other countries I can't understand and therefore won't bother with" pile.

Thankfully I was hired after 6 months of rejection. My English boss seems to have hired everyone in my small town who's not English, and he's lovely. The people in my department are lovely, accepting, and kind. But outside of my department...all bets are off.

I need to get back to thinking I could be friends with English people, otherwise my life will be really hard. But I don't know how. I now see English people as people who I need to be very cautious around, people who I don't trust until they've proved themselves. I don't want to be like this. I want to be like I was when I first got to England, ready to see the best in everyone and wanting to integrate myself and fall in love with a country I hoped I would one day consider as much a home as Canada. Right now I see this country as a place that doesn't deserve my love and affection. A place that deserves to be hurt, because it has hurt me so many times when I came here with nothing but readiness to be a part of it.

Does any other immigrant person understand these frustrations? How did you deal with them?
thisisadiana thisisadiana
26-30, F
2 Responses Jan 16, 2013

Thank you so much for your post. I needed to know there were English people out there who were kind. Thank you. :) (And I'm sorry about Americans thinking you were always dying to move to America, that would annoy the hell out of me)

I'd like to say things are much better for me now. I've made a good friend (originally from Ukraine) who I can share my frustrations with, and who understands the difficulties of being an immigrant. I've become friends with two girls who are English, but whose parents are from Bangladesh and India. I feel as though they can understand my feelings, as they also deal with the friction between their two cultures. I have become friends with my housemate who is English, and my English boss has offered to pay for me to take a course so I can work as a supply teacher for him. Things are better than they were.

I think I was mostly upset because my fiance's friends (who are girls) didn't make any effort with me, and they were my entire social circle when I got here. My fiance kept telling me English people just take time to get to know, but after a year of trying and them not giving a damn I was at a loss. I wrote them an email saying how I didn't know what to make of them forgetting my birthday, not caring when I was the only person left out of things, etc. I said if they wanted to be friends they needed to talk to me. They never responded. My fiance told me the problem was mine, that I'd been too emotional and feeling sharing, and that it was "too much too soon". After a year? That's not friendship to me. But I guess it works for some people, like my fiance.

I've decided to leave things as they are. There are good English people out there, who take a while (a couple of months) to warm up but who are lovely and kind. I'm glad to know I was wrong. At the same time, I'm not built as a person to wait 5 years for somebody's wall to come down before I'm let in, which seems to be the case for a lot more English people than Japanese or Canadians. I'm sad by this. I find it frustrating. I'm not an island, and I can't wait around so long for friendship or intimacy. That is me,and I don't want a friendship that would take so long to make.

My fiance and I now move in opposite social groups, but it's much better. Sorry that I'm just rambling. Just I think about this a lot. But your post meant a lot to me. I hope to find myself less angry and more open with every passing day.

Thank you again. All the best to you and yours.

Diana

Hi, I'm sorry you've had such a rough time in the UK. I'm English and I'm genuinely surprised and saddened to hear of your experience. You'll always find the odd person who will be hostile, but if everyone acts that way, I imagine life would be miserable.<br />
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My father is a foreign languages teacher and I grew up having foreign exchange students and teachers staying in our house on a regular basis. Whenever we introduced these visitors to friends and family, nobody was ever anything other than welcoming and friendly. My friends have all travelled extensively and enjoy learning about other cultures. I wonder if the older generation is less welcoming, while those in their 20s or younger embrace the multiculturalism that increasingly defines the UK. <br />
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Also it may vary place to place- for example I'd be truly shocked if you had any issues in London.I'm 25, my husband's American, and I currently live in the US in a college town. I often feel different because I can't even order a coffee without being looked at in a funny way. The initial reaction is often a bit off, but usually I'm made to feel welcome. There's also often the arrogant assumption that I must have always been desperate to move here, which irritates me. I just wanted to be with my husband, I don't mind where!<br />
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Previously, we lived in a very remote town (in the US) and felt deeply disliked by the people in the community. The problem is that once you feel unwelcome, the wall comes up and it's very hard to get beyond it. I was just an unwelcome outsider and I got tired of trying to convince those people to trust me. I grew to resent being there and sort of resent my husband, too, which was awful.<br />
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I hope you eventually find English people who are more welcoming, I believe they are out there! If not, Canada's nicer anyway :) I worked in Alberta, Saskatchewan and have hiked in New Brunswick, and everyone was really welcoming, so I'm sad to hear that Canadians don't find the same in the UK. Our loss.