I feel like screaming. I’m sitting here: upset, angry, sad, worried. My emotions are all over the place, I don’t even know exactly what I’m feeling.

I was queueing at my local corner shop, when I met one of my former work mate. We started talking: job, family, holidays… the usual bragging. An elderly lady in the queue was mumbling something to herself, that could have been mistaken for a stab at the cashier for her appearances.

The conversation was flowing well, I didn’t realised I had so much to share. We moved to the topic of children. He just had a baby, and he was telling me how much his life had changed. My husband Diego and I are very open about having adopted Ben, so I just told him about the adoption.

The old lady in the queue, talking to no one in particular, had some more to say: Immigrants don’t just steal our jobs, now they take our children too.

I froze, incapable to decide what to do next, whether to start an argument or just let it go. My friend didn’t seem to notice what the lady had just said. I stopped talking, went to pay for my shopping, and left. I hope he didn’t find my silence rude. I just panicked, and wanted to leave the situation.

On the walk back home, that phrase kept echoing in my mind. Now they take our children too.

For a split moment I felt relieved, glad that Ben is too young to understand the meaning of those words. And then the sense of relief disappeared, and I was just left with a bitter taste in my mouth, and a heavy heart.

I’ve been living in UK for over 15 years now, and it has been hard at times. Trying to have a career in a foreign country is not an easy task. You first get judged from where you are coming from, before being recognised for your merits. I can understand that. That never stopped me from advancing in my career though, and that was simply because I was good at my job.

I’m Italian, there’s no way I can change that. I’m neither proud, nor ashamed of it. Does it defined me? Well, possibly. Maybe in part it does define me, but that doesn’t stop me appreciating my life here, doesn’t stop me loving the place where I live, and doesn’t make me all that different from my next door neighbour. I’ve been here long enough. Here is home.

Every time I hear this kind of remarks (and it does happen) I think of a scene in an old movie called “A Walk In The Clouds”. In that movie a young Keanu Reeves sits at the family table of his new fiancée. A situation that would be nerve wrecking for anyone, even more so since the girl in the story is a distressed pregnant woman Reeves met just hours before, who he’s trying to help by posing as her future husband.

The father Alberto is a stereotypical Mexican man, naturally protective of his daughter and generally distrustful. He senses that something isn’t right, and keep poking the future son in law with questions. Reeves tries his best to be credible, when the father stops him and says: Just because I talk with an accent doesn’t mean I think with an accent.

Funny enough the character of Alberto is played by a very famous Italian actor!

So here you have it: I talk (and probably write) with an accent, but I don’t think with it. I’m not here to snatch any child (or job!). I never even considered people may have thought that I was stealing a person! And that was probably a mistake because what happened in the shop caught me completely unprepared.

Now I’m sitting here: upset, angry, sad, worried. What would my son think when he grows up? I’m Italian, my husband is Italian, and because Home Office refuses to recognise Ben’s British citizenship, Ben will technically be Italian as well.

I feel like I took away part of Ben’s birth right, part of his identity and personal history. It’s a dreadful feeling, and it’s here to stay.

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6 Comments

  1. Blogfox14 12th March 2016 Reply
    • Laura Boccaleone 12th March 2016 Reply
  2. Zoe Young 13th March 2016 Reply
    • Laura Boccaleone 13th March 2016 Reply
  3. Sarah Hill 17th March 2016 Reply
    • Laura Boccaleone 17th March 2016 Reply

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