A Letter to My MP

Dear Anna,

Having clicked on the link I saw on facebook entitled ‘Breentry: Reject Brexit,’ I studiously searched for my MP and sent you the generic outraged plea that had been created. I’m sure you have received many such generic emails. When I received notice from your email that I needed to include my address and contact details, I thought I would reply with a more personal expression of my feelings about Brexit. For my feelings are strong and yet more subtle than any generic statement could encapsulate.

I have to say that I have felt very upset and disappointed about the result of the referendum, as my call to ‘Breentry’ (though what a terrible word that is) would suggest. I am actually currently living in Prague, Czech Republic, having been lucky enough to take advantage of the freedom of movement for all EU citizens. I am registered in Broxtowe as an overseas voter, having lived in Nottingham for 8 years previously.

The experience of living in a different nation has been an unfailingly positive one, as I have been able to learn more about different nations and peoples, recognising differences and similarities and most certainly becoming a more patient and tolerant person. The thought that future generations might not be able to enjoy this privilege deeply saddens me.

I recently came across a letter from prominent Czechs to the UK, in the run-up to the referendum. Here is a favourite quote – “Without the British legacy of democratic institutions, entrepreneurial spirit, common sense and pragmatic approach to problem-solving, the west as we know it would be much weakened, politically and spiritually.”

I feel that the UK has so much to offer Europe. That Europe has so much to offer the UK. I have seen and lived that. I have relished the honour of being an ambassador for the UK here in Central Europe and have learned so much about what the EU means through being here in a place which was so recently riven by war and destructive ideologies. Sadly, now I feel that the UK is the place riven and divided. It is my home and I am proud to be British, but I have never felt more ashamed of my nation. The response from my friends here, both European and from further afield, is one of consternation and sympathy at the mess we are in.

I want to make a plea to you and to your party, as our leaders, to represent not just the democratic mandate you have received to vote leave, but also the equally democratic incentive to seek compromise. To seek an arrangement where freedom of movement, goods and ideas can continue with the EU, as easily as possible. Without wanting to sound cliched, I am one of the 48%. Please ensure that you represent us in your decisions as well as the 52%.

Thank you for your service as my representative.

I trust that you will take all these considerations into account.

Sincerely,

Samwise

 

Czech Please….

Do you ever feel like you want to check out of your life?

Now don’t get scared, I mean more in the checking out of a hotel sense. Sometimes, don’t you just wish for something more, something different? The hum drum just gets very, well, hum drummy. It’s all too easy to get a bit jaded with the things around us, even the people around us, even our friends and family.

I have been feeling like I wanted to take a step away from ‘normality’ ever since I seemed to experience a ‘mid-twenties crisis’ back in the fall (I know, how self-indulgent of me). I really felt a deep frustration with where I was, even as I was aware of the great people and opportunities God has given me where I am. I described my feeling to a friend as ‘I just want to go and run in a field’ (amusingly, I literally did that soon after with my accomplice), expressing a desire, I guess, to run away.

Strange how one minute I was feeling rather smug with my permanent job, supportive friends and church, considering buying a house even, then suddenly wanted to run and hide. I’m not sure if it was a case of frustration with the hum drum but I have come to enjoy a feeling that my future is in God’s hands completely – whether here or far away.

The long and short of the situation is that I have ended up ‘Czeching’ out rather literally and moving to Prague to work in an international school there. Well, I will be moving there come the summer. Have I given in to my self-indulgentness? I hope not. I trust that God was giving me a wake-up call and reminding me that the plans I make are subject to his will.

Do I still want to check out of my life? No. I hope and pray that God would keep adjusting my view on ‘my life’ and keep surprising me with the direction it could take. How glancing at an online ad became a 4 day trip to Prague (best interview ever). How that became a job offer. How I’m coming to terms with saying goodbyes.

It’s so easy to wish for something different and I hope this whole post isn’t too hypocritical. I am going somewhere different. But I’m not checking out. Not of my friendships, family, especially not of relying on God. I hope, pray, plead that this is right, God’s plan. I am optimistic.

I think I have come to see that it’s OK to explore new opportunities, that we should push doors. But that we shouldn’t leave the hotel. I don’t need a new life, new friends, new, new, new. I need to go forward with them and that’s what I pray I will do. And maybe there are things I do need to leave behind – materialism, jaded-ness with situations, frustrations. Maybe that’s a bonus.

And I think I will go and run in a field occasionally. They have them in Prague right?

Green field