I don’t even remember which bed I woke up in. Immigrants used to all sleep in one bed and I still do, effectively. We have three beds, all shared. Sometimes we sleep with the kids, sometimes they sleep with us. Family visits and we pull out air mattresses. I like it. Wherever I sleep, it’s home.
I’m sleepy as shit cause I stayed up till 2 AM playing the immigration lotto. Not only do they make you pay thousands of pounds, they spend nothing on their own government services. A one-day service takes over a month because it takes a month to get a fingerprint appointment. In fucking Gloucester. The whole system is backed up, and you have to be up at 1 AM to book one of the rare slots.
I wake up and don’t think about it, just get some clothes on, get the kids out the door. It’s an unseasonably beautiful morning. Actual blue sky. The boy doesn’t scream at me. It’s lovely. The old man is here, 93 years old. He wakes up at 2 in the morning taking calls, on loudspeaker cause he can’t hear well. I make him tea and the one meal he eats each day, usually lunch.
This is life here, where I’m taking over the mothering role. I’m certainly not as good at it, but I do it. I have three jobs but it’s my #1 job. House husband or வீட்டுகாரன். Kids grow up faster here. They’re more independent, and society wires them to just launch at 18. We don’t want that. We don’t want to lose who we are. I don’t intend to immigrate here at all.
Immigrant just means ‘colored person daring to move across the world’. When white people move they’re called ‘expats’, and expect better treatment than the locals. I call my white friends in Colombo migrants and we all laugh. But it’s true. In the false world we live in, immigrants are still colored or Slavic, and it’s open season on caging or killing them, just as Hitler would have liked it. White supremacy was never up for debate in that war. Just who was doing it.
I think about this as I walk around the vestigial heart of White Empire, Oxford, where they trained people in culture and science to go out and rape the world. This place is a bastion of the arts, certainly, but the dark arts, twisted and abused. Just look at how many Prime Minister’s Oxford has produced. Despicable.
Actually I mainly think about the cold. You need so many layers, so perfectly layered, to be borderline comfortable here. Not too hot, not too cold, not too dry, not to wet. It’s basically impossible. I understand why people talk about the weather here. The weather sucks.
And yet the trees like it. Beautiful trees here. Where we live is away from the Harry Potter center and in the suburbs. It’s green. The air is clean. We’re near a river, near nature. England is the most brutalized rainforest in the world. Their experience of nature is all some level of gardening, it’s a simulation of nature. If you leave a bowl of sugar out here, nothing touches it. There’s something sterile and unnatural beneath the cultivated green.
After I drop my often sniveling children off at school I walk back home alone, hands tucked in my pockets, looking up at the leaves. When I first got glasses I was amazed to see all the leaves on the trees fluttering, after so long living blurry. I still get that thrill when I look up and see them twinkling. Me and the kids stop to watch the leaves fall. And then we tromp through the muddy muck they make on the sidewalk.
Then I work to make money, doing remote work from a closet. I looked at actually working class jobs but the pay and hours are terrible. Graeber wrote something about how this one group of college-educated people got to stumble into jobs with private offices and living wages, and that’s me, because I can do email. My friends who teach and heal get paid less. It’s shocking c’est la vie. I’ll take the money.
I’m a lucky migrant. Not a migrant at all, just keeping the family together while my wife studies and bouncing when we’re gone. She’s a British citizen, which the British government hates more than anything. They hate foreign spouses. All of my friends have had to spend six months apart, because that’s what His Majesty’s government wants. The funny thing is that if my wife wasn’t British I would have gotten a visa automatically. They truly do not want British people to marry out. They’re gonna really try to break that marriage up.
The marriage is good though, mashallah. The family is together. More family is coming. I found a place to get decent rice and curry leaves. We’re getting on. I can already feel the pull of disappearing into whiteness for our children, losing food, losing culture, blending in. Nothing wrong with it in general, but it ain’t for me. I’m not actually a migrant, I’m an expat. From the South, doing time in the North. You’re welcome.