The British Library

Sophie’s Story

My mum followed my dad to the uk from Paris, her home town where they had fallen in love. They spent five years in the UK, during which time myself and my brother were born. However, with my dad being an NHS worker during the Thatcher years, they were struggling to make ends meet. And so began our experience of emigrating to Saudi Arabia. We spent four years there, where mine and my brother’s schooling was American. We experienced some of the effects of one of the golf wars, seeing planes on their journeys to the battle field, the returning soldiers marching within the army hospital at which my dad worked, and my parents ready to flea when/if needed. My brother and I saw desserts and camels and wore jelly shoes in the Red Sea. We played out in the sun and saw the hanging village in the mountains, riding BMX bikes with a freedom that kids back in the UK might envy. Eventually we returned to the UK and reintegration was... difficult. My ‘strange’ ways were not seen as cultural differences as people didn’t view me as the immigrant I felt myself to be. I was ‘home’ now... right?

Years on and the UK is now my home. But it is one of several. And I now see the richness that a mixed cultural background brings to my life.

-Sophie, UK

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