Tomas

"This is the biggest playground in Europe, it is also the busiest playground, so we need to play according to rules to make sure we all fit in."

My name is Tomas Lenko. I am originally from Slovakia. I'm thirty three and I moved to UK at twenty one. I describe myself as an alcohol fanatic: I produce alcohol and I specialise in mixing top cocktail drinks and innovative ideas.

My first impression of when I arrived here was being extremely welcomed; I don’t know if people are just extremely polite here or they really liked me. You guys are actually polite and very welcoming and you don’t judge where people are from, or at least I never had that experience.

That morning of Brexit I felt betrayed. But my opinion has since changed; I do understand what the problem was with Brexit, but I also understand that there are people who understand how this city runs. They know immigration is actually contributing to everyone, because we cannot stop this city from being metropolitan. But I would introduce one condition: how will you contribute to this country? You know, for me this is very important. Just coming here and taking advantage of the welcoming system is one thing, but you’ve got to work, you’ve got to pay your taxes and we’ll treat you well, we’ll give you opportunity. This is the biggest playground in Europe, it is also the busiest playground, so we need to play according to rules to make sure we all fit in.

I am home sick all the time. I love my parents, I love going home. I love the city and the town where I grew up. I love my childhood...but my adulthood and profession is here and so I could call myself British, in a way. Living in London, I never stopped thinking about Slovakia, but every time when I fly to Slovakia I see myself being less and less Slovak. 

And every time I fly back to UK, I feel like this is my first time flying here; it’s almost like am flying to something unknown again. It’s like making a decision again like, 'hey, I'm making the UK my primary home'. I know I love the UK; I love living here and at this point I call myself a Londoner: that would be pretty much my identity at the moment. 

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