The Rhondda where I live is a deprived area of Wales that has received millions of pounds in EU funding.
I've been going through all of the stages of grief - denial, anger, tears. I don't want to leave the EU, and I am scared about what will happen when we do.
Personally, I have enjoyed lots of European travel. My friends have studied and worked abroad. I enjoy lots of European imports, from cosmetics to cheese. In my professional life, working in health research at a university, collaboration with academics across Europe is really important. I attended a conference in Greece last month, and many of the future jobs that I could have found myself in would have had European funding. I know half a dozen people in European funded jobs, and they are now facing unemployment with the UK's exit from the EU.
This feels extremely personal, and we are feeling the impact already. In the short to medium term, the value of the pound has fallen. Those European holidays are looking a lot more expensive. Friends and family who are in the process of house buying are suddenly scared it's going to fall through or that their mortgage repayments are going to increase.
I'm of course writing this from a fairly privileged position. I am lucky to have a job and a mortgage, and while not rich by any stretch of the imagination, we are doing okay, we are not impoverished. There are so many people in poverty in the UK, particularly in Wales. I believed that voting to remain was best for them too. Wales has received a huge amount of funding from the EU, but the average person on the street has no concept of that. They haven't noticed its presence, but they are surely going to notice its absence.
One of my close friends voted out, and I had already rearranged to meet them on Friday afternoon. For a moment, I thought about cancelling. I wasn't sure I could face them. I feel so utterly heartbroken and betrayed by the decision a small majority have made for us to leave, and I wasn't sure that I could sit there and make small talk without crying into my cake. But this person is my friend. They are my friend because they are genuinely a nice person, who isn't racist, who is educated and weighed up the arguments, and acted because they thought it was for the best. Just like I did. How can I argue against that? So I went and met them, and asked if we could agree to put politics aside for the afternoon and talk about other things. We did, and I'm glad. Maybe one day we'll talk about our reasons for voting as we did, but on Friday it was too raw, we both felt too bruised. They'd already had a lot of anger directed at them. I'd already felt that I wasn't allowed to feel angry, that I was just supposed to accept it and move on immediately.
So now it's about adjusting to a new vista. There is a hell of a lot of work to be done, with some of the most pressing issues being about getting some UK legislation in place for things that were covered by the EU. Human rights, workers' rights. It's going to take years, and is a bit of a complicated process. A professor from Liverpool University explains the exit process from the EU quite well here, in a video that was put up on Facebook.
I truly hope that things work out, but right now it feels like we're walking down a cold, dark tunnel with no guarantee that there's a light at the end of it.