Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Slice of Heaven, Part One, Unless I Never Write a Part 2

Long, long ago, before kids, before wrinkles, before serious responsibility took over our lives, Hubby and I lived a dream life.  For seven months, we were paid to live in Bermuda. I often think of those days as I dig us out of a foot of snow.

I have mentioned our Bermuda residency a couple of times in comments and such, and each time I am asked if I have ever written about the experience.  I haven't, not because I didn't love living there, but because I wouldn't even know where to start.  I've decided that it doesn't matter where, I just need to start.  I'll make it some sort of series that I throw onto the blog whenever the mood strikes.

The only thing that frustrates me is I don't have beautiful photos to show you.  We lived there an eon of years ago.  I had not even thought of a photography business then, and I certainly didn't have a good camera.  And, there was no such thing as digital cameras.  Everything was film, so I had no idea what kind of shots I was actually getting.  I will post photos, but don't expect to drool with jealousy over them.

In February 1995, Hubby was working as a computer programmer and was sent to Bermuda to write code for a bank there.  Bermuda is very protective of work permits, so I was unable to get a paying job.  After a month or so, I found a daycare and offered my services as a volunteer.  It was one of the best things I did.  I really got to see how the locals lived while working there.

It was quite a shock to the system, moving from the gigantic America, where a person could spend his entire life traveling the country and never have to visit the same place twice, to a country that is only one mile wide and 25 miles long.  For seven months, I loved it.  I don't think I could have lived there much longer, though.  I started to feel a tad bit trapped.

Remember, ONE mile wide.  One.  My current driveway is almost half a mile long. 

Because of the size of the island, travel is also quite different from home.  Only full-time residents are allowed to own a car, an itty-bitty little car, and each household was limited to one.  Everyone else had to ride scooters.  Not motorcycles.  Scooters.

This is our actual scooter, but not actually me.  We flew Hubby's mom out for Mother's Day, and he was trying to get her comfortable with the scooter before we headed out onto real roads.

The speed limit for the entire island was 25kph.  (That's kilometers for my American friends.  We also bought litres of gas and drove on the left side of the road.)  No freeways on this little island.

Hubby and I had one scooter.  I would drive him to work in the morning, go do whatever I was doing that day, then pick him up in the afternoon.  (Not night.  Those Bermudians are a laid-back lot, and he never, ever worked past 4:30.  Frequently, everyone cut out at 3:30 and hit the bar below the offices for a beer or two.)

Hubby's desk was actually butted-up against that top middle window.  When he looked up, he looked directly outside.  He and his coworkers would be found under one of those green umbrellas at least two afternoons a week.

See the cars?  That's as big as they got.

Right behind the (pathetic) photographer is the dock where the cruise ships docked.  Hubby always had a good time watching all of the tourists disembark.  Watching them all rent and ride scooters for the first time in their lives was beyond comical.

And while we're talking Hubby's job, we'll discuss business attire in Bermuda.  I'm sure most of you know what I mean when I say "Bermuda shorts".  They are tailored shorts that fall just above the knee.  In Bermuda, that is what men wear to work.  And they don't go with boring colors of brown or black.  Grown, rich, businessmen wear pastel pink, blue, green, and yellow shorts.  While the look of these men heading to work in colorful shorts took us back a bit, what really made us smile was what these men wore with there shorts. 

Everyone wears knee-high socks the same color as his Bermuda shorts. 

Yup, pastel pink shorts with pastel pink socks.

With a white shirt, suit jacket, tie, and dress shoes.

Hubby didn't jump right on that bandwagon.  He wore his usual suits for at least three weeks.  But the teasing and peer pressure finally got to him, and he caved.


He couldn't bring himself to wear the pastel, but he did wear the shorts.

And sweet mama, he wore knee-high socks.

Good look, no?

This photo was taken inside our little studio apartment.  There aren't high-rise complexes.  Instead, many of the full-time residents have apartments attached to their houses to generate some extra income.  See that sliding-door behind Hubby?  It leads out to a patio, which, if you took the 5 steps down to the other patio, you could jump into the ocean. 

See the window next to Hubby?  You can see the ocean beyond the bushes.  Cruise ships go past that window before heading around the bend to dock in Hamilton (the capitol) in front of Hubby's office.

The red dot is Hamilton, approximately.  The pink dot is where we lived, approximately.  Can you see the dark line in the green circle?  The darker the blue, the deeper the water.  That line is a channel that was dug specifically for ships, including cruise ships, to get to Hamilton.

We'll end today's installment with one of my favorite Bermuda traditions.  Our time there included the days of Lent and Easter.   On Good Friday, every business on the island closed its doors, and just about every person on the island went to the beaches.  They weren't there to swim, but to fly kites. 

The story goes, a teacher was trying to explain Jesus' Ascension to his students.  To demonstrate, he took them to the beach and flew a kite.  It caught on, and has become a purely Bermudian festival.

While common kites that we Americans are used to are flown, the sky is predominantly filled with specific kites the Bermudians make.  Tissue paper is a popular material, and they are normally hexagonal in shape.  There is a small "bunch" in the center that creates a humming sound when in the air.

We spent hours sitting on a cliff (that one in the photo below, actually), watching and listening to the gorgeous kites back dropped by the beautiful blue sea and sky.  Every Good Friday since, I have thought of the Bermudians and their fantastic tradition and wished I could be there experiencing it with them. 


Have a lovely day!


  1. Wow that all sounds gorgeous. Can't wait to hear the next installment at some point

    1. Gorgeous doesn't even come close. I wish I could put words together like you do in order to do it justice.

  2. I just spent the last few minutes asking my husband, "Did you know that in Bermuda. . .?" Thanks for this post; I learned so much. What a great opportunity you had!

    1. It was an amazing opportunity I am forever grateful to have been given. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. I was in Bermuda in 1967. It was my first overwater flight in USMC Navigation School. I still have a coaster (somewhere around here) from the bar where the ships dock. It's name has something to do with a hog.

    1. The Hog Penny. It was one of our favorite pubs.

  4. I really enjoyed reading that- and fantastic picture of your husband! It must be really interesting having almost "another life" that you lived there together years ago- what amazing memories!

    1. We celebrated our first anniversary there, almost like we had a year-long honeymoon. I will always be grateful for the experience we were given.
      Glad you liked it! Now that I've started, the memories are flying. I'm going to have to write more.


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