Bermuda thoughts

Sat, Feb 21, 2009 @ 14:57

The news of the week is that I took and passed the written test needed to obtain my driver’s license in Bermuda. Unfortunately it seems to be a busy time for the road tests because I wasn’t able to be scheduled until March 25. I guess with another month of practice, I’ll be that much more likely to pass the test when the time comes. I also bought rain pants this week seeing as how we have been having a fair bit of rainy weather. You can get quite wet on a scooter if you get caught in a downpour. Other than that, I’ve been working away. But I’ve written a bit on my thoughts of Bermuda, so far.

A lot of people, extended family members especially, would upon hearing that I was moving to Bermuda immediately assume that it was a “great thing”. When I got here, for the first week or so, colleagues would ask how long I was staying. When I responded with “an undetermined amount of time, probably over a year”, most would say “oh… how do you feel about that?” How indeed. The reaction itself I found more telling than anything. People who live here, or who have lived here know that it isn’t for everyone. There is a certain skill required to live in Bermuda.

That said, I am growing fond of my new country of residence. Initially it can be shocking. It isn’t like vacationing here. And unlike the Caribbean, it isn’t really nice for the whole year. There is definitely a winter here. The nice thing about arriving in winter though, is that things are only going to get better in terms of the weather. Today, for example, is a beautiful day.

I often try drawing parallels to the county in which I grew up. The population is roughly the same, but there is much less space here. That can make Bermuda feel a bit more crowded. Despite this smaller area, there is a wider variety of things on offer here. Part of that is to do with the wider cultural diversity of Bermuda. It is possible that if you grew up in a big city that you may not consider the diversity of Bermuda, but visit Pictou County in Nova Scotia and you will understand what I’m talking about. Restaurant-wise there is a decent variety and for the population a good quantity as well. Bermuda has four movie theatres, each with a single screen and a funny smell. None are as nice or modern as the Empire Studio 7, but I’m not sure there is enough space for something like that here. And why do you need a movie theatre when you are surrounded by beaches?

That brings me to another interesting point actually, one of scale. I was speaking with some colleagues who are Bermudian, or who have been here so long they may as well be. They all expressed a serious disinterest in driving up to a part of the island called Dockyard. It is the site of the old British Navy dockyard and is essentially the end of the island if you head west. In terms of distance, it isn’t that many kilometers away from Hamilton, which is the city (if you can call it that) where we work. But the speed limit in Bermuda is only 35 km/h, and while many people usually drive around closer to fifty, it can take a bit of time to get to Dockyard from here. But we are talking about half an hour to forty-five minutes. As a kid perhaps that can seem like a long time to sit in a car, but as a Canadian, you can very quickly get used to long car rides. Anything under two hours in my mind is a non-issue. It isn’t until you hit the four hour mark that I start to notice that yes, this a starting to take a while. That is part of my personality as well, I’m a very patient person.

But each new place has its quirks and charms. One thing I’ve noticed here is that if I go out to grab a sandwich or something for lunch, I see a lot of people sitting in their cars. Usually just the driver. Parked, not going anywhere, but sitting in their car. It is a little off-putting at first as you walk down the street and there are a half dozen people watching you from their cars along the way. Quirky. I grew up in Pictou County, but I would not want to live and work there now. Bermuda has enough to offer that I do enjoy living here. Is it my dream destination? No. But I don’t know where that is yet. I don’t know if I’ve found it. Perhaps I’m destined to wander the earth until I can objectively evaluate all of the possible places to live. I just hope that I don’t miss it along the way.