Community Spirit

22 Dec

If there’s one thing Bermuda does well, it is promoting community spirit. It is common for people to say good morning to the whole bus as they board, and you are thought of as rude if you do not at least say hello to strangers as you pass them in the street. On the roads, people beep their car horns to say hello to others – a habit that’s hard to get used to, as you automatically presume you’ve wronged a driver when you hear the horn honking! It’s a world away from London commuters, where people stand in close proximity yet only share the air that they breathe. Of course, for a lot of Bermudians, most people aren’t strangers; the island is only 20 square miles with a population of about 60,000.

Almost immediately I was really keen to get involved with the local community and signed up to volunteer with a children’s home and a drugs education charity. My first “assignment” was helping out at a fundraising bake sale. Whilst I did feel a little bit like I was in an episode of Desperate Housewives, it actually was a lovely way to get to meet a range of different people. One visitor to our stall turned out to be Lucy from Essex, who had arrived on the island just two days before Rich and I had! Our Essex background, and love of chocolate chip cookies was all we needed to forge a friendship, and we catch up regularly to talk about all things British – from X Factor, to missing chip-shop chips!

Just last week Lucy and I went to see the Christmas pantomime in Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. The show was put on by Bermuda’s amateur dramatics society but certainly wasn’t amateur; it had clearly been created with a huge amount of energy and love as the whole spectacle was lavished with detail –  from the sets to the score written for the show. The auditorium was packed and I suspect almost all of the audience knew someone on the stage. It felt like a big family putting on a show and was a real Christmas comfort – like hugging a mug of Bailey’s hot chocolate by your Christmas tree. It was a great cure to the pangs for home I’d felt recently…

 

If there’s one thing Bermuda does well, it is promoting community spirit. It is common for people to say good morning to the whole bus as they board, and you are thought of as rude if you do not at least say hello to strangers as you pass them in the street. On the roads, people beep their horns to say hello to others – a habit that’s hard to get used to, as you automatically presume you’ve wronged a driver when you hear the horn honking! It’s a world away from London commuters, where people stand in close proximity yet only share the air that they breathe. Of course, for a lot of Bermudians, most people aren’t strangers; the island is only 20 square miles with a population of about 60,000.

I was keen to get involved with the local community and signed up to volunteer with a children’s home for children in the care of social services and a drugs education charity. My first “assignment” was helping out at a fundraising bake sale. Whilst I did feel a little bit like I was in an episode of Desperate Housewives, it actually was a lovely way to get to meet a range of different people. One visitor to our stall turned out to be Lucy from Essex, who had arrived on the island just two days before Rich and I had! Our Essex background, and love of chocolate chip cookies was all we needed to forge a friendship, and we catch up regularly to talk about all things British – from X Factor, to missing chip-shop chips!

Just last week Lucy and I went to see the Christmas pantomime in Hamilton, the main town in Bermuda. The show was put on by Bermuda’s amateur dramatics society, but certainly wasn’t amateur; it had clearly been created with a huge amount of energy and love as the whole spectacle was lavished with detail, from the sets to the score written for the show. The auditorium was packed and I suspect almost all of the audience knew someone on the stage. It felt like a big family putting on a show and was a real Christmas comfort – like hugging a mug of Bailey’s hot chocolate by your Christmas tree. It was a great cure to the recent pangs for home I’d felt recently…

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2 Responses to “Community Spirit”

  1. Danni Wilson 23 December, 2010 at 12:11 am #

    I love baileys hot chocolate. Miss you lots. Finally, landed in Hawaii 2 hrs ago : ) Am praying your mum and dad make it out tomorrow. D x

    • suscatty 23 December, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

      Thanks Danni, so glad you got there okay and can enjoy your Christmas break now! My parents are due to land in about 20 minutes so I’m very happy too!

      Have a lovely Christmas xx

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