Festive Scenes and Grey Skies

18 Jan

For Christmas 2011 we decided to head back home to celebrate with family and friends. We arrived back a few days before Christmas, bleary-eyed from the night flight but excited to be back in the motherland. My first thought as we headed through the glass doors and into my dad’s waiting car was grey. So much grey! Pavement, sky, motorway. As we drove away from Gatwick we passed fields of mud, devoid of colour, like a sepia photograph. Has home always been this shade of dull, I wondered, thinking back to the ripe greens and colour bursts along the roads in Bermuda.

But after a snooze I awoke to a more beautiful scene. Outside my childhood bedroom window was something we never see in Bermuda: Dark, healthy trees with jagged, naked branches. That afternoon they were bathed in a wintry, pale yellow light – light we just don’t get in Bermuda. It looked beautiful and, for the first time, I felt that Christmas really was around the corner.

Later that week we visited the West End. Walking through Covent Garden was a festive treat – smells of roasted chestnuts, Christmas music floating in the air, and lots of shiny baubles lining the market hall. After we’d bought goodies from the stalls, we ice-skated (well I got towed around the ice by my little brother-in-law) at Somerset House, on an outdoor rink bathed in blue light, surrounded by history.

We spent most of our visit making visits, swapping stories and gorging ourselves on rich food and good wine. It was tiring and hectic but wonderful. I missed the sunlight though. Each day we’d wake to a thick grey sky, the sunshine suffocated by cotton-wool clouds. For one stretch, we didn’t see any sunshine for four days – three days too many for a reptile like me! I would wake after a long sleep to a dark day, and feel groggy and lethargic because of it.

On our last day we packed away our new presents and calculated the 35% duty we’d have to pay to bring them into Bermuda. It was a lot of money unquestionably, but for us, it was a small price to pay for our now-cherished daily dose of sunshine.


5 Responses to “Festive Scenes and Grey Skies”

  1. Cathy 23 January, 2012 at 4:53 am #

    HELP! My partner Martin and I are about to join you in Bermuda…. We are really looking forward to this adventure but are scared at the same time! I have been offered a 3 year contract and Martin will be a dependant (for awhile at least – he deserves some time off!). But we need some help – we have researched and read just about everything we can on Bermuda but nowhere is there advice on which area is safe to live – all the reports in the newspapers state that crime is on the increase! Can you contact me via email with some suggested areas to live, the real cost of living, shipping our stuff or taking it on the flight with us (we don’t have a lot), any help or advice will be very much appreciated. We will also be bringing our fat ginger cat with us so if you know of anyone who has exported/imported a family pet some advice on this would also be great.
    May be once we arrive on the island we can meet up for a drink?
    Many thanks



    • suscatty 28 January, 2012 at 9:30 am #

      Hi Cathy

      I’m replying here so others can see my response too. Unfortunately for Bermuda crime has increased but this is largely within drug-related gangs who senselessly attack each other. Providing you’re streetwise (e.g. don’t walk around on your own in the early hours of the morning) I think you’ll feel quite safe. In terms of your other queries – it’s hard to give a definitive answer. Where to live depends on what you want from a home – e.g. do you want to be close to town, or by the beach, and your budget. The best thing to do is take a look at some of the real estate links in the Expat Guide section. Likewise the real cost of living depends on how you want to live! When we were looking at moving to Bermuda we came out for a few days and spent time in the supermarket and in cafes to get an idea of prices. For utilities, again it depends on the size of your home and how you are living (e.g. will you want to run the air conditioning all day) but I’ve given a guide in the Expat Guide section. Shipping your stuff really depends on how much you have – if you can manage by bringing belongings in a suitcase this may be easier, but bear in mind that furnishings are expensive and limited in choice here. I’m afraid we don’t know anyone who’s brought pets with them, but your employer may be able to advise who to contact to investigate this.

      Best of luck with the move and thanks for stopping by!

  2. Chris 12 February, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    Hi Suzanne,

    What a fantastic read your blog has been, so glad I found it. We discovered your site during my research on life and work in Bermuda as I am currently interviewing for a job over there which will be a fantastic opportunity. Your site has given me a much needed buzz after reading bermudasucks.com.

    On the above site, they suggest 115k is nigh on impossible to live on. Would you agree? My wife is joining me and hopefully should get a work visa. Therefore subject to her getting a job will be additional income.

    We really do want to come over, but we don’t want to scrimp and have a generally poor quality of life just because it is Bermuda. We would love to be able to enjoy the island, go for a drink once a week. (Not a bender like Brits seem to be famous for) and have a nice home, furnished. (Cost of shipping is nuts!!). Generally treat the weekend like a foreign holiday.

    After being there a year, would you still recommend the place to new expats?


    • suscatty 16 February, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

      Hi Chris

      Thanks for your positive words! I would take everything you read on Bermudasucks.com with a big pinch of salt – it’s there simply for people to complain so you’re always going to get biased views!

      In terms of budget – it really depends on your lifestyle. I’ve given some indications of cost of living in the Expat Guide section. My best advice is to visit the island if you can – we spent a weekend here just pricing up groceries, looking at some properties with an estate agent and really sussing out what Bermuda looked like through the eyes of a resident rather than a tourist.

      It is a tricky time for expats to get work permits so your wife may want to be prepared not to be able to work. Of course it depends on her professional background – perhaps she may want to consider contacting an employment agency before you arrive to get a better idea of her options.

      We’ve had a great time living here, but likewise know people that it hasn’t worked out for. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide!

  3. Cathy 26 February, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Hello Suzanne,

    Thanks for your reply and sorry it has taken me ages to get back to you! We have been very busy packing up our UK home, having leaving parties etc. But we have arrived in Bermuda and what a place. We feel very comfortable here, the locals we have met so far are lovely, friendly people. Hired a scooter yesterday which was an easy process and we will be taking the opportunity to ride around the Island before I start work in an office…. First food shop was a SHOCK! But then some basics will not be bought every week so I am sure it will settle down to a weekly cost that we are more comfortable with.

    Getting through customs/airport formalities was a breeze even with 7 large suitcases. Decided not to ship any stuff but to bring it with us and pay the additional luggage costs at Gatwick.

    Now just waiting for our cat to arrive – Airpets at LHR – have been great and sorted everything out for us although at a cost +-£900!

    Thanks again for your reply to my questions and thanks for such a great site. We agree with Chris – the information you have provided gives a really good insight into life in Bermuda.



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