Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Life in Bermuda

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Dear Ms. Robin's class,

I'm very excited to show you a small slice of what our life here in Bermuda looks like.  We (Sadaf, Jeff, Jordan - 9 and Mina - 7)  have been living here for about 3 and a half years now, after moving from New Jersey. 



We came here because my husband was offered a very special job working for one of the large insurance companies on the island.

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Bermuda is a small group of islands located in the north Atlantic, right off the coast of North Carolina.  It is easy to get to by plane - about two hours from JFK, Boston or Philadelphia.  We travel back and forth a lot, so we know!

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Because the island is so small (21 square miles.), families are usually limited to one car per household. But you can own as many motorcycles (or bikes, as they are called) as you want.  When tourists come to visit, they aren't allowed to rent cars, only bikes.  The roads are very narrow and windy, so people worry they will get hurt.

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Bermuda is an independent island with its own government, headed by a Premiere and a Parliament. However, it used to be owned by England (now a part of the United Kingdom) and today is considered a UK protectorate. That means, England protects the island in case someone attacked it and Bermudian citizens have a right to travel and work in the UK.

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These are the old stockades, where criminals were punished in public for crimes like stealing. Now it's just a tourist picture spot in the town of St. Georges.

Because of its British roots, Bermuda retains a lot of English customs - certain language, expressions, judicial systems, habits, and dress.

Speaking of dress, have you ever seen shorts like these?

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They are called Bermuda shorts - long shorts for boys and men, worn with long socks and dress shoes. The boys here wear them as part of their uniform to school, and grown men also wear them to work in the warm weather. Don't forget the long socks though - without them, they're just shorts.  Bermuda shorts are considered appropriate dress for all work and formal occasions.  People here wear them to weddings and to fancy restaurants too - with a blazer and tie, of course.

The Bermuda flag also incorporates the "Union Jack," which is the British flag. You can see a bit of it on this picture below.

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Golf is a popular sport on the island.  So is cricket and "football."  Back home, we call it soccer.  Cricket is such a big sport here, they have a special holiday called "Cup Match Day," where the island basically shuts down for three days, families camp out and spectators attend a three day cricket festival where rival teams from the east end of the island play those from the west end.

The holiday is properly called "Emancipation Day," which was the day slavery was outlawed on the island.  But people still call it Cup Match.  No one goes to work, and families enjoy the day together.  It's kind of like the 4th of July and Memorial Day all rolled into one.

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We usually like to be on the water then, as it is so hot in July!

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This was our backyard last July during Mina's birthday party. Having a pool is one way to beat the heat!

Christmas is a another big holiday on the island.  One of the things they like to do here is hold a boat parade at night, where sailors deck up their boats in lights and sail along the harbor in Hamilton.

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They also have another annual tradition, called the "Santa Parade" where floats go down the street and kids get candy from the performers.

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They like that a lot.

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The Gombeys usually come out to all the major events too. These are a group of dancers who perform to the beat of a drum and reflect some of the island's African and Caribbean influences.

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Speaking of holidays, Easter is another big one here. For Good Friday, people head to the beach to fly kites. They bring along hot cross buns and special fried fish cakes and meet friends and family. 

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There's something pretty special about spending a day on the beach in April, especially if you are used to snow and cold.

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We don't have any of this in Bermuda! That's Jeff plowing the driveway at Grandma's house in Pennsylvania.

I don't miss the snow. I'm more of a beach person anyway.

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So is our dog, Oscar.

We hope you enjoyed our story. Thanks for stopping by in beautiful Bermuda. As we say, "Cheers!"

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