The little things in life can make you feel at home
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less travelled by.”
— Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken
As I was driving the South Shore Road to Southampton on Saturday, I happened upon a traffic congestion at Astwood Park and was elated to discover families with children of all ages picking pumpkins in a field.
There was something so familiar and yet so unexpected about this sight — a North American harvest activity on a semitropical island.
Suddenly, my mind flooded with happy childhood memories of donning red rubber boots and big sweaters to ride a horse-drawn, straw-covered wagon to an orchard where my family picked apples every fall.
What is it that they say? The more things change, the more they stay the same?
On Saturday, the child inside me really wanted to jump out of the car and get a pumpkin, too, and it was only the fact that I was en route to an appointment that prevented me from doing just that.
Little did I know as I bounced through the orchard on the back of that apple cart the huge journey that life would present me.
It’s a funny thing packing up your belongings and saying goodbye to a life you once knew to take up permanent residence in a foreign land.
As much as the landscape and the palm trees are obviously different, you initially assume that just everything else will be just the same, and set about acquiring things that are “familiar” to make you feel at home, only to discover that the milk does not taste the same, some people eat pumpkin pie three times a week and carrots are four times bigger than you ever dreamt possible.
This frustrates and confuses you for a while and, just when you really start to feel lost, you finally realise that it is only by giving up everything you once held dear that you can finally begin to find your way.
It is then that you begin to notice the small wonders of your adopted home — the panoramic sunrises not visible in the land you once knew, the way bluebirds judiciously choose their nesting box, telltale scratch marks on shallow water rocks made by parrotfish, the warm and friendly nature of your new-found feline friends.
They say that converts are always the most devout, and the same might be said of most of us who have chosen to — and been fortunate enough to — make Bermuda our permanent home.
The choice makes you so intensely patriotic you start doing things you would never have done in the past — you hang Cup Match flags on your balcony, read every single word of The Royal Gazette, speak to strangers in elevators, and learn to grow cedar trees from the bright-blue berries which litter the ground each fall.
When you meet someone new when you travel and they ask where you are from, it’s hard to reply “Bermuda” without sounding smug and you try not to focus on the envious looks you receive.
And, as you make your way through meetings and traffic and cold weather and noise, one thought sustains you: I’ll be home soon enough to the place I belong. Bermuda might not be the land of my birth, but it is definitely home to me.
• Robin Trimingham is an author and thought leader in the field of retirement who specialises in helping corporate groups and individuals understand and prepare for a new life beyond work. Contact her at www.olderhoodgroup.com, 538-8937 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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