Yes, I was one of those people who watched as endless single mothers emigrated to the UK. I know they weren’t the only ones, but as a single mother myself, I couldn’t help but notice the large number of women “who looked like me” searching for a better life.
I would ask questions via social media, and some would get defensive, thinking that they were being judged, but I was sincerely enquiring because in the back of my mind I knew there was a possibility that one day that could be me.
But I loved Bermuda. Family. Friends. Bermuda Day. Christmas. Cup Match. Endless picnics. Barbecuing after work. Weekly swimming at Admiralty House and Turtle Bay. Sitting on Rosa’s porch once a month drinking margaritas ’til we were the last patrons there.
Was I willing to give it all up for dark, gloomy United Kingdom (my perception at the time)? And let’s not discuss that long plane ride (I hate flying!!).
I reached out to women and learned that they left for varied reasons, but ultimately there was one commonality: they wanted a better life for their children.
One mother particularly stood out to me. A hardworking mother of three. She shared with me that she owned a home in Bermuda but was working like crazy to keep her head above water. An opportunity presented itself and she jumped at it.
She told me how her quality of life had changed for the better once she settled in the UK and most of all she was able to spend more time with her children. I was grateful for her sharing with me since I never knew her in Bermuda and could have just told me to bugger off (I’m becoming British)!!
Her words to me: “If you ever need to know anything don’t hesitate to reach out to me.”
And I did..every and any question I could think of. But still I did nothing to mobilise my emigration. This went on for over a year.
And then this past summer, when an opportunity arose, I knew I was going to jump in with both feet (and holding my nose ‘cause I can’t dive. I’m such an embarrassment to Warwick Academy alum everywhere!).
I called her around October to tell her I was on my way.
“When are you coming,” she asked.
“In December,” I replied.
I learned days before we were due to land that the landlord pulled out. I still departed because I felt this was the devil trying to test my resolve and I was determined that nothing and no one was going to prevent me from taking this step.
On the way to hotel, arranged by a relocation agency, one thing stood out. I was farrrr away from where I wanted to be. I was told that because it was December 30 options were limited. I was due to be looking for houses and when I asked how was I expected to get closer to where I wanted to be, the response was: “Rent a car.”
In a country that I’d never been and had no clue where I was going. I was thankful that I had a relative with me if not there would have been a meltdown for sure.
One of my longtime friends hit me up to make sure I’d arrived safely. I told her where I was. She was like: “Heeeellll no. I will find you a place closer. Let the front desk know that you will be leaving in the morning. Order a taxi to get your bags ‘cause you are not staying there!”
Within hours I was in a new locale. My same friend collected me, took me to get a SIM card, had me make an appointment for my National Insurance number and started sending me houses to look at.
After week one, I was growing antsy as I wanted to get my boys in school. I could not register them until I had proof that I lived whichever parish/borough I resided in. On day nine I simply had one request of my Facebook family: pray for me. I needed Him to hear me.
I received a message from another Bermudian living out here. She said: “I sensed something is wrong. Do you mind sharing with me what’s going on.”
I simply stated: “I need a home.”
Within 48 hours I was hopping a bus to meet another Bermudian I’d never met. Her landlord had a friend who has a beautiful flat. She met me in town and took me to see the place. Three days later we were “home”.
Enter yet another Bermudian friend who, although we were friendly at home, were not considered close. We stuffed her car with everything I needed to get the house up and running. She never complained. And never asked for anything in return. She then questioned me over and over to ensure that we hadn’t missed anything.
On my first night in my new home, I sat in awe. I was here. I could not have imagined myself in this position just five short days before.
And I owed it all to the handful of Bermudian women who rallied together, without knowing each other, to help me settle my children. I will always be grateful.
And I will definitely pass it on. These STRONG, BERMUDIAN have shown me more than they could ever imagine.
To each of every one of you, I say THANK YOU. You know who you are!
Anita Wears Monday, 20 February 2017 18:03 Comment Link
A well written piece and very encouraging to know that Bermudians can make a decent living somewhere else as historically we are known to be hard working people and still are, and deserve to have someone appreciate them. Keep the articles coming as I have always enjoyed your writings. The best to you and your boys because with a work ethic like yours there is nothing that can stop you. Cheers!Report
Karla Dill Saturday, 18 February 2017 10:12 Comment Link
That's a blessing. Bermudians make me so proud. You can take the Bermudian out of the country, but you can never change the heart of a Bermudian. I live in South Carolina, USA. I ran into my Bermudian friend in the Walmart in 2008 when I first moved here from Bermuda. When she opened her mouth, she was an unmistakable Bermudian. I have known her and her husband for over 30 years. We used to go to a church called Revival Assembly in Bermuda. We see each other every now and then. She has her life here and I have mine. No matter where we are (Bermudians), we will always have that heart connection for lack of better words. I think most Bermudians get it.Report
Lucinda Archibald Friday, 17 February 2017 12:18 Comment Link
I read your amazing story just now and I wish you and your boys all the best , I would like to ask a question please I won't take up too much of your time.Report
My question is how does one inquire about living in the UK although I am a single mother my three kids are grown two have kids of their own one don't ok what I would like to know is it worth it me wanting to live somewhere else at the age of 60 years old and transferring to the UK at that age almost heading into retirement also with nothing leaving Bermuda with. Can you advice me on that please . Thank you.
Syl Hayward Friday, 17 February 2017 08:59 Comment Link
Carla, so glad to hear you've seeks in so well and are thriving. When I lived there, there were very few Bermudians,few of whom had been friends while at home but we rallied round each other in that foreign land like best buds. ..and have remained friends on returning home. Shared origins is a powerful force and we are kind, loving and loyal people although we so easily forget it at home. I'll be hitting you up when i get ready to make that move, you betchaReport
Shari-Lynn Pringle Friday, 17 February 2017 08:08 Comment Link
Well written and heartwarming. Thankful that things worked out for you as there's nothing like the stress of relocating. Continued success in this next chapter of your life. If it were easy everyone would be doing it! PS: I can't dive either!Report