These days I am fortunate to spend most of the holidays at home with my own little family. However, many a holiday that was not so, and I was ‘out on the line’, and far from home.
One such Christmas morning, I woke up on a layover in Bermuda. It was my first Christmas as an international flight attendant. I admit there are worse places to wake up than Bermuda. With it’s clear blue-green water, white sand, and homes washed in pastel colors, a tranquil feeling takes over. Soft ocean breezes and comfortable 70 degree December days.
This small island not far off the east coast was discovered in 1505 by Spaniard, Juan de Bermudez. Hence, the name Bermuda. Its colonization by the British began around 1609. Though as a whole the island is about 21 square miles, Bermuda is essentially made up of many small islands brought together by bridges, roads, and the causeway. It only takes a couple hours to get there by plane from New York.
Its distinct historic buildings stand side by side with the modern and make it such a special location. I would move there tomorrow if I could afford it. Its one place I always felt safe enough walking through narrow streets, alleys and shops alone, or stopping into a small cafe for a bowl of fish chowder.
I would bid Bermuda layovers for month’s at a time. I spent hours exploring many different parts of the island. It quickly became one of my favorite destinations. The layover hotel had its own beach and pool. There was an afternoon tea each day at 3 pm. It was just a short walk away from the Swizzle Inn, and a traditional rum Swizzle cocktail.
During Christmas time the hotel lobby was decorated beautifully. The large Christmas tree sparkled. I was surprised to see how many guests were there on a Christmas holiday and have longed to do something like this with my family ever since.
That Christmas day our airport limo driver, a friend to many a crew laying over in Bermuda, invited our small 757 crew over for a Christmas feast at his home. He picked us up from our hotel and we were welcomed by his wife and family. We enjoyed a wonderful meal she had prepared. There were many familiar foods, like turkey, and ham. We also got to try some traditional Bermudian foods such as cassava pie, a starch made from plant root, baked together with eggs, meat, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Later our friend drove us around the rest of the small island to view Christmas lights. One house stood out among all others with lights covering every square inch of the house and yard. There were flags, reindeer, snowmen, and Santa and his sleigh, all lighting up the night sky. It was quite a sight to see. And everyone on the island was driving by to see it.
Times like these meant so much when you could not be at home with your own family. I am thankful for nice people inviting strangers in for a holiday meal. Memories such as these will keep Bermuda in a special place in my heart forever.