I've been living in Bermuda since mid-March, and feel unbelievably blessed and privileged to get to experience something so extraordinary. It hasn't always been easy (despite what my Instagram depicts), and has been a massive adjustment coming from South Florida. But nevertheless, it's predominantly been an inspiring, thought-provoking, and delightful experience. Living on a teeny (20 square miles!) island has certainly made me acknowledge and appreciate certain things in America that I unintentionally took for granted. So I thought for this year's Independence Day, I'd share with you what I've learned to appreciate about The United States since moving to Bermuda. (Bermuda friends, there will be a post about what I love about Bermuda in comparison to the US coming up. I don't want you all to think I'm hating, I love this island. Every place has their pluses and minuses.)
The number one thing that living in Bermuda has made me appreciate about The United States is the size of the USA. I used to see it as a hinderance, and often wish states operated independently, as their own little countries - much like Europe. I am now undecided as far as that goes. But the biggest mental shift I've made since moving to BDA, is identifying the advantages of being from a massive country...
Cost of living. You can live, do, eat, and drink SO MUCH for relatively SO LITTLE in the US. Most of everything here in Bermuda is imported, so things like groceries are way more expensive. Cars, even old ones, are expensive. Renting is pricy due to the fact that the demand largely exceeds the supply. A gym membership (decent, no-frills type of gym) is about $200 per month. Thank heavens the beach is free.
Education. Many locals here have to leave the island to get their college education. The wealthier families send their kids to boarding schools in the North East during grade school. I'm not saying the education is bad, I honestly haven't looked deeply into it. But I have noted that trend in conversations with local Bermudians and other expats.
Traveling. As Americans, we can travel into any and every state whenever we please. Each state has its own unique flair, and most people go their whole lives without seeing all 50 because the country is just so massive, and also due to time and money constraints. But the fact we have free access to every state is amazing. I think Americans (even myself at times) forget that our own country is so worthy of traveling.
But it's not the actual size of the US that propels this, it's the amount of choices we have in America. More land, more people, more innovative and creative minds, more education, more businesses, more restaurants, more job opportunities, more everything. The fact we can choose from so many options of everything is INCREDIBLE. How blessed I was to be able to pick up and move to South Florida (for no other reason than I liked it), choose from a multitude of paths career-wise, and then successfully pursue the career of choice, eat delectable (and affordable) healthy food for lunch, go to a boutique gym with bells and whistles, and then choose from about 30 nearby places (no exaggeration) for a swanky dinner with cocktails... all while living comfortably (3 blocks from the beach), and still having enough to put aside like the responsible adult I attempt to be on occasion. Albeit unintentionally, I took this all for granted while living stateside. Obviously, I've since reflected and have found the vast variety of options in the US to be such an empowering, and invigorating thing to think about. It's truly a country where you can do anything, and how lucky I am to get to call this country home.
Happy Independence Day! And a sincere thank you to our military (and their families) who serve our country. We would be nothing without you.