Leaving Bermuda for good! | Raffaeu’s blog

If you search inside an English dictionary the sentence “leaving for good” you will find the following explanation: “leaving for good means leave a place permanently, with no intention to return”. This is exactly what is going to happen to me and my wife, we are leaving Bermuda for good. It has been 4 years and a half (beginning of 2008) but now it is time to move to a new adventure.

Below I decided to post a brief history of why we moved to Bermuda, what it means live in Bermuda and why we are leaving.

Why did we move to Bermuda?

In 2008 I was working in Switzerland for a private bank and I decided with my wife to challenge our life. We were 28 years old and we were sick of living in a country (Italy) where the only way to have a decent career is to “know somebody …”, in the same time we were exhausted by the “frontaliere” (Italian term used to classify an Italian worker that cross the border with another country every day and comes back home in the evening) life we were having by crossing the border of Switzerland every morning at 7 a.m. and coming back home in the evening at 8 p.m.

I found an interesting offer in Bermuda for a public re-insurance company (Nasdaq company) and I applied for the position of CTO (Chief Technology Officer). Within a few weeks our life has completely changed. I got my job and I had to leave Italy in few weeks and my wife was able to reach me only after 6 months, due to the absolutely insane restrictions that Bermuda immigration department applies to work permit holders.

If somebody asks me now, why did I move to Bermuda? I would say because I was looking for something different, something new, something more challenging. Did I find it? Absolutely yes, even if I am still looking for new challenges and new adventures, I absolutely “realized” what I was looking for when I moved to Bermuda. And to answer to the classic question: “Would you do it again?”, I would say: “Yes I would but I would change some things in a different way”.

What is good about living in Bermuda?

Well, I can’t say that the life in Bermuda was a bad experience.

  • First of all you save money, and this is probably the best thing you can do when you are married and your plan is to build a family. In Bermuda salaries are absolutely higher than any other place in the world, tax rate is almost 0% (there are taxes but they were all paid by the employer) and the criminality was very low.
  • The weather, it is absolutely nice especially from April to November/December you can easily have some spectacular sunny days and going in the office is really hard!
    In the summertime the humidity can reach insane levels and between July and September you live with the A/C on all day (humidity can reach 90%). The average temperature is 20 C in the spring, 25 C in the summer and 15 C in the winter.
    Of course you are in the Caribbean, more or less, so you can expect: Storms, Hurricanes, Heavy rain and more …
  • Meet people from all over the world. Even if Bermuda is a small island, we got the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. US, Europe, Australia, New Zeeland, you name it … This has been a fantastic experience, I made a lot of friends and even if I won’t see them anymore (maybe) I learned that the sex, the color of the skin and/or the nationality doesn’t really matter; you can find good and bad people coming from the same town.

What is bad about living in Bermuda?

Wow, do you really want me to open this Pandora Box? Seriously?

  • Bureaucracy simply too long. Bermuda is a small island, there is an average of 60,000 people and 4/5,000 expats some says 10,000. The amount of public employees, considered the size of the island, is big and every single public service has problems. It takes long to get paperwork’s and permits and as soon as there is a little issue it will just take more time. They are starting some telematics automation but it is still not enough, especially from a geek point of view.
  • Food quality is something that you have to deal with on a small island in the ocean, especially if you compare with the high price. One Apple may cost you around 1.5$,the water is very expensive, one bottle of sparkly water costs you almost 2.5$ … The meat and the fish are frozen and expensive too, because every single piece of food, or most of them must be imported by sea in the island.
  • Cultural difference, living on a small Island is different than living in a big a city and local culture and approach to socialization and communication is very different; for example, Bermuda requires a special ceremony composed by “Good morning, how are you?” that needs to be included before any request or question to a local. It is not bad but if you don’t know the local culture you may risk to be misunderstood.
  • Infrastructure difference. If you come from a big city you may find fundamental to have high speed internet, cable TV, wireless everywhere and many other services. I had 3G and DSL in Bermuda but it was very expensive and not so high speed as I would like to have. Plus with bad weather conditions you may struggle in receiving good signals.

Why Netherlands?

We have been in the Netherlands few times and visited the entire country, we love the flat landscape because is simple and well organized, Dutch are  friendly people and even if you speak only English you can easily communicate with everybody. The social system is expensive but works pretty well, so I prefer to pay more taxes but live in a system where everything works properly. The food is not too expensive and the quality is good. Traffic with the car is more complicated but if you ride a bicycle is the perfect place for you!

It is absolutely organized, consider that we found an apartment from internet, we saw it and we liked and when we moved in it was absolutely perfect. Every single paperwork has been done from internet and we received in the new location all the documents we needed.

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