Friendliness, pink sand and milkshakes at the Spot Restaurant are just a few of the things Levidia Daba misses about Bermuda.
She left the island for Wellington, New Zealand, just over a year ago after her husband Musa, the former minister of St Mark’s Anglican Church, got a job at Churton Park Anglican Church.
The transition has not been easy for them or their 14-year-old daughter Jessie, according to Mrs Daba.
“We are really homesick right now,” she said.
In Wellington, a capital city with 418,500 residents, she really misses the joys of a small community.
“The different colour blues and greens of the ocean, I miss.
“My husband misses connecting with the common people of Bermuda and Jessie, my daughter, misses jumping off the cliffs from Admiralty House with her close friends. Recalling all of this makes me well up with emotion.”
However, the South African now has a souvenir to help her remember her island home of nine years — a book she wrote, The Adventures of Snap.
“It’s based on the real-life adventures of our dog Snap, which we got from a breeder in Warwick,” Mrs Daba said.
“She’s part cavalier and part Shih Tzu.”
The book, told from Snap’s point of view, follows the dog as she makes her way around the island meeting other animals and people.
Ironically, Snap had a bit of an adventure getting to New Zealand, an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.
“New Zealand is very strict when it comes to bringing in animals,” Mrs Daba said.
“The process was very complicated and stressful. Were it not for Dr Jonathan Nisbett, who is acknowledged in the book, it would not have been possible to bring Snap with us.
“So, all thanks to him for his dedication to his work.”
After a number of vaccinations, Snap flew from Bermuda to Los Angeles, California where she was quarantined for a week.
From there she flew to Auckland, where she spent another two weeks in quarantine.
She completed the final leg of her journey, an hour’s flight to the Dabas in Wellington, at the beginning of last year.
“All the vaccinations, the mountain of documents, the quarantine, the flights, the back and forth were the difficult parts which made our reunion with her in mid-January 2018 so much more sweeter,” Mrs Daba said.
She started writing Snap’s story last February as a way to remember some of their good times in Bermuda.
The Dabas married in Cape Town, Mrs Daba’s home town, in 2000.
They moved to Bermuda in 2008 after Mr Daba was hired by the Anglican Church of Bermuda to work at St John’s, St Monica’s and St Augustine’s.
He worked alongside the Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda.
In 2013 Mr Daba moved to Smith’s to minister to the congregation of St Mark’s.
Mrs Daba is hoping that her readers will be carried along by Snap’s imagination as she takes in the sites, smells and sounds of the Bermuda she came to know. The book, which was self-published, was illustrated by Sherry Mitcham.
Mrs Daba hopes the pictures might also help attract visitors to the island.
“I was very fortunate to have a very experienced illustrator who captured my imagination brilliantly,” she said.
It is the second time Bermuda has inspired Mrs Daba to become an author.
“When I was in Bermuda I wrote a cookbook, Prepare, with a whole lot of Bermudian recipes shared by some Bermudian ladies,” she said.
“Food is my passion, but I always wanted to do something for children.
“My love for my dog and Bermuda moved me to write this book for children through the eyes of my dog.”
She has never taken any classes. Her writing is purely “an outlet for [her] creativity”.
“I just have a vivid imagination,” she said. “Not that classes would not help anyone who wants to write a book. You really need loads of patience as it is quite a long process.”
Publishers in Florida, Xulon Press, “made the process as painless as possible”.
She only received copies of the book last week.
“I was very excited but I cannot wait to get it out into the bookstores and in the hands of the children to enjoy and have a good read,” she said.
“I gave the book to read to one of the little boys in my neighbourhood and this was his mom’s review: ‘A fantastic look into the life of the curious and oh-so-loved Snap’.”
A book launch on the island would be wishful thinking on her part, she admitted. However, she is working to get it sold locally.
• Look for The Adventures of Snap online at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble