When I grew up, the Canada Summer Games were in my hometown of St. John’s Newfoundland. I remember it being an exciting time… thanks in part to the simple fact we were getting a brand new pool and new baseball fields with lights!
As elementary students at St. Pius Xth girls school, we learned a song that was written for the occasion. I’d sing it… but I can’t sing… and can pretty much guarantee you won’t find it on youtube! But… if I remember correctly, it went something like this…
Watching Alan Hawco on George Stroumboulopoulos and then on Republic of Doyle the other night has me singing the song… I feel as proud as that nine year old girl! Call me what you want… Newf, Newfie, Townie… I am a Newfoundlander! (And apparently Russel Crowe is one too!!)
At ten, when I moved to Halifax… it was culture shock! I attended a school that wasn’t taught by Nuns, had both boys and girls and didn’t require uniforms. Kids talked back to teachers, prayers weren’t said in the morning and no one wrote JMJ at the top of every page in their notebook. On top of that, you weren’t to wear green on Thursdays and there were several other crazy rules I’d eventually figure out.
I was made fun of for my accent and within months, I’d changed the way I spoke just so I could fit in. I no longer said “Ant” but “Ont” when referring to my parents’ sisters, never said bottle of coke as to others it sounded like “bo’el”, dropped the word “ye”, never said the words “after” and “having” at the same time and learned the difference between “bear”, “bare” and “beer”… which still sound the same to me! Simple words weren’t the only issue. Sayings that were apparently understood only by Newfoundlanders were soon left behind…. only to be rediscovered every summer my parents took us “home” where family then teased that I was “grande” now that I lived on the “mainland”.
Newfoundland is a special place. The culture, history, colorful houses, amazing food and welcoming people are truly unique. Watching Republic of Doyle, I was reminded how wonderful my home really is.
A case of homesickness has hit me lately and I sense a trip to the island in my future. It’s always with me… but sometimes, you need to touch the land to really know you’re home. I’m on my way… soon.
Stay where you’re at… and I’ll come where you’re to.