What better way to mark my first Canadian Thanksgiving back on home soil, than to hang with family on ‘the Rock’ b’y? Yes, a visit to Newfoundland was long overdue and I was looking forward to rekindling my relationship with the east coast.
Rewinding for a moment, nearly fifteen years ago I got serious about my ‘half-Newf’ status and trekked east all the way from from Vancouver Island. I had fantastic memories of visiting Newfoundland as a child, and always had a heart for ‘the Rock’. So, Memorial University of Newfoundland called and off I went. The two driving factors for “studying” so far away from home were:
- Reacquainting with more distant east coast family; and
- Getting my angsty teenage self as far away from parents as possible (sorry Mom, Dad)! Freeeeeeedommmmmmm!
Without an overshare, it was a crash and burn year. I returned home two semesters later smelling of screech (don’t ask) and decked out in all pink thanks to a pesky red sock that snuck into the wash and discoloured everything I owned. I arrived back on the west coast with an abysmal transcript and some explaining to do.
The good news is that if I was an academic stock I’d be an excellent buy. I went on to finish an associate’s degree, journalism undergrad and master of science with distinction, and even taught at a university in Calgary. Trust me, nobody is as shocked as I am. The bad news is that I always regretted my behaviour that year and I think something deep inside me felt that going back to Newfoundland meant facing a dark chapter from my past.
It turns out that in returning to ‘the Rock’ so many years later, the only regret I faced was that I had been gone for so long. It was magical! Newfoundlanders embody the perfect hosts — kind, welcoming, and gut-wrenchingly hilarious. God, did I laugh!
One of the many highlights of the trip was visiting a small fishing village called Twillingate. We picked wild blueberries and marveled at the hauntingly beautiful seaside cliffs. I have absolutely no facts to back this up, but I swear this is where The Shipping News was written — it’s so remote and lends itself perfectly to quiet creativity.
In contrast to the quaint charm of Twillingate was St. John’s, the capital of the small but mighty province. I fell back in love with the bold colours, stunning views, and salty air.