Guest Column: Three Month Hiatus

By: Krystyn Decker

I was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland and spent some of my childhood here. However, I moved to Edmonton at a somewhat young age. Young enough that I went from being a kid, to a teen, to an adult in the prairies. The problem with moving at such a young age was  I never truly had the opportunity to appreciate all that St. John’s has to offer. So here I am now, in my mid-twenties, on a three month hiatus in the most easterly province of Canada.

Key Differences 

Within my first few weeks on the Rock, I noticed quite a few differences. Differences that you wouldn’t expect to be all that different. Bathroom light switches are on the outside of the bathrooms here, which is somewhat inconvenient. My family is continuously asking me what I want for dinner, at lunchtime. I’m still having trouble getting use to the term “dinner” meaning lunch, and the term “supper” meaning dinner. Is there another word for breakfast?

Meals are very unique in the province of Newfoundland – I’ve come to learn that the province has it’s own style of cuisine. My family never asks if I want to order in Indian, or Mexican. Instead, they ask how I want my moose cooked. Personally, I don’t eat meat, but my family will wake up and eat moose sausages for breakfast, moose meat over rice for “dinner” and moose roast for “supper”. Yet somehow, the province still has an abundance of moose roaming the island.

I took advantage of finally being old enough to drive myself around St. John’s and did some sightseeing. Newfoundland has some of the most breathtaking views I’ve seen on my many travels. The capital city is surrounded by a rugged, rocky shoreline with views of an infinite ocean. If the time is right, you’ll be lucky enough to see icebergs and whales within the endless waters. Heading out to Cape Spear is a must. Known as the most easterly point in North America, the lighthouse and coastline are fun to explore. Jellybean Row houses are a unique feature to the city that you can’t find anywhere else, and taking a walk down Gower Street is the perfect photo op. 

An Abundance of Culture

A lot of cities I visit, I notice that locals don’t generally indulge in the more “touristy” areas. In St. John’s, it’s a different story. Places like Cape Spear and Signal Hill are loaded with tourists, but the locals also make time to appreciate the breathtaking views, which says a lot about the type of people here.

The main thing I discovered and adored about St. John’s was its abundance of art. The city is stogged-full of artists – from musicians, to filmmakers, to performers and more.

If you hit up downtown at night, you’ll find a lot of the pubs feature live music from local bands. There’s tons of theatres throughout the city which are constantly running productions from musicals, to improv., to stand-up comedy. Not to mention the extensive list of celebrities and artists who are originally from Newfoundland and have made it into the public’s eye.

All in all, there are quite a few differences. The culture in Newfoundland is amazing and this province holds a reputation for having the friendliest people, which is probably why it made in into Maclean’s magazine as one of the Top 10 Friendliest Cultures in the World. The food, the architecture, and the dialect are all so unique and unlike anything else I’ve come across – not to mention again the abundance of arts & culture.

I think I’ll stay a while longer.

One thought on “Guest Column: Three Month Hiatus

  1. Stephen D Redgrave
    December 2, 2017

    Seems like you’ve visited all the right places, and some great family too. However; after nine years here from Alberta as well, there is another side to Newfoundland. A side, not unlike other towns and cities across Canada that is well hidden. Lower income women and children in this province suffer oppression like nowhere I’ve seen in my six decades of travel around this country. Too many able bodied men stay at home collecting the most generous welfare cheque in Canada, while their better half works a minimum wage job, or two. Children are had in abundance for the child tax credits, but, not as wanted in reality as a child should be. Hence: the money goes places it was never intended. Well organized family scams against the NL government are commonplace, while Child Youth and family service agents (usually a distant relative) look the other way. In my first two years in Newfoundland I was outraged at the way children were used as a commodity with a transfer of guardianship to another relative for additional government income–I saw it many times in several family situations. As a tourist you are safe. Once you try and assimilate yourself into the “culture” you will see a most well defined suspicion towards everything you do and say. If you’re not “one of them” you pose a risk, and it will be obvious when you try. As long as you’re spending money in the right places, of course you’ll be greeted with open arms, but Beware…nothing is what it seems.

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