Those Crazy Newfies

Newfies are a punch line. Right? They aren’t real, intelligent people. They’re just silly East Coast Canadians that talk funny and are the butt of a million different jokes.

If this is your honest opinion than I have to ask: do you actually know any “Newfies”? Have you spent time with anyone from that province? Have you *gasp* ever actually BEEN to Newfoundland? 
I did the unspeakable. I did what anyone from central or western Canada thinks of as a clear sign of insanity.
I married a Newfoundlander.
Hubby and I met online where his screen name was “Romantic Newfie” so I wasn’t exactly going into this blind. I met a wonderful, funny, intelligent, handsome man who quickly stole my heart.
And then I met his family. The first person I met from Hubby’s family was Nan P. It was the middle of the night and we were stopping in to spend the night at her house since it was in between St. John’s and Hubby’s Home Town so it meant we didn’t have to do the whole drive in one shot. We pulled into the driveway around 2am, and she was there at the door in her nightgown, her right arm holding open the door and her left arm enveloping me in a hug before I was even in the house, “Come in, my ducky!”. That image of Nan in her nightgown in the middle of the dark, summer’s night, holding the door open for us will not soon leave my mind. It pretty much summarizes what I think of as “the Newfie way”.
In case you’ve never spent any time in small-town Newfoundland, here’s how it may differ from what you know:
Newfoundland: Everyone is welcome, any time all the time. Even if you’re not we’ll pretend                you are 🙂  What’s a doorbell? Come on in!
Everywhere else: Please call ahead, my schedule might be full. If we don’t really like you then don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!
Newfoundland: Takes two hours to pick up milk and cheese because the store is 40 minutes away and because you know every person in there.
Everywhere else: Takes two minutes to pick up milk because there are three stores on every corner and you didn’t speak to a soul in there.
Newfoundland: At Christmas you must visit with all of your friends twice: once at your house and once at their house. Plans are made between a week and 20 minutes in advance.
Everywhere else: At Christmas you may or may not see all of your friends at all depending on how quickly everyone’s schedules fill up. Plans must be made by August. The year before.
Newfoundland: Strangers call you “my love”, “my darling”, “my ducky”, “my dolly” and ” ‘by”.
Everywhere else: Strangers don’t really speak to you at all, and if they call you “‘ by” it is spelled differently and means something else altogether.
I know what you’re thinking: “Okay, I get it. Newfoundlanders are friendly. Move on.”
But it’s more than that. Before ever coming here all I really knew was that Newfies were the butt of a good many jokes and certainly not the type of people you would model yourself after. After six and a half years of visiting this province I am singing a vastly different tune.
The people I have met here are kind. They are open and funny and welcoming and honest. But do you know what strikes me the most? They are proud, fiercely proud to be called a Newfoundlander. They are proud of their homes and their families and their province and their flag. (How many times have I seen an Ontario flag outside someone’s home? Um….twice?). Everything made in Newfoundland is better than anything made anywhere else. The wind is stronger, the air is fresher, the soil more fertile (and they would say the men are, too!). The winters are worse and their springs are better than anywhere in the world. I think my mother-in-law might say even a Newfoundland peanut butter sandwich is better than one made anywhere else, just because it’s made here in Newfoundland by a Newfoundlander.
Maybe that all sounds silly. Maybe. But I don’t think so. I think if we were all able to be that proud, that passionate, that caring about our own provinces and hometowns that that couldn’t be a bad thing. Could it?
Oh, and there are a few things that I now feel licensed to clarify:
First and foremost, it is NOT pronounced NewFOUNDland. It is NewfoundLAND, which, as my father-in-law would tell you, rhymes with underSTAND. Get it right, people!
Screech is a rum, not just a really loud sound. If you come here you must be “Screeched In” to become an honorary Newfie. This experience might be one of the most fun times you will ever have (just ask all our wedding guests who partook in this experience the night before our wedding!).
Finally, people from Newfoundland sometimes speak differently than you might. They have different turns of speech and I would say they have an accent (which, by the way, differs according to where in the province they’re from). It’s a dialect and they are as entitled to speak that way as you are to speak the way you do. It doesn’t make them less intelligent although often it does make them completely incomprehensible.
So anyway, that’s just my two cents. Which are better than your two cents because I’m offering them while I’m here in Newfoundland.
So long may your big jib draw!
🙂 Mel

1 Comment

  • It's been 15 years since I was in Newfoundland, and your description is just like I remember!

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