1. You rarely refer to yourself as Canadian.
Your first inclination is to say you’re from Newfoundland, even if no one knows what you’re talking about. Yes, we’re Canadian, but we’re not that Canadian. We have a different culture and don’t fit the regular Canadian stereotypes.
2. You’ve gotten drunk in a shed.
Not much to say about this one. Maybe it isn’t exactly a point of pride, but it’s true.
3. You identify with townies or baymen.
Townies are from town, the capital city, St. John’s. Baymen are pretty much everyone else.
As a bayman, you’re taught that townies are lazy. As a townie, you see baymen as backward. Either way, it’s all a bit of a laugh. Even if you’ve lived in St. John’s for 10 years, you’ll always be a bayman.
4. Sometimes, “skeet” is just the best descriptive word you can find.
Skeets are everywhere, but they’re hard to describe to people not from Newfoundland. They’re kind of like rednecks, but with their own special spin. Newfoundlanders know skeets when they see (or hear) them.
“Skeet” can describe the way a person dresses, talks, acts — pretty much any manner of things. We might not know how to define such an all-encompassing word, but we all can agree on who is or isn’t a skeet, and their level of skeety-ness.
5. You get defensive and prideful around other Canadians.
The first day I arrived in Korea, I met a girl from Vancouver who referred to Newfoundland as “the butt of Canada’s joke.” You might have certain ideas about us, and we have conflicting feelings about how to respond. We want to prove all the negative stereotypes wrong while also maintaining our unique spirit and culture.
We’ll bring up home more often than other Canadians, because we feel it makes us special. What’s the harm in that?
6. Weather is not just small talk.
And not just to the elderly. St. John’s has the toughest climate of any city in Canada, according to the climate index. Nice days are so rare that they feel like a special gift.
7. You get a bit confused when someone mentions the west coast.
We’re on an island, remember, so it’s best to specify whether you mean western Newfoundland or western Canada. Western Canada is pretty much half a world away to us — Western Europe is a shorter flight.
8. You don’t get excited about icebergs.
This might be more of a controversial topic than it seems — I truly do appreciate the magnitude that is giant blocks of ice floating down from the Arctic. But I’ve seen so many over the years, and it’s been pretty much the same experience every time: They bob up and down in the water.
9. It’s officially called “Newfoundland and Labrador,” but you never say that unless you’re actually from Labrador.
Like most Newfoundlanders I know, I’ve never even been to Labrador. Not that I have anything against the place — Labrador is home to the Torngat Mountains, arctic tundra, and polar bears. But after a cold, wet winter on the North Atlantic, going further north just isn’t appealing to most Newfoundlanders.
10. You know the deliciousness that is chip wagons on George Street at 3am.
Whether you side with Ziggy’s or Winkies (I am, of course, a Ziggy’s person), you know the perfect end to a night is to eat french fries on the street while trying to catch a cab.
The bars close at 3, so if you leave just 10 or 15 minutes early you can avoid the long lines. This is assuming you have the willpower to drag yourself from the pubs before closing.
11. You’ve made jiggs dinner.
It’s not everyone’s favorite Sunday meal, but it speaks to Newfoundland’s soul — meat and potatoes, steamed cabbage, turnip, carrots, and homemade dressing and gravy. It’s almost a rite of passage for young people to cook Sunday dinner in a new home.
12. Your heart swells when someone mentions home.
You know we’ve got something special, so when others recognize it, you can’t help but feel the pride. Newfoundland is an amazing and underrated place. There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor appreciation and adventure, drinking at pubs or partying at nightclubs, and visiting museums, art galleries, boutique shops, and highly rated restaurants.
Maybe the weather isn’t always cooperative, but the air is fresh and you’re never far from nature. Whether you’ve lived your whole life on the island, or haven’t been home for a while, you’re always a Newfoundlander at heart.
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