Home is a lot of things to a lot of people. It can be where your family is (whether that be chosen or blood), it can be your favourite food or the arms of a loved one. I’ve even heard a couple jokes about what home is… Where the underwear drawer is… where the WiFi connects automatically.
I’ve made some semblance of a home for myself here in Fort Frances over the course of almost two years. It is, after all, where my underwear drawer and WiFi are. But as long as the majority of my family is there, Newfoundland and Labrador will be Home with a capital ‘H’ even if not everyone there pronounces the ‘H’.
As I said my family is probably at least 75 per cent of the reason NL is Home, but there are so many things that add to the feeling of Home.
Newfoundland and Labrador has such a distinct culture. Food, smells, sights and of course sounds. It’s a veritable treat to all the senses.
I don’t know anywhere else you can get cod tongues and cheeks or fries with dressing and gravy (no cheese please).
I haven’t heard of another province that has a hit Broadway musical about its hospitality. If you haven’t seen ‘Come From Away’ on the stage I encourage you to check it out on Apple TV+. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador are extremely happy about the story commemorating the week after 9/11 when hundreds of passengers were stranded on “The Rock” when air traffic was grounded.
One of the distinct sounds of Newfoundland is, of course, the accent. So many people I meet outside of the province tell me ‘I’d never know, you don’t have an accent.’ If you got me around a few other Newfoundlanders it would come out but I’ve also spent so much time away from Newfoundland, living in Africa for five years as a kid, then Toronto for university for most of the next three, I feel like I have a pretty generic “Canadian” accent, because Americans sure can tell.
Now to the reason I decided to write this column this week. Sometimes when you’ve been away, a long time, even the smallest taste of home can hold you off until you get back. I was last there for Christmas and I don’t expect to be back there before next Christmas, if then. Newfoundland has a pretty distinct flavour of music. Great Big Sea, maybe put a particular flavour of Newfoundland music on the map when I was growing up in the 90s. They paved the way for a great string of Newfoundland folk artists and bands. The Fables performed ‘Heave Away’ which sports fans may recognize as Team Canada’s goal song from the World Junior Hockey tournament this past December and January. Tomorrow night while I’ll be working taking photos of the concert, I’m also excited to be getting a little taste of home. While like many Newfoundlanders, members of Derina Harvey band made the move out west, they’re coming with Newfoundland music and celtic rock which feels so much like Home.