For the past week, I was the curator of the @PeopleOfCanada Twitter account. I got to share a bunch of stories, and meet some interesting people, and comment on Canadian culture. Such fun! Right near the end, though, there was one exchange in particular which I liked...
I posed the question, "How can you tell if someone's from Newfoundland?"
"First, here's a picture of me jumping off a staircase into the Arctic Ocean. Pretty crazy, right?"
"Now, here's a picture of someone jumping off the top deck of a ship into the Arctic Ocean, carrying a hockey stick with the Newfoundland flag on it."
"If someone does the latter, it's a safe bet they're from Newfoundland."
I thought it was a cute little inversion of the "newfie joke," and a fun picture, too. And then I got an honest, well-meaning tweet from a fellow in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
"Maybe I'm missing something," he asked, "but wouldn't it be unlikely for other people from Canada to jump into the ocean with a flag of Newfoundland?"
I explained to him that part of the joke was that newfies were loud and proud when it came to identifying with their province - someone from Ontario, for example, would be unlikely to *own* a full-size flag of Ontario, let alone take it along for a jump into the ocean.
He thought about this before replying. "Oh! So Newfoundlanders are nice."
...perhaps Portuguese is a more nuanced and complex language than I thought. Because I'm pretty confident it would take more than four letters to describe Newfoundlanders in English.
"Yes," I answered, not sure what else to say.
You owe me one, Newfoundland.