I didn’t know quite what to expect upon arriving to Witless Bay yesterday evening. Our class had been told about a reception that was being held in anticipation of our arrival – a way to introduce ourselves and our goals for the next three weeks to the community. I had many questions that I was eager to have answered. I asked myself Will the town welcome us to their community? Are they looking forward to having us here? Will they understand and support our choice to live here for three weeks, eager to learn about their local traditions and culture? And most importantly for me, someone who grew up mainly in the United States and has had no prior experience of Newfoundland culture, Will I be openly welcomed to Witless Bay?
My questions were soon answered after we got to the town recreation center, where I was astounded by the hospitality and openness the locals showed towards sharing their way of life with us. One woman next to me explained what was in the lemon square that I chose to eat for dessert. Another suggested I stand up to watch the footwork of the dancers on the dance floor to better understand the steps. When I got up to watch the dancing Peter Sobol, a friendly local artist, rushed up to me to tell me about the ghostly nun that haunts our convent, knowing that one of my interests here lies in ghost stories. These people’s enthusiasm towards sharing their traditions with me immediately made me feel at ease and so welcomed in the community. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that the people who reside here are looking forward to these next three weeks as much as we are.