The First Smile

Everything starts with firsts: first breath, first step, and first adventure. Friendship is also all about firsts: first hi, first smile and first chat. Today, on the first Saturday of the first week of living here, in my first chance of hiking in Witless Bay, I met my first friend!

It was on my way back from my morning walk when by chance I was passing his brother’s house. I was on the other side of the road, drowning in my thoughts, watching my footsteps when I heard someone is saying hi! Lifting up my head, I saw his smiling face. He was standing on a ladder with a hammer in his hand. Getting excited, I cross the road to see his welcoming face better. His warm smile breaks the ice and there was no need to be creative to start conversation with him. Up the ladder, probably not the best place to chat, he talked about the weather and the lovely morning. After introducing myself as an Iranian student, doing field school in Witless Bay and showing my interest in knowing more about their beautiful life, he gets more excited and gave me a bigger smile! His name was David Ryan, my first friend from Witless Bay!


David Ryan, taken by Saeede Niktab

While talking with David, his lovely brother, Mike showed up from the house. Not surprisingly, like his brother he was very welcoming and offered his smiles generously. He showed me his “Liars Bench”. Sitting on the liar’s bench, while telling the truth, we had a short but pleasant conversation. He said the idea of making a liar’s bench came to his mind from his neighbour who had one 17 years ago. After his neighbour passed away, Mike decided to build one. He delightedly mentioned that each tourist coming to Witless Bay cannot resist taking photos of his bench. Once he heard from a lady from Ferryland that liar’s bench is for men while “Gossip’s Bench” is for women! After taking photos of him sitting on Liars Bench, David kindly suggested Mike to take a photo of me on Liars Bench. I promised them to say gossip rather than lie! We laughed together as the beginning of our friendship.

Liars Bench, Witless Bay, taken by Saeede Niktab

Liars Bench, Witless Bay, taken by Saeede Niktab

Mike Ryne sitting on his Liars Bench, Witless Bay, taken by Saeede Niktab

Mike Ryan sitting on his Liars Bench, Witless Bay, taken by Saeede Niktab

Mike and David Ryan, my new lovely friends, make my first Saturday in Witless Bay. Through their warm behavior, they taught me the first rule of making friends in Witless Bay; never underestimate the miracle of a smile here! Thanks to them, now I am not nervous any more to meet the community’s people since I have no doubt they are all friendly and kind.

One thought on “The First Smile

  1. Very nice story. I’m not surprised . After all they are Mike & Mary Ryan’s sons. Mike and Mary welcomed a lot of teenagers(Myself among them) into their home and treated us as if we were their own. Their Welcoming nature (as we say here in NFLD) –“they come by it honestly”

    Liked by 1 person

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