Nikhil Joshi, M.D.
Doctor, Author, Leader
Nikhil Joshi is a young physician, writer, and speaker. He is passionate about furthering his ability to touch the lives of people positively.

Dear Newfoundland,

Dear Newfoundland,

Dear Newfoundland,

I’m leaving you again. And I hate it. Everytime I’ve had to leave you for a significant portion of time, I hated it.

There are many beautiful places in the world. Strange nooks and famous walkways that have amazing stories. They’re beautiful to visit. But what I’ve longed for is home. Being away is not the same. It feels like the oxygen is being depleted from me with every breath that isn’t on the island. I’m missing another joke my friends made over brunch or memory my family are making without me. I know time is passing. I see it on the faces of the people I love. But what remains the same is that feeling that being in Newfoundland gives you the moment you step off the plane. That no matter who you are, no matter what part of the earth you’ve known, the language you’ve spoken or the things you’ve seen, you are home.

I came back to you weary of the world and people. Weary of cynicism, bullshit and pretention. A world that speaks in a weird jargon I don’t understand. It leaves me longing for people who are kind and plain-spoken. Working as a physician after working in Newfoundland is tough; it’s easy to help people who are kind, who show courage and humour through suffering. It’s tougher to help when people seem indifferent by comparison. Indifference is what kills the soul of the world. Maybe that’s why I love being home. The province and the people in it have heart; they’re an incredibly open and generous people. They care about family, and friendship, about their word and their work. They know the secret to living is to steal as much happiness from life as you can before you pass.

It’s strange to live in this time of history, where the world seems awash with hate and intolerance. I never knew about that growing up. I had a childhood of happiness and support, where my teachers, neighbours and friends made our community brilliant in ways I couldn’t appreciate. I learned about racism at the age of 12. And you know where I learned about it from? Television.

Now, after many years, I know a bit more about the edges of life, the places where people sometimes get cut. It’s in the dangerous places like love, hate, pain and ignorance. And even though I sometimes bled in Newfoundland, unlike every other place it did its best to soothe my injury. It did its best to love me the way I loved it, and that’s something the rest of the world should envy.

The islands’ call affects people from far and wide. My friends J and M, are incredible South African born physicians, who left warm beaches and booming practices for St. John’s four years ago and continue to live here. I always tell the story of how I went to visit them for lunch when they first moved here, and how M opened the door a crack, with the chain still on, peering around it even though it was the middle of the day. I had never seen someone open a door like that. “I’m not here to murder ya!” I joked, and we laughed. But later I realized stupidly that they of course had lived through apartheid and seen violent crime daily as physicians. Peace of mind is a highly underrated commodity and worth the weather a thousand times.

There many critical challenges now in Newfoundland. But I’m not one of the people to prescribe answers. To be honest I try to only write about things I know, which seems to be a startling rarity these days. But what I will say is that I think the way forward is us together, with the things that make Newfoundland so brilliant: family, friends, entrepreneurship and music. But most importantly food. Delicious, glorious, local food.

Whatever your day contains, I hope you get a chance to relax and live the simple things deeply. Because you who get to live in Newfoundland are blessed.

-N.

30 Responses to “Dear Newfoundland,”

  1. Diana Kearley RN HSC

    Sweet adieu written from a sweet heart. I am sure you will be missed. Travel safe

  2. Bonnie

    I’m a Newfoundland woman living on “da mainland” and you crafted words which precisely describe being away and coming home, once one has grown up a Newfoundlander.

    In this day and age where racism and tension abound elsewhere, I had wondered just the other day, how it was to grow up in Newfoundland for someone with a different complexion than my own.

    I am so proud to hear from you that racism was a foreign concept until introduced to you by television. While that may not be every experience, it is certainly wonderful.

    I tried to explain the concept of colour blindness to people from a huge city and they definitely were dubious that this exists in reality. I will be showing them this post, which made me misty eyed.

    Thank you for this most tender tribute to our home.

    Bonnie

  3. Bonita Tucker

    So very nice to read those words,very much appreciated.Btw if your Father is Pradib Joshi he is also a gentleman.Good Luck wherever life takes you.

  4. James

    Hello Dr. Joshi,
    I just read your endearing, heart felt posting. You nailed us Newfoundlanders to a tee. What an insightful eye opening, even for me, a home grown Newfoundlander. I’ve been a few places in the world, and lived away for periods of time also. But this place beckons. It cannot be ignored. Although over the years, it has lost some of its innocence, it is still one of the safest places in the world I would guess. I can truly feel what you meant, about learning about racism on tv. I grew up in central nfld. Small town of Grand Falls. I remember the first time I ever saw and met a family from a different world. They were from The Phillipines. The only thing was they were different. That was it. Different. Within a very short time, it was baseball, hide and seek, throwing rocks in the Exploits River. There were no racist ideas or thoughts. There was no hate, no bullying, nothing. Where did all that innocence go? I am rambling a bit I guess. But my sincerest point is, you are a Newfoundlander, I am a Newfoundlander. We are so proud that you will be out in the world, extolling all the goodness of the place you and I call home. I wish you so much in your future. I didn’t use any weird jargon, in case some non nfld ears wanted to read it. But to your point, of returning to this place, after being up along,, Saltwater Joys sing says it all, about leaving here and having to return.
    Some go to where the buildings reach
    To meet the clouds.
    Where warm and gentle people turn to swarm in
    Faceless crowds.
    So I’ll do without their riches, glamour
    And the noise
    And I’ll stay and take my chances with
    Those saltwater joys.
    It was very nice to almost meet you, but we will always be close. We come from the same place, you and I.
    Sincerely James

  5. Glenn Cake

    Very well said Dr. Joshi- we certainly choose to live in this province for obvious reasons excluding the climate. Make the most of your travels and I am sure that you will find a way to get back “home” when the time is right

  6. Surya Shah

    Brilliantly written Nick. Nailed it. is has been heaven for us. This is home. The ultimate. Who would want to leave!!
    Come back soon😊

  7. Daphne

    Well said! Safe travels

  8. marie careen

    your so right dr. joshi.newfoundland is a treasure very rare in the world today your summation is beautiful i hope our people never change.visitors don/t care about our weather once you get a chance to meet us.we don/t have earthquakes floods drougt or other weather related distasters .so i/ll take our climate&enjoy our pristine air.

  9. René Enguehard

    I like your writing on our Newfoundland. I moved here 48 years ago and have never looked back. This rugged island with the kindest people welcomed me. I am grateful to have been able to raise my family here. Our sons are proud newfounlanders and only one had to move away. Our province need people like you and people like my children.

  10. Mary Nugent

    Just want to say thank you for writing this.

  11. Joan Marie Aylward

    Beautifully written and a call to all of us to be still for a moment to appreciate the simple joys in this place that we love ( weather excluded) and sometimes take for granted. Safe travels.

  12. John Burke

    Great article. I wish you peace and a rapid return “home”.

  13. Cyndi Balram RN

    So eloquently written of my native homeland-a place my husband & I miss dearly since we left in the late 80’s for work in Toronto 🙁

  14. Doug Moir

    Thank you for letting us see through your eyes NFLD. Would love to venture …far from the busy life we visit daily and rarely have an opportunity to encounter. Dreams are made to take us to worlds unvisited and dared to venture through the the lives of us all.

  15. Rick K.

    It’s true what they say, misery enjoys company. I too have had to leave home many years ago to pursue my education and eventually had to stay on the mainland to work in my field. Twenty years have gone by and it feels like a lifetime ago …. and only yesterday, all at the same time. I get back to the Rock occasionally but only for small visits with my wife and kids in tow. Just long enough to refresh my memory as to why I was so heartbroken all those years ago. When I read your story I was both proud and sad at the same time. Proud that I come from a place that is genuine and Kind. Sad because I’ve been on that plane on the tarmac and feel your pain for leaving. I always say I will return some day but I fear that i have become too accustomed to my mainland ways. Or Perhaps it’s because were not a hard bunch to keep happy. Give me a kitchen, a few beer and some good friends and no money can replace a night of exaggerated story telling and laughter. I surely miss the frIendships and the humanity. I wish you all the best in your departure from home and I thank you for reminding me of where I come from and why I love it so dearly.

  16. Kevin Hynes

    Thanks Nikhil for putting in words how many Newfoundlanders feel about the Island and the place we all call home.
    I personnally have traveled overseas to many far away lands as my career as a Seafarer often called me away. Although many of the places were very interesting, beautiful and breath taking they were all as you said “Nice places to visit”. I’ve often been asked what was the nicest place that I’ve been and always my answer has been Newfoundland.
    We are very fortunate to have a little part of everywhere in the world all wrapped up approx. 900 kms of home.

  17. Jackie

    Safe travels, we Newfoundlanders do not say good-bye…..it’s see you later.
    There is no place like home especially when “home” is Newfoundland.

  18. Michelle M

    Love this, perfectly written. Best wishes to you for health and happiness in your travels, you will always be welcome back here with open arms and huge hugs.

  19. Vanessa

    Nikhil, 2 little stories because you racism comment struck home. Growing up we had a friend “A”. My birthday was in May and after a long winter everyone showed up in their dresses and short sleeves. Maybe 20+ years later I was looking at the birthday pictures one day and it dawned on me… “A” was so dark compared to all of us. It is a true testament to the beauty of our NFLD culture and our families that never in my life did I realize he was different. We knew his parents were from India and they had an accent but we did not think much of it and “A”… well he was just one of us. The second one is a story I will never forget from a man from Africa I met driving a cab in Ottawa in the early 2000’s. Lovely man, asked where I lived, “I said Ottawa but I am from NFLD.” Well, the floodgates of stories opened and we ended up sitting in his car talking for 30 minutes. Years and years before he had found himself in Fogo, NFLD. Not long after leaving Africa. He said people were so curious about him, really wanted to know where he was from and truly interested in his life. He said he never wanted for a meal, a place to stay or company. He stood out like a sore thumb but not once did he experience racism. He said it was his time in NFLD that solidified his decision to stay in Canada and if he hadn’t married a “mainlander” (yes, he called her a mainlander) then he would go make his home back in NFLD.

  20. Bonnie Flynn

    Simply beautiful to read your words and how they express the love that all Newfoundlanders have for their province, people and way of life. As one of the many that have moved away, the yearning to be back home never fades . You miss the salt air, the hospitality , the twisting, turning roads along the cliffs edge and how a day seems like a week compared to the busy city.
    All the best to you, safe travels!

  21. Anne

    Thank you so much for “explaining” Newfoundland. I will send this to all of my Mainland friends who do not understand why where I live is my residence and Newfoundland is my home. I hope my Newfoundland never changes. It is beyond special. I often relate the story of how Newfoundlanders are the only people who arrive in Heaven and cry to go “home”. Enough said! Safe travels.

  22. Leone Btomley

    I had always felt like I was from nowhere as Quebec was not my real home and neither was Mgld. Only when I returned to the Rock for my father’s funeral did I ever feel really ar home sgain… I finally knew where I really was from. I now live in Dallas, but am looking forward to returning home next year. God speed Dr. Joshi.

  23. Elsie Demmer

    Thank you so much for putting down on paper for all to read, exactly how I feel about my island home.
    I’ve been living in the US, Denver ,CO for 57 years, have a wonderful family here, family that I cannot leave. If it were possible I would live out my remaining years on the island of my birth. I am now 80 years old. I visit my Newfoundland family quite often, my children have all been there, and I have forever friends there. I return from each visit to the same compliment, that I look so happy. That is the Newfoundland magic. I have always known of the healing powers of the Newfoundland environment and of the positive effect that the most unassuming, generous, kindest people on earth possess.

    You are so right, there is something about Newfoundland that I have not found anywhere else. I have met many wonderful people in my life who have had a tremendous effect on my thinking and behavior. Since I left Newfoundland I feel that I have retained the training and lessons learned from life events, that came from being a child of my rural island upbringing.

    I have heard and read so many tributes paid to this island, none so heartfelt and eloquently written as you have done.

    Maybe it is, as one Newfoundlander put it, ” Newfoundland is a state of mind”.

    God bless, safe travels, return soon.

  24. Narinder Kumar M,D.

    Lived in Newfoundland for over 10 years with wife and two daughters. We all as a family miss Newfoundland even 22 years after living in the US, well I want to say I still have the most loving friends back in Newfoundland.
    Nick your comments “Working as a Physician after working in Newfoundland is tough” is very very true.
    Only suggestion to my Fellow Newfoundlanders I make ” Please Don’t Change”

    Thanks ,
    See you Guys Soon

  25. Bev Decker

    Thanks for writing these beautiful words that certainly reflect the way most, if not all Newfoundlanders feel.. When I leave for a trip and on my way back home, the Airline Captain announces we are in Newfoundland airspace I always get a lump in my throat I am so happy to be coming home.

    You have accomplished a lot already and I’m sure you will make a big difference in this world..Good Luck in you endeavors.

  26. Linda Coles

    Nikhil,
    We hope you come back soon. We need a doctor like you.
    See you when you return.

  27. Ray Stanford

    Thank you for your wonderful comments.I do agree we are truly blessed to live here,even though we do face problems.The people of Newfoundland are generally friendly and honest and would do anything for another person in need of help.I do hope you will return to our beautiful province.

  28. Violet

    There is nothing left unsaid about our beautiful island of Newfoundland. Dr. Joshi, good luck in whatever you are seeking. We were truly blessed to have you in our midst.

    Violet Holmes

  29. Genevieve Murphy-Marrie

    Dr. Nikhil Joshi,
    An old Irish saying.

    May the road rise to meet you
    May the wind be at your back
    May the sun shine warm upon your face
    and the rain fall soft upon your fields
    and until we meet again
    May God hold you in the palm of his hands.

    God Bless
    Thank you

    Gen and Kevin

  30. KAREN TULK

    The best weather in the world , its not on the news, love it and the fishing good to

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