What's Your Story

Turns out every Newfoundlander likely knows each other. Even in France

Ashley Joyce, of Mount Pearl, N.L., learned firsthand while working oversees, just how connected people are when they hail from The Rock.

A story that leaves Ashley Joyce from Mount Pearl beaming with pride.

Joyce in front of the Caribou statue at Beaumont-Hamel, France, where she worked as a tour guide. (Ashley Joyce)

It's a small world, after all — maybe more so when you're from an island...  

Throughout 2017, we're asking Canadians, "What's your story?" Ashley Joyce, of Mount Pearl, N.L., shares hers. 

In August 2015, I was offered a job with Veteran's Affairs Canada to be a student tour guide at Beaumont-Hamel and Vimy Ridge, two Canadian National Historic sites located in the north of France to commemorate the First World War.

When I first arrived in France, I felt an instant connection to Beaumont-Hamel as it's a site specifically dedicated to Newfoundland, the province I've lived in my whole life.

On the first day of being a tour guide, I was extremely nervous giving my first tour.

No one from any other province besides N.L. would ever say the classic line: 'Oh, what's your last name?'

As I waited outside the visitor's centre, a man approached to join the tour of the site. We began the tour, and we started chatting, and I asked where the man was from and he told me Newfoundland!

Being a typical Newfoundlander I said "Me too! What part?" He said he was from Corner Brook, where both my parents had grown up.

Joyce and a group of Canadian visitors at Vimy. (Ashley Joyce)

Once we got chatting it turns out that this man had worked with my grandfather, who passed away over 15 years ago, at the post office in Corner Brook. He knew who my dad was and all my aunts and uncles. He even took a picture with me and said he was going to send it to my nan when he returned to Canada!

None of my coworkers were from Newfoundland. When people came on site it amazed me that no one from any other province besides Newfoundland would ever say the classic line: "Oh, what's your last name?"

Working half way across the world and meeting so many Newfoundlanders who knew my family (pretty much every single person I met from Newfoundland knew someone I knew) was such an amazing experience and made me that much more proud to be a Newfoundlander!