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Posted: August 14, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Puffins are cool, but peaches are cooler

I have had the incredible opportunity to explore the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, Can., this week on vacation.

I witnessed humpback whales playing in the northern Atlantic Ocean before heading south on their annual trip to the Caribbean.

Thousands upon thousands of birds, including puffins, gathered on a little island out in the ocean, swimming and flying and squawking.

I tasted bakeapple berries, moose burgers, moose sausage, rabbit pizza, cod soup, mussels, clamato juice, lobster and toutons.
The houses in and around St. John’s dazzle me with their bright, bold colors.

Wednesday afternoon my friend’s 16-year-old daughter, Emma, and two of her friends took me out to Topsail Bluff, overlooking the shore and a couple of small islands.

As we discussed the differences between hitting a deer or a moose (they don’t have deer, raccoons, snakes, or venomous spiders), one of the teens asked what it’s like in Georgia.

You know, it’s a lot like Newfoundland.  Well, minus about a billion people and I-285.

Sometimes it’s easy to assume that everyone on earth is just like you, and other times you think a “foreign country” is somehow alien.

The trees look different.  

At first glance I’d say there aren’t nearly as many kinds here, but it’s probably exactly what they would say looking at a forest full of white oaks, southern red oaks, live oaks, post oaks, water oaks, loblolly pines, longleaf pines, Virginia pines and so on back in Georgia.

The shore looks exactly like those geological documentaries showing  rock thrust from the ocean’s bottom up into mountains and islands — that’s why Newfoundland is called “the Rock.”  

Where we’d think of dunes and marsh wrack on the beach, here I’ve found massive smooth rocks.  

During my first stop at a store I was asked about my accent, although I’m still convinced it’s everyone here with the accents.

The weather is cooler; nearly every day has been like an ideal fall day with a nice cool breeze perfect for hiking or playing outside.  They call that “sweltering” here.

In the end, those are all just little details, like the hour and a half time difference, or how McDonald’s Southern Style Chicken is called something else here.

I’ve been called “duckie” and “love” like someone at home would casually refer to you as “honey” or “sweetie.”  

Teenagers start driving a year later, but they still drive like invincible teenagers.

The music is a mix of the same artists from back home along with more Canadian or local artists.  If you need a fiddle in the band to play in Texas, you need an accordion to make country music here.

We sat around a fire on Saturday night while camping, and I had to laugh at how normal it seemed aside from the accents, right down to the NASCAR shirt on one of the guys and the Johnny Cash blaring from his truck.  

I’d say we eat chicken as often as they eat cod here, but you can still get dinner and bait at the same store.

There are more flavors of chips and candy bars, but I’d wager we have more types of cereal.

People know half the people along the street, just like Covington.

This trip has felt a lot like the 4-H exchange trips where we’d stay with a family for a week, and that 4-H’er would stay with us the following summer.

You always think the things around your own house are boring and dumb, but a kid from Kansas will think Stone Mountain is like the Alps and that Atlanta highways are massive.

I’m sure Washington, D.C., isn’t as cool to kids living in nearby Virginia.

Kids in Palestine think floating in the Dead Sea is old hat, and a villager in Kenya thinks nothing of the massive flock of flamingos he sees all the time.

It’s a small world, and regardless of the images and stereotypes we learn in movies we’re all a lot alike.

I’ve got a few days left to spot a moose — one that’s not on my plate — before returning to the land of sweet, iced tea and grits, so I’d better grab my camera for Salmonier Nature Park.

Which reminds me, how long has it been since I visited the Yellow River Nature Center?

Terri Kimble is the 4-H Educator for Newton County 4-H.  She can be reached at 770-784-2010 or tkimble@uga.edu.

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