Friday, March 8, 2013

Because I'm sure this wouldn't be encouraged in any other degree program

A while ago, and by "a while ago," I mean, "a week or two ago," I decided to retire the world map that is on my wall. Being a geography student, this was kind of a sad day for me, but on the other hand, it was torn, covered in duct tape and sticky tack, and still wouldn't stay up on my wall. If you've ever been woken up in the middle of the night being swallowed by the world, it's actually quite terrifying.

So, of course, I was left with this huge empty space on my wall that did nothing but bother me day in and day out. Maps > blank, empty wall space. So when I was out on a walk one day, I went ahead and just decided to go to the store and buy another map to put up. My intention was another world map, but I was having a redneck moment and upon seeing the US map of the same size and price as the world map, my inner AMURRICA took over, and I left the store with a map of the good ol' U.S. of A. And a really bad ass poster of a skeleton smoking a cigarette. I regret absolutely nothing.

So at this point, I'm extremely happy to be back in my routine of staring at a map before I go to sleep at night, because it's fun and it relaxes the geography nerd in me. Also, the change of scenery was nice. Instead of staring Patagonia in the face every night, I found myself gazing upon a very different sight: the southern United States. It is here that I came to a fun revelation. Yeah, the south has the highest rate of a bunch of nasty things, like poverty, teen pregnancy, obesity, the works, but they have the most interesting city names.

Besides the fact that there are three Athens (in Alabama, Texas, and Tennessee), a Rome in Georgia, a London in Kentucky, and Paris in Texas (because why go to France, when you can just go to Texas), there are these gems.

Mississippi: Picayune, Yazoo City
Alabama: Eufala, Sylacauga, Opelika, Tuscaloosa, Pascagoula
Georgia: Americus (which I presume is pronounced, "AMURRICUS")
Florida: Kissimmee
Texas: Nacogdoches
Oklahoma: Sapulpa, Tahlequah (which shows how much I've let Baltimore influence me, since I pronounced it as rhyming with "Shaneequa")

Then there's my absolute favourite.
Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

You see, in the north, there are a lot of English/French/German names for cities, like Frederick, and Gettysburg, and Westminster, and Detroit. One can most often tell the origin of these city names too. If one drives through Frederick, they will find some German culture lingering around. However, this makes me wonder, who the hell made up the names for the South? Yazoo City? These are purely American names. I mean, there's Americus. And of course, my favourite, good ol' Arkadelphia.

Sometimes I honestly wonder why I picked a geography major. Sometimes I really wonder why I'm settling for a liberal arts degree when I could be a math or science major and have a decent paying job. Sometimes I wish I had a major that trained me for a specific job. Sometimes I question my willingness to stare at maps the rest of my life. And then there are times when I find myself staring at a wall map in my pajamas, snickering over the names of cities, and those are the times that I have complete confidence that I'm definitely on the right path.

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