My Other Self

Today I’m thankful that I’m spending a week surrounded by thousands of people who love the same things I do.

I’ve been stressed since half my colleagues were made redundant. I think it’s understandable. The notice came about a week before I left for a vacation/conference. I’m at the conference now. I hadn’t noticed how much I missed being around “my people”, silly as we are. The sessions are highly informative, and the location is idyllic. I’ve split my time between the conference and wandering the city. I’d forgotten how truly goofy I am when unstressed. I’m still not certain what my next move will be, but this respite is proving absolutely necessary.

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Never Having To Ask For Directions Again

Today I’m thankful for maps and cartography.

I’m a map lover since childhood.  My late grandfather used to watch me before I started primary school.  He taught me numbers and letters.  My favorite times were when he would bring out his old atlas and Bible and show me where the named places actually were.  I’m irreligious, so that aspect clearly didn’t last, but I’ve been enamored of ancient geography for as long as I remember.  It’s because of him that I know the location of “Ur of the Chaldeans” (the stated home of Abraham) and I know how to say “Chaldean” (Kal-dee-uhn, for what it’s worth).

I studied geography at a post-graduate level.  Doing so enabled me to delve into the movements of people through history, examining how culture and language evolve through migration.  I also learned skills enabling me to pay my bills so it wasn’t all vanity study.  Maps can be incredibly beautiful, and place is a fundamental concept.  I still have his atlas, in case you wondered.

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By Michel Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff (Text: Hartmann Schedel) (Own work (scan from original book)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons