I Stood Alone : A Canadian Geography Experiment

Every Thursday this semester I had a one hour tutorial for my World Geography class. The tutorial may have been every week, but I usually only showed up every third week or so… or at least when an assignment was due. Needless to say; I am a bit of a slacker when it comes to school.

Anyway, on March 3rd, I happened to make an appearance (coincidentally I had a paper to hand in), which turned out to be a good decision.

I strolled into the room, plopped myself down in the back row and prepared to spend the hour listening to everyone else discussing whatever they had learned in lecture that week (did I mention that I am a slacker?).

To my surprise the TA started drawing numbers across the length of the room, on the wall with chalk. Interested now, I watched as he started at one end, drawing a large “1”. Then came 2.. 3…. 7.. 8.. and eventually he drew a very big “13” at the far end of the wall.

“OK, class,” he announced, “I want everybody to line up along the wall, according to the number of provinces that you have been to in Canada.”

Everyone looked a little confused, shuffled around uncomfortably, but eventually got up to position themselves.

It was easy to predict that a large chuck of the class would be in the “1” corner. It’s almost a known fact that most Torontonians don’t like to leave Toronto; I mean Toronto is Canada right? 😉 Joking, obviously.

However, I was really surprised when everyone else was grouped under either “2” or “3”. Did no one travel in this city? Or was it just this group of people? Either way, it was a bit weird.

So there we all were… twenty students cramped into the corner under the “1-3” category, one lonely straggler standing at “5”, and then there was me.

I stood at the other side of the room, all alone, under the “9”.

“Interesting,” the TA said looking at me, and then sent us all back to our seats.

I wondered what he was thinking. Did he assume that because I was missing class all the time that maybe I was ditching to go on some crazy Canadian adventures? Did he think that I had gone on some childhood family road trip where we all piled in the minivan and sang songs across the prairies? Or did he think that I was spoiled, and spent my parent’s money to go party in every province? Obviously none of those were true, but I still wondered what he thought.

I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me; in fact I wished that I had been able to stand under the “13”…

In the end, this exercise made me realize that not everyone travels. I don’t want to generalize and say that they don’t want to, because maybe they just can’t. However, this random selection of students showed that travel is not as common for everyone else, as it is for you and me (you and me directed toward the type of people that I assume are even reading this). Travel is a privilege and I am truly happy with the things that I have done in my life. I hope to continue conquering the world, and maybe just share my stories with those who are unable to.

One day I will stand under the “13”, even if I have to draw it on a wall myself.

As a little bonus post : Here is the list of requirements that I have to study for one part of my exam on this coming Saturday (at 9am!) There is also an entire essay question part, on top of this.

Map Quiz Requirements
For the map quiz, you must know the following:

Africa: all countries and their capital cities
The Nile (Blue and White), Congo River, Sahara Desert, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Suez Canal, Mediterranean Sea, Strait of Gilbraltar, Lake Victoria

Russian Federation and all members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, & these cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Vladivostok, Minsk, Kiev, Tbilisi, Yerevan, Baku, Ashgabat, Tashkent, Dushanbe, Astana, Bishkek (and know which ones are capital cities) Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan

Seas: Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Aral Sea, Lake Baikal, Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, Sea of Japan

Mountain Ranges: Ural Mountains, European Plain, Carpathian Mountains, Caucasus Mountains, Kamchatka Peninsula

North America: All 50 states, 10 provinces, 3 territories. Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Iqaluit, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Fredericton, Halifax, Charlottetown, St. John’s, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle (hehe), Chicago, Phoenix, New Orleans

Mountain Ranges: Rocky Mountains, Appalachian/Laurentian Mountains, Mississippi River, Great Lakes, Bering Strait, Hudson Bay, St. Lawrence River

You should also be able to identify all oceans and seas

Wish me luck!

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2 Responses to “I Stood Alone : A Canadian Geography Experiment”

  1. Alesha
    April 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    I dont understand people who dont travel. How can you not? We werent born to just stand in one spot our entire lives. I know you will get to the 13 one day 😉 I hope I will too, metaphorically speaking. Actually, out of the eight states in Australia I have been to six. YAY 🙂
    Alesha recently posted..Day Three Hundred and Thirty Four -365

    • Seattle
      April 8, 2011 at 12:43 am #

      Well I certainly don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t travel if they had the ability to do so.. I suppose it’s fear for some people?
      Thanks, and I hope you will too! As well as your two remaining states!! 🙂

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