And so, after a lovely sojourn in Japan, one must must inevitably face reality and head back to the “real world”. While it is nice to be back in Vancouver, treated to some quintessentially beautiful fall days, I rather fear that such things are somewhat wasted on me. 10 days into my stay here, and I haven’t forayed much farther than the lab at SFU or the confines of my bedroom. The dreaded GRE looms–terrifyingly 10 days away–and I’ve been doing my damnedest to study for it. Anyone who knows me will know that I’m not a fan of math. I mean I really dislike it, and I have since high school. Perhaps my irrational distaste for it originated during my tenure in those dry math classes, learning about quadratic equations and trigonometry. What is now truly distressing is that, in the spirit of Halloween, it has come back to haunt me. I am now assaulted by a barrage of ghoulish formulas and shadowy specters of variables, and sadly forced to re-learn math facts which I haven’t used in a good 8 years. I do find it interesting, having already been to graduate school once and not needing 90% of these things I’m being tested on, that this is some kind of measure of my ability to succeed in graduate school. Sigh. I could rant about the uselessness of this exam for weeks; however, I thought that perhaps what would be more entertaining is to highlight a list of fabulous GRE words I’ve discovered in my readings. Somewhat useless, esoteric or downright bizarre…but fun nonetheless! (If these words seem oddly skewed to the end of the alphabet, it’s because I’ve been going through the word lists backwards alphabetically. Haven’t quite made it all the way to ‘A’ yet.)

1. uxorious – excessively devoted to one’s wife

2. pulchritude – beauty (what a horrifyingly ugly-sounding word for something beautiful)

3. sybarite – lover of luxury

4. stultify – cause to appear or become stupid

5. spoonerism – accidental transposition of sounds in successive words (“Herbert Hoover” > “Hoobert Herver”)

6. rusticate – banish to the country

7. ratiocination – reasoning

8. quaff – drink with relish

9. pell-mell – in confusion, disorderly

10. peregrination – journey (the only way I remember it is by thinking of “Peregrin Took” from Lord of the Rings and his fairly memorable journey)

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