Mental Floss 007 – Nostalgia. Words. Addendum.

word cloudMy brief stint as an ESL teacher has left a lasting love of words in my heart. Oh, who am I fooling? I’ve loved words for as long as I can remember…


Some of my favorite memories with Dad are when we would play The Dictionary Game. Sister, Dad and I would sit cross-legged in a circle on the pink plush carpet of our bedroom floor. Dad officiated. Our giant hardcover dictionary sat in his lap, a box of cookies by his side.


You don’t know what The Dictionary Game is? Sad face…

It was something like Balderdash meets Spelling Bee meets Jeopardy. But in lieu of money or fame, we won cookies.

All three of us competed on a regular basis, but I can’t quite remember who was the reigning champion. I assume it must have been Sister. Even though I loved words, I never loved READING words till I came to Africa.

Sister, on the other hand, came out of Mom’s womb with her nose stuck in a book. Okay, she didn’t quite emerge with a novel in hand. But I’m certain the nurses and doctors were shocked when she read her own name on the hospital wristband.


The Dictionary Game fostered my love for words. Africa fostered my love for reading them. Teaching ESL combined those two loves, making it a perfectly unified whole.

And since I can’t yet shake the teaching mentality, I wish to give a brief lesson about word selection.

  • endemic: a disease that is continually present in an area and affects a relatively small number of people. Malaria.
  • epidemic: a disease that quickly and severely affects a large number of people. Cholera.
  • pandemic: a widespread epidemic that may affect entire continents or even the world. AIDS.
  • epizootic: a disease temporarily prevalent and widespread in an animal population. No clue, but isn’t it a terrific word?!

In the blogging world, there is not just an epidemic, but a true pandemic of verbal diarrhea. Bloggers are notorious for rambling on and on about what they ate for lunch. Maybe this is why most blogs don’t last.

I promise never to write about my lunch. I know you wouldn’t care. I assume that most of you are reading this is because Mom sent you a link…and I’m okay with that.

With that in mind, I make a concerted effort to keep my posts brief and my topics relevant (or at least somewhat interesting). And in an attempt to  maintain a low word count, I omitted a detail from my previous post which had greater value than I anticipated. So here I include the addendum to A Birthday Sikuku.


If there is any type of birthday tradition in Africa, it is precisely opposite that of America. In Congo, it is typical for a grown child to return home on their birthday to visit with parents—even offering the parents a small gift—to show appreciation for raising and caring for them.

Makes you think, huh?


2 responses to “Mental Floss 007 – Nostalgia. Words. Addendum.

  1. I can offically say that I don’t recognize one word in this picture. I guess that explains a lot.

  2. Pingback: Mountain Fever | Megan On A Mission

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