The closer you get to your destination the more detail is revealed. If you’ve ever flown into JFK you know what I mean. The skyline of New York City gains depth, buildings that were once part of a grand silhouette become autonomous sky rises, distinguishable from the bright lights and grandiose of the greatest city in the world. Time Square’s billboards and jam packed crowds overwhelm the senses as taxi cabs honk and tourists with cameras brush past to get the best angle to capture the chaotic scene. When visiting NY you didn’t have the slightest idea as to what you should expect from such a city. Only when you’re in the midst of its hustle and bustle does the surreal city come to life.
Two weeks and 6 days ago my plane landed in JFK for a linguistics colloquium. As a sophomore my career as a linguist was blossoming into a promising career… So naturally, I abandoned it. While a bit contradictory to what the sensible person might do in my position, I like to think maybe, just maybe, that’s why I did it.
It happened while I was visiting Cornell University for an academic conference. Noam Chomsky might be the grandfather of linguistics but even he couldn’t sit through two days of syntax. My travel instincts took over and before the keynote speaker could catch a glimpse of my bright orange jacket fleeing the room I was long gone. Goodbye colloquium, good day Ithaca. I left, never bothering to look back.
Because I didn’t know what the word meant either,
1. An informal meeting for the exchange of views.
2. An academic seminar on a broad field of study, usually led by a different lecturer at each meeting.