So, making major life-changing decisions like leaving your teaching-centered institution for a Big 10 research-centered institution takes up a lot of time. Who’d’a thunk it? It’s not official yet, but unofficially, it’s off to Midwestern State U next year for me and my spouse. More on that later, as it continues to sink in that this is actually happening.

On to more important things (or at least more interesting ones). A friend of mine went to Malta over winter break and brought back a copy of the bus map for me (I’m an easy person to get souvenirs for). Besides being one of the most confusing and yet plainest transit maps I’ve seen (and just how many bus routes do you need in a place that’s only eleven miles by eleven miles?), it has some really wicked keen place names. I would expect place names in Malta to be a fascinating combination of Italian, Arabic, Turkish, and English, and they don’t disappoint.

Tarxien. Senglea. Qrendi. Ghaxaq. (Too bad you can’t use these in Scrabble.) Siggiewi. Naxxar. Dingli. The runner up is Kuncizzjoni, but the coolest name on the map, and possibly the coolest place name ever, is:

M’Xlokk.

I rarely ever say this about names or words in other languages, because I hate sounding like a dumb American who thinks English is the only acceptable language and anything else is weird or abnormal, but I have no idea how you pronounce that. But I love it.

(Aha! Five minutes of Googling has determined that it appears to be an abbreviation for Marsaxlokk, where the “x” has a “sh” sound. Still looks cool to me.)

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