Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Geography Lesson

I sure hope that when you woke up this morning, you thought ‘Gee, I’d really like a Scottish/ European Geography lesson today’ because that’s exactly what you’re about to get. When I initially asked where Jonathan most wanted to travel in Europe he responded with Turkey and Israel.  Big mistake.

This elicited a brief but thorough geography lecture on the difference between Europe and Asia and the countries that comprise them. I may have even broken out a map or two as teaching aids. He changed his list to Germany and Italy pronto. And technically, parts of Turkey are considered to be on the European continent, so I’ll let him slide on that one this time. Next time, I won’t be so generous. 

Geography is hands down my favorite subject; if only there were a way to make money off of it. Oh well, for now it makes me a first round draft pick anytime we sit down for a game of Trivial Pursuit. With my help, you’ll be a trivia all-star by the end of this post, at least if the questions pertain to British geography.

Let’s start with Scotland. Scotland is small, y’all. So small that if it were a U.S. state, it would be the 41st largest, right in between South Carolina and West Virginia.  We’ll be living in Aberdeen which is in northeast Scotland, located on the North Sea and near the Grampian Mountains. Just to give you an idea of the scale, it took us 2 hours to drive from Abderdeen to the West Highlands and 2 and  half hours to drive to Edinburgh in Central Scotland. We're not in Texas anymore.

Scotland is a free country with its own parliament, yet belongs to the United Kingdom which also includes the countries of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

A citizen from the UK can either be referred to as British or indicating their specific country: English, Scottish, Welsh, or North Irish. From what I understand, most UK citizens refer to themselves first and foremost by country; Scottish, Welsh, and North Irish due to patriotism, and English  moreso due to a superior World Cup soccer team. I’m sure it’s all more complicated than that, and I hope to learn more about the distinctions while living there. Though honestly, it does seem like a lot of cultural oberservations can be made by paying attention to the politics of soccer.

I guess the biggest mistake you can make is referring to a person from Scotland as English or vise versa, so I’ll try to steer clear of that. When it doubt, the adjective British should suffice and not cause too much offense.

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