That's a country?!? Huh, well, how about that!

In the past few years I've learned it's stereotypical of Americans to be terrible at geography. I greatly reinforce that stereotype. Really, I don't think it should be an American stereotype, but possibly just an individual issue. I have learned a little geography since moving to Norway, but mostly it's because my husband underestimated how terrible I am at knowing about other countries and he's given me geographic lectures upon more lectures.

Stereotyped map of the world.
From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/feb/17/stereotype-maps-tsvetkov#

At my Norwegian course the other day, my teacher asked me, "What did you think about Norway before you moved here?" I laughed. Did he really want me to try to explain how I didn't know the place was even a country, but possibly a place in Moscow or Morocco? Not sure why I once thought that, but it's almost embarrassing to admit that. I didn't know Norway was a country until my husband when I first met him said it was a part of Scandinavia... and that's when I thought, "Ah yes! It's in Sweden!!!" and felt proud of myself for knowing something about Scandinavia!

Anyways, that part was skipped when I was answering my teacher. I just explained to him, "Før jeg flyttet til Norge, trodde jeg det var is overalt og isbjørner gikk i gatene." (Before I moved to Norway, I thought there was ice everywhere and polar bears walked in the streets.) He nodded his head like he's heard that many times before. :-)

I try my best to avoid asking people where they're from now. It's a bit embarrassing to meet someone new in school and they tell me which country they're from and I have not a clue where it is or even which continent it's on. So, I'll just nod and smile while thinking, "I never knew that was a country" or if I really want to get involved I'll ask them questions about their homeland.

I'm not sure if my theory is right, but everyone seems to know so much more about the world than I do. My reasoning behind that is because America is such a large country, we spend our time in school learning about our own country, each state and capital. However, if we lived in a country the size of a state, it would make much more sense to learn about other places. Plus, America is well known and the top pop culture and entertainment provider in the world, so it kind of makes sense for other countries to know more about America, than America to know about the world. That's my theory anyways! :-)

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