Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Jen the Jeographer

I love geography. I do. I love it so very much. I love maps, i love learning about different countries and I especially love visiting them. When i descend in an airplane, toward a coastal land mass and I have a window seat on a clear day, I look down and try to find my bearings. I try to memorize the contours of the edge of land that I see in hopes to later rush to a map and see if that's what I was seeing from the sky. Because that would be the COOLEST.

It is very important to me to know a) the existence of a country I may hear about and b) its general location on the earth. Otherwise I feel like a flaming idiot and that I should probably go hang out with this girl.

This has helped me on many occasions, particularly since living in New York. One time I sat next to a man in church who told me he was from Togo. At first I thought he said Tonga but it's not my fault, he had a strong accent. Although, he didn't really look like he was from Tonga so i guess i'm kind of a moron for that. But anyway, when I realized what he said I thought a second and then said, "oh! West Africa.. next to Benin, right?" And he said 'yes' and seemed very pleased and I gave myself a mental high five.

Another time is when I taught an ESL class that had 50-60 people from 15-20 different countries. Americans have reputations for a lot of things and being uber-aware of the rest of the world is not one of them. Luckily these people had me as their teacher because i knew the locations and other details of all the countries because I am awesome.

This is also helpful when you take a taxi and chit chat with the cab driver. When he tells you where he's from and you have something to say about it, your ride is decidedly more pleasant.

If I had endless amounts of money, do you know what I would do? I would travel, travel and travel. And you know what else? Travel. And i'd probably want to live in different countries. Well, i want to do that now. A dream of mine is to live in an African village and learn and experience things. But I am determined to one day live abroad.

You can be awesome at geography too.

Here are some things I own that help me learn more about different countries:

First, my beloved globe.

This is not just any globe. It is an interactive globe with a magic pen. I have learned SO much from this globe. I sound like I'm joking but I'm not. in fact, this is the sincerest post I've ever written. One time I was in a Discovery store and I overheard a woman asking a sales clerk about this very same globe. I love it so much that I took it upon myself to interrupt and tell the woman, "This globe is AMAZING. I have learned so much from it and it is seriously so much fun. You should get it." And guess what? She said, "Really?" and thought for a minute and said, "You know, I think I will get it." You're welcome, sales clerk. I will take my commission please.

Some countries/regions I learned about from playing with my globe:

New Caledonia

and many many more. And yes, i remember learning them from my globe. It's an important experience, discovering a country.

Some people love to read books. I am one of them. Know what else I love to read? Atlases. Here is one of my atlases:

Another way I learn about the world is my world map puzzle:

I've only put it together one painstaking time, but hover for hours over this thing and you will learn a thing or two.

Another vehicle for geographical learning is our National Geographic Global Pursuit trivia game that we swiped from Sean's parents' house. Boy, did we rob them of a jewel. I bet they curse our names night and day for stealing such an awesome game.

*NERD ALERT* Sean and I often take a stack of trivia cards and play at nighttime before going to sleep. Sean does better at the topographical questions than I do. I'm more interested in the countries and cities and whatnot. This is a fun game because it is totally old and the questions say things like, "This city in the USSR..." or "This country, formerly known as Cambodia..." ha. I love that one. This makes it extra tricky.

Thanks for reading about my love of geography. It may bore you but it never will me. No not ever.


)en said...

I am not going to apologize for how long and boring this post is. Sometimes I'm dry and that's ok. I just wanted to mention that the title of this post is dedicated to Mary.

Michelle said...

I love it! How great that you know so much about so many places. I must try harder to do the same. Thank you. You are a modern day MaJENllan.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha Michelle. You could just as easily be 'Michellen'. Maybe I'm Vasco de Garo? Lame. I love geography too. I always had a map of the world on my wall and I competed in a geography bee in 8th grade. Also, *nerd alert* I once made world maps of a fictional planet with the countries, capitals, rivers and lakes all carefully labeled.

)en said...

Haha! Ohhh i knew you were my friends for some reason. i've been wondering, all these years, and now i finally know. That is totally way nerdy, Gary, and I am jealous. I'm also jealous you were in a geography bee because i was going to say, i regret not ever participating in one. Maybe we should put that on our agenda the next time we're all together.

Also, "majenlan" is the coolest thing ever but yeah, your name is even better. Michellin... so good.

Joel said...

Does that mean I get to be Ma-Joel-lan if I am constantly reciting the "Countries of the World" song from Animaniacs?

)en said...

Yes! Ahh.. you have a good name too. Curse! i wish my name was Joel. Or Michelle. Or just plain Magellan.

Anthony and Rene said...

Jen, we are like two peas in a pod about this stuff. I seriously love it. I Love that globe too, I first saw it in NY and I've wanted it ever since. Our family use to always play that global pursuit for FHE. Oh I love geography so much too. That is actually the area of the library at the U that I know best. I love it, also my dream is to live in and African village as well. And i am keeping my fingers crossed it come true next year!

)en said...

Rene! Ahhh... that is so great. A kindred geographer. :) That really just makes me happy. And say what? you might actually live in an African village next year? Stop it. Take me with you. You totally need this globe. it will change your life.

Michelle said...

Vasco de Garo! haha! I love it! And yeah, funny that I didn't even notice that my own name would fit.

Natalie R. said...

I'm absolutely terrible at geography, and Cameron loves to tease me (kindly) about it. But you've inspired me to be better and learn more about it. Go Jen!