I’m great with US geography. I can name all 50 states, in alphabetical order, in under 30 seconds primarily because of the 50 Nifty United States song that we did in 3rd grade. I was Ohio. I can also place them on a map and can even, more or less, draw the map from scratch.
But get me out of the US and I start to fade. I know the big countries of Europe and where they are – the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the like. I’m solid with the Scandinavian countries and can hold my own around the Mediterranean. But get me into Eastern Europe and the Baltic states and I am a complete failure. This is especially sad considering the fact that I work for a company that sails all of the major waterways of Europe.
So I used that as my Differently today: I learned all of the Europe countries and where they are. I did it by studying a map and then taking various online quizzes over and over until I got them all correct multiple times.
The first time I did most of these I got around a dozen wrong; better than I thought I would do. Now I’ve got them down cold. Feel free to quiz me the next time you see me. Of course if you do, that means I get to quiz you, too. Do you know your Slovenia from your Slovakia? Your Latvia from your Lithuania? Did you know that Andorra and Moldova are actual countries and not the mother of Samantha on “Bewitched” and the fictional place where the “Dynasty” wedding massacre took place respectively? I didn’t.
Here are links to some of the quizzes I did. It’s worth noting that they aren’t all in total agreement about what, exactly, constitutes Europe. Some include Cyprus and Georgia, some call Kosovo and Vatican City countries, and some call it FYOM while others say Macedonia. But they are all close enough to being the same that any will get the job done.