Ahhh nodeshell ... I claim thee for myself

England is not Britain. Sounds obvious doesn't it? But far too many people use the words as synonyms for each other. To be fair to the septics it's not just an American thing, even the English make this mistake from time to time.

Let's clarify things a little:

So England is most definitely not Britain. It's not even half of it by area -- although about 80% of the population of Britain do live in England. This isn't a mistake you'd ever hear a Scot, a Welshman or an Irishman make, but it does seem to be a common meme in the USA. I remember I was in Philadelphia for the turn of the millennium, watching the world celebrate the Year 2000, and when the camera turned to Edinburgh the reporter said:

And now we go over to Edinburgh, traditionally the city in England where New Year is celebrated the most ...

I imagine any Scots who were watching CNN at that moment probably threw a brick through their TV sets ...

Yes, such distinctions seem too subtle to people living in single-nation countries. To them, generally, nation = country.

For example, having grown up in Czechoslovakia, I often had hard time trying to explain to people in other countries that Czechoslovakia was a country of two nations, and that I was not Czech but Slovak.

And if I said I was from Slovakia, people would either stare at me, or say, "Oh, Yugoslavia!" Sheesh! The situation has improved since Czechoslovakia has split up, and Slovakia became a separate country.

Probably the worst case of ignorance I experienced was shortly after I moved to Rhinelander, WI. I used to visit a local bookstore a lot. One day one of the booksellers told me to expect a phone call from a local High School teacher. She was getting ready to visit Siberia and was looking for someone who could give her some pointers about what to do and what to avoid. So the people in the bookstore gave her my number since I was from not far from Siberia. Holy cow!

I asked the bookseller if they carried any globes. They did, and she brought one. I showed her where Slovakia was (Central Europe). I showed her where Rhinelander was (North America, US, close to Canada). Then I showed her where Siberia was (North-East Asia, right across the Bering Strait from Alaska).

Then I said: "I'm not from 'not far from Siberia'. You are! You tell her all about it!"

The teacher never called. Either she was better at geography than my bookseller friends, or they called her and explained I was not from that part of the world after all.

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