Site Meter Elsie's Space: I Let Go of Pluto...
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Location: New England, United States

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Friday, September 14, 2007

I Let Go of Pluto...

but I can't bring myself to let go of Australia.

Daughter was studying geography last night, specifically continents. "Do you know all the continents, Mom?" "Sure, I know the continents -- North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia." "No mom. Australia isn't a continent, it's a country in Oceania." "What?" "Australia is in Oceania." Now, here's where I feel really stupid. "No, sweetie, Australia is a continent." "No, Mom. Oceania is the continent. Australia is part of it. So is New Zealand and Papua New Guinea and a bunch of other little islands." Was there a big news story that I missed? She proves her point by showing me a map (printed in 2006) she got in school.

First Pluto, now Australia. Will this soon be a trick question on Jeopardy? Probably not. Those people probably know already. I feel so uninformed. Who made this decision, and how could they do it without talking to me?

"You learn something new every day, Mom." You sure do. Oceania. Sigh.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Winston said...

For me, who made straight As in Geography way back in a previous century, Australia will always be a continent and Pluto a planet and a goofy looking cartoon dog.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I didn't know that either. And they do sums differently.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Colin Campbell said...

Well I just think that is another example of Yankee cultural imperialism and nothing short of bollocks. Australia is the same size approximately as the USA and definitely a continent.

I used to find some of these kinds of things exasperating when I lived in America. There is a different cultural reality to the rest of the world.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Elsie said...

Winston -- I, too, made all A's in Geography. What are they doing to us?

Liz -- as far as I can tell, they still do sums the same way I was taught.

Colin -- I'm not really sure that Oceania is an American thing. I'm not sure where it comes from. You may have a point though -- the U.S. shares a continent with Canada and Mexico, and maybe someone thinks that no country should be its own continent if we can't be. Thanks for stopping in.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Clare said...

I thought it was Australasia... Maybe I'm wrong too...and worryingly, I'm half Australian!

2:11 PM  

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