People come up to me quite regularly and say: “Where are you from exactly? Oh, Holland. I don’t really know where that is. Is that the same as the Netherlands? So are you from Amsterdam?” These questions are uttered exactly like this as well as in any other combination you can think of.
And I am hit by a wave of contempt.
It is often the case that I held the person who says this in high regard before. They seem smart, world-wise people. More often than not, they are interesting and successful. (When they are not, I am expecting them to say something ignorant like the above and I am not caught off-guard by their – dare I say it? – stupidity.)
But immediately after my surprise at their stupidity – I said it again – I think about myself. My brother and I had been planning our trip to Asia for around a year, and it wasn’t until I left Vietnam that I knew where it was on the map. We flew to Vietnam from India via Singapore, and truth be told I didn’t realize this was quite a long way around until someone pointed it out to me.
Name most countries in Africa and I wouldn’t be able to tell you where they are.
Does that mean I am as ignorant as the people who ask me where exactly my country is located?