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U.S. Geography & Culture Lesson

More often than not, when I’m talking to Italians and they tell me they want to travel to the U.S., they all say the same thing: they want to go to New York, Miami… and Niagara Falls. (Huh? Niagara Falls?) They tell me that TV and movies have influenced them; they’ve seen more mention of New York and Miami than any other place.

Yesterday, out for a late night dinner with an Italian friend, at a restaurant with paper tablecloths, I started sketching a map of the U.S. and talking about the regional differences across the country. In trying to communicate the tremendous variation in geography and culture we covered a LOT of topics! (Of course, all from my own point of view…)

Here’s a list of some of the things we talked about. How many can you find noted in the sketch below?

  • Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York
  • Grand Canyon, Cascade Mountains, Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes, Gulf Coast Marshes
  • Pacific Northwest, West Coast, Southwest, South, Midwest, New England,
    East Coast, Florida, border with Canada
  • BP Oil spill and threatening Hurricane Alex
  • Conservative, liberal, up-tight, traditional, racist
  • Rednecks, Ku Klux Klan, cross-burning
  • Cities, population centers, farm country, apples, pears, grapes
  • The Adobe homes of the Southwest
  • Where I went to school in California and Ohio
  • My long, one day drive from San Jose to Seattle
  • The “boot” of Italy and the cultural divide between north and south
    The cultural divide between northern and southern California

  1. lynnJuly 2,10

    Wow – this really shows how good your Italian has gotten! What kind of vocabulary does it take to talk about “Conservative, liberal, up-tight, traditional, racist, rednecks, Ku Klux Klan, cross-burning.”

    What an in-depth conversation. Congrats.

  2. MaureenJuly 3,10

    I rely on a lot of patience from those I’m talking to. But they seem OK with my halting, stumbling, errant Italian.

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