When I shared the news with colleagues and staff that I was moving to Austria, there were a couple of people who did not know exactly where Austria was geographically (and yes, one staff member confused Austria with Australia).

I thought almost everyone could place Austria on a map. Yet, a few weeks ago a friend shared a depressing article summarizing a survey of Americans who were asked to complete a blank map of Europe. I don’t know anything about the survey sample or methodology, but it turns out I may have been incorrect in my assumption.
No, I do not live in “Slovakia.” This was a common map mistake in the survey, interestingly enough.
This respondent could likely not even place “Wiener Schnitzel” in the correct country.

The country I live in does indeed have a name, a point missed by several respondents.

No, I don’t live in Lithuania, the land of Borat, Romania, or Second Poland, either. Second Poland?



Nor has Austria invaded Poland. Lately.
At least this respondent was honest.

Perhaps it would have been better if these respondents hadn’t taken the survey?



Besttatung. This is the loose German phrase for “funeral services.”  One of our elderly, and so very, very, very, very, very curmudgeonly neighbors passed away this week. The ambulances and police arrived at the house in the morning; then, later in the day the city Besttatung personnel arrived with the coffin for her. A little different protocol than in the U.S.
The deceased woman had pretty much since we moved in expressed her hatred for us, as Americans; expressed hatred for our children, as Americans; and expressed hatred for our dog, who knows why, on a regular basis. She has made living in our otherwise relatively pleasant complex, well, hell.  I can only wonder how much her inner pitifulness impacted her life on Earth, and can only wish she is now in a place where there is no room for hatred.