when Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory were joined, they became the North-West Territories, describes their geographic location in Canada
Predominantly English (~ 78%). Dogrib or Tłı̨chǫ is the most prevalent indigenous language (~ 4%). Other official languages are: Chipewyan, Cree, French, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, and South Slavey. Mostly spoken by small portions of the population.
Capital & Largest City
Northwestern Canada, a federal territory in the general Arctic region. Mostly located on the mainland with some territory on large islands in the Arctic Archipelago. Has coastline on the Arctic Ocean.
Parts of Canada’s taiga (mostly plains and shield forests), Taiga Cordillera mountains, and Arctic tundra. Major lakes include Great Slave Lake (deepest in North America) and Great Bear Lake (largest lake fully within Canada).
from earlier name Terra Nova, “new land” in Portuguese and Latin, later adapted into English as Newfoundland
for Portuguese sailor, João Fernandes Lavrador
Predominantly English (~ 97%). Local variety is known as Newfoundland English.
Capital & Largest City
Eastern Canada (easternmost province) and part of the Atlantic region. Mostly located on the island of Newfoundland and the mainland section called Labrador, with many smaller islands.
Parts of Canada’s Eastern boreal shield forests (especially on Newfoundland), taiga forests (especially in Labrador), and Arctic Cordillera mountains. The Smallwood Reservoir system in Labrador is the largest body of water.
There’s an ongoing question that pokes at the side of so many people in this world. Should I take my shower before or after work? Woah, not that! You dirty minds. While either way you choose has its benefits, I was thinking about the continents. Most people agree that there are seven continents … no wait, there are definitely five … maybe three real ones and a handful of small ones?
You see the issue; it’s hard to define what a continent really is. Is it a large landmass completely separate from all others like a social-distancing master? Or, is a continent just any big chunk of land that generally fits together, separated only by a thin isthmus or huge range of mountains, for example? I get the feeling this was so much easier back in the Pangaea days.
I’m not here to prove what is a continent and what isn’t. Instead of trying to define them, we can look at what could be a much better way of “dividing” our world — if we must divide it at all. This potentially better system is by way of the bio-realm. But first, why is the continent system so jacked up in the first place?
Why is the continent system jacked up?
For one, it’s hard to tell what a continent is and how it should be divided. The names of continents we have now were mostly named by outsiders, with proposed etymologies coming mostly from European or Middle Eastern origins. Keep in mind the names of some of these places are so archaic that they can get seriously hard to trace.
Some factors that make the continents confusing can be:
There’s such a diversity of cultures and demographics on any given continent that an umbrella term can’t capture them all (“African” for Tunisia and the Congo, “Asian” for India and Japan)
Many countries fall into a weird buffer zone (Is Egypt African or Asian? Is Armenia Asian or European? What is the Caribbean? The Middle East? Oceania?)
Many countries can’t agree on what the real continents are anyway (North and South America, or just America? Is it Eurasia, or maybe Afro-Eurasia? Australia, Oceania, or Australasia? Good-ness!)
That is pretty jacked up. So, what are the bio-realms? Why might they be better than continents?
Into a new “realm”
Biogeographic realms, in this circumstance, are a way to look at the world by dividing it among major ecological and geographical areas. This means places that share a somewhat continuous ecology (plant and animal life, in most cases, climate and habitat types too). Plus, don’t you just love the word “realms?” It sounds like we’re traveling into some kind of fantasy dimension.
Nearctic Realm (North America excluding the tropics)
Neotropical Realm (all of the Americas in or south of the tropics, i.e. Central & South America + the Caribbean)
Palearctic Realm (all of Europe and Asia north of the tropics, including Northern Africa)
Afrotropical Realm (all of Africa in or south of the tropics, including the tropics of Arabia and the Arabian Sea coast west of Pakistan)
Indo-Malayan Realm (all of Asia in or south of the tropics, going east from Pakistan)
Australasian Realm (Australia, New Zealand, and Melanesia, including Papua and Maluku Islands)
Oceanian Realm (Micronesia and Polynesia, generally the Asia-Pacific region)
Antarctic Realm (Antarctica and the surrounding seas)
*I like to separate between West and East Palearctic since the region is so huge, but that’s personal preference, not scientific or anything
One cool thing about this system of looking at the world is that it is more fluid. For example, Mauritius and Madagascar can be considered Afrotropical in terms of geography but Indo-Malayan in terms of culture and history. On a broader note, this grouping can help people get a truer sense of what the world really looks like. The bio-realms are intended to be solely geographical, but without really trying, they pretty well represent most of the historic and cultural interactions that people have had over the millennia too.
For instance, Morocco had a lot more interaction and influence in nearby Spain than it did in faraway Uganda. Pretty much all of Latin America — and the Caribbean with which it shares many similarities — are in or south of the tropics anyway. South and Southeast Asia have been interacting with and have a lot more in common with each other than they do with the rest of Asia. North African countries have a lot more shared history and identity with Europe and the Middle East than they do with Sub-Saharan Africa in general.
Of course, the world is globalizing and interconnectivity between cultures is constantly on the rise. Even still, the divisions of bio-realms make a lot more sense when grouping places together based on shared geography, climate, and cultures.
Like with the continents, there are definitely problematic zones that aren’t so easy to categorize. Places like Melanesia, the Sahara, and the Himalayas are still tricky because the cultural and geographic lines aren’t so clear-cut from one side to the other. Several countries like Mexico, China, and Indonesia would fall into two realms, while countries like Pakistan fall into three. That could get a little weird. Even with these issues, I appreciate that the bio-realms at least show how there are great levels of diversity within those countries, amplifying their special roles as doorways between realms. (See, isn’t this fun?!)
Going back to the purpose of this article, the bio-realm system wouldn’t be a way to divide people but to more accurately view the world the way it really is. They are not supposed to be a sharp clear line of separation, but rather a wide fuzzy line that combines similar areas into large general categories. The system is much more accurate at representing the world’s actual geography, somewhat better at grouping the world’s people, but still flawed like any other manmade labeling system.
What do you think about the bio-realms? Did you understand this way of dividing the world? Could it be valuable to utilize this system and the continental system together? Or would you rather stick with the good old continents?
Thank you for reading, and take good care of each other, whatever realm you reside in!
Guest post by; Trystn Waller on what you need to know about international relationship
With so much connectivity today, many people will explore a variety of relationships. One side of this that’s been made easier by way of the internet is international couples. Some of you may have thought about, once tried, or even are now in an international relationship. And well, that makes two of us. With all the concern about how different they are, how might these kinds of relationships be like any other? What makes them more difficult, and what good comes from them? Here is a bit about these kinds of relationships, along with some advice from someone who’s in one.
The first thing I can tell you about an international relationship is kind of obvious, but it’s important to remember. Just like with any other relationship, it requires two people (or sometimes more) who decide to be together regardless of whatever else is happening in their lives.
With that said, you can bet it’s going to require sacrifice, selflessness, some forgive-and-forget, and some good old give-and-take. Like in “national” relationships (?), involvement with the partner’s family is likely going to be a part of the deal. Another trope that’s common in most relationships is having to accept the partner’s past and “baggage,” whether that is perceived as good or bad. Understanding and comprehension go a long way.
Difficulties: The hard part;
When talking about international relationships, the most difficult thing that comes to mind has to be the distance. An overlying question, at least during the beginning stages, will be how to make time to be together. Depending on where the partner lives or on your situation, this could be a heavy financial weight on the couple.
Many countries require visas for citizens to get to their country or vice versa. Even if they don’t, passports cost money too. Some countries don’t require a passport for entry depending on where you’re coming from, but then the plane/bus/train/boat/border coyote will cost you. No matter how you look at it, just getting to your international partner will be a struggle.
Because of this, much of the communication will likely be on the internet at first. Couples might go months, if not years, just talking on the phone or by video until they can finally meet. This could mean the slightest delay in response causing you or your partner to suspect the worse.
“Why aren’t they answering? They should be at home by now. Are they cheating on me? Did they die?!”
That’s not to mention the cultural differences. Often different people groups within a country have clashing cultural traditions, so you can imagine what that looks like for international couples. And if the foreign partner happens to speak a different language then that adds another barrier and a tremendous challenge to be overcome. That is, assuming neither of the partners is bilingual.
Benefit: The good part;
That’s a pretty long list of challenges, but there is a lot to look forward to with international love. Since these kinds of couples tend to have to communicate so much more, this builds stronger communication skills. It also has the potential to create a stronger bond between the partners. Imagine if the only way you could spend time with your partner was by talking. You won’t be sitting and watching Netflix all day, that’s for sure.
That’s the kind of thing that builds trust and unity in any relationship, though it’s exploited a little more with the online nature of international couples. This kind of commitment also opens the partners up to another culture, a foreign language (or accent), and different ways of life. This can be highly enriching for the partners in that they can gain an entirely new perspective, later allowing them to consider things they never would have thought of before.
One can also feel the triumph of making it work after all the ostensible barriers get knocked down and you finally make it together. Approximating with another culture and a different lifestyle, you have the potential to gain some true sympathy for what others (especially immigrants) have to go through.
Of course, if you’re the one that will be going off to see the partner, one benefit is travel. Go and see the world, explore the country the partner lives in. It’s a chance to see another part of this wonderful planet!
Some advice: Listen if you want;
From personal experience in an international relationship, I’d say communication is number one. The key is finding, no, making time to talk with your partner. That has to be a priority because it’s the only time you have with them. Even when the couple is together, the language/cultural barrier may make things tougher than usual on one of the partners, so communication is doubly essential here.
With that said, partners should prioritize together time all the time, but especially while far apart. Whether on the phone or laptop, I and my wife always celebrated Valentine’s Day, birthdays, holidays, and whatever else together. That’s how you make it feel like you’re together.
Because the partners are so far apart, jealousy and insecurity about what’s happening on the other end could be a problem. I’d say be understanding of this and know that it’s a part of the journey. As the couple continues to grow together, they’ll trust each other more and more. It takes a constant reassurance of your presence and your commitment. “I’m here. I love you. I’m with you. I’m yours.” I know it’s a little old-fashioned, but get romantic, y’all. You just have to prove you can be trusted. Can you?
Lastly, if one of the partners speaks another language, I’d say learn that language. It doesn’t have to be too fluency, but at least well enough to communicate. This sounds like a given, but I’ve been watching 90 Day Fiancé. I’ve seen those people that just rely on Google Translate to talk to their partner. Shame on you.
But really, it goes back to respect and communicating, and you kind of need to know how to speak to do that. I mean, non-verbal signs only go so far. Beyond speaking or hearing, the ability to respect another’s culture is key too. One doesn’t have to adopt the culture of their partner completely, but having a sense of understanding and respect, being willing to hear what their culture is all about is super important. After all, showing respect earns respect, am I right?
I hope this little list of pros and cons helped those of you in or considering international relationships. Or maybe you’re just curious. Either way, this is in no way to discourage or encourage anyone to love someone from another country. There are obvious and more discreet challenges, but all in all, it’s a relationship that requires the same building blocks as any other. What do you think? Would you be willing to try this kind of relationship? Or did I steer you away? Happy reading, and love one another!
**Thanks again Susan for the opportunity to host this article originally on your website! I look forward to more colabs in the future. Keep on teaching them about healthy relationships! -CultSurf
That’s right! Talking about the green island — well, green, white and orange, if we want to get technical. Ireland is one of the most recognizable and influential English-speaking countries out there. Here we’ll explore some of the reasons behind that bold statement. We’ll also take a quick look at the geography, culture, and other aspects of this modern Celtic nation. Let’s do it!
One thing that can get confusing about Ireland is … well, what it is. There’s the island (and smaller isles) of Ireland, yes, which holds two different countries on it. One — the one we’re talking about — is the Republic of Ireland, or Poblacht na hÉireann if you want to get fancy (we’ll just call it Ireland for simplicity’s sake). The other is the United Kingdom, which lays claim on the island by way of Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland itself is a bit confusing, not necessarily a country, but maybe a special county, a semi-autonomous region, we don’t know for sure.
Anyway, Ireland (the republic) is a bit easier to define. Unlike its Great British neighbors, Ireland is still in the EU. The rest of the UK sits just across the Irish Sea and the two entities have impacted each other for millennia now. Don’t check the watch on that one.
Ireland’s capital is Dublin, which is also the biggest urban area. Even though about 40% of Ireland’s people live in this one region, there are still other major towns like Cork, Limerick, and Galway. Irish people themselves are pretty homogeneous, being in not too big of a place. Still, immigrant communities are present and well on the island, with many coming from other parts of Europe, the Middle East, East Asia, and Brazil of all places.
Historically, Ireland has been divided into provinces. Namely, they are Connacht, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster. Today they don’t serve much of any administrative purpose, although they do hold value in other ways. Locally, the country is divided into 31 entities; that’s 26 counties, 3 cities, and 2 city-and-counties.
The climate in Ireland is temperate and maritime with mostly mild, cool weather. It can get super rainy but isn’t super snowy. These were great conditions for vast forests, although most of those have been cut down. Most the landscape these days is hilly and pastoral with green fields. A majority of the land is set aside for agriculture. There’s a general central plain that culminates in more highland areas around the edges, especially in the west. Much of the coast is rocky with cliffs. Cliff diving, anyone?
What’s the craic, lads? C’mon, give me your best Irish accent! We all know it when we hear it, and that’s due in part to the iconic culture of this place. Common social values in Ireland have to do with their unique sense of humor, storytelling, and folklore, an interest in politics and philosophy, admiration for wit, open expression, and the arts, as well as a pride for (and conflict with) the tricky history of the nation. Who really wants to bring up Protestant discrimination, foreign conquest and assimilation, or the several devastating famines? Not me, my friend.
This sense of pride, though, is one of the very reasons so many Irish abroad are quick to claim their origins. Often, even those with distant Irish descendants are happy to claim where their ancestry. This could be due in part to Irish last names being pretty easily identifiable.
A lot of them come from Gaelic origin, with names like O’Reilly, O’Hara, MacDonald, McAvoy, Murphy, Flanagan, Kennedy, etc. Oh, and the Normans had something to do with it (Kilpatrick, Kilkenny, Fitzpatrick, Fitzgerald), and the Welsh (Walsh). But hey, there’s a lot more to it. Some of the most iconic parts of Irish culture come from Gaelic roots, such as certain musical styles, dance, dress, and sports. I mean, hurling and Gaelic football are mostly an Ireland thing.
Farming and small-town life are also significant aspects of Irish identity, given all those agricultural fields we mentioned earlier. Counties play a role in many people’s identities, shaping things like accent and team affiliations, among others. Dublin is a major cultural and arts center, tied in as one of Europe’s most important financial and technology hubs too. It’s also had a lot more English influence over the years as compared to rural Ireland, so Anglo-Irish ID is a bit stronger than elsewhere in the country.
Irish folklore has also played a huge role in popular world folklore, especially in places like the U.S. and UK. Just think of how big Saint Patrick’s Day and shamrocks are outside of Ireland. Other major characters popularized (at least partially) by Irish storytellers include fairies, pixies, mermaids, the shapeshifting Pooka, the headless horseman, Dullahan, and most noteworthy of all, yes, leprechauns! Don’t know why I got all excited on that one.
Last one here, I wanted to mention Samhain (Saow-in). This traditional Celtic festival where turnips were used to scare away bad spirits would later evolve into today’s Halloween. Most of us use pumpkins instead of turnips now, but popular media have brought this spooky celebration all over the world. And it all stems back to pagan rituals. Imagine that.
Irish = Catholic?
After Gaelic culture, few things have influenced Irish identity and development like Catholicism. We know there’s a whole lot of controversy here, but what can I say? This Christian denomination is so crucial that it has basically been used as a major distinguisher between who is an “Irish national” and who is an “Irish Brit,” or just “Brit.” Irish from the republic are nominally a lot more Catholic, while those in Northern Ireland are a lot more Protestant. It could seem like a trivial difference, but centuries of squabbling and prejudice have really driven the fork deep between the two sides.
Even though it’s been a major issue, on and off, many Northern Irish still consider themselves as simply “Irish.” There’s steady talk of Irish unification too. I don’t know enough about it to voice an opinion, and I’m sure not everyone is open to that happening. Still, it shows how there is some mutual respect and cooperation between the two sides of the island.
The color green is often associated with the country on an international level. Despite conveniently being the color of clovers, it also is associated with the Catholic Church within Ireland (orange is associated with the Protestants).
Speaking the Gaelic
Irish Gaelic or Gaelige is a co-official language with English. It used to be the main language of the people up to about a hundred or so years ago. At different points in history, Ireland was under the control of Great Britain or England. The most recent time during the Industrial Revolution saw a rise in literacy and other factors that grew the English-speaking population substantially, kind of merking those poor Gaelic speakers. Well, not the speakers themselves, but you get it.
Nowadays, Gaelic has struggled to keep up since many don’t really see a need to learn it. Most fluent speakers happen to be older or from rural areas where Gaelic culture is still strong. Cities or areas that have significant amounts of Gaelic speakers are called Gaeltacht, I’ve gathered. Since it’s not really spoken outside of Ireland, and only spoken by a small percentage within its own country, you can understand why it’s a hard one to sell, especially to the youngsters.
Still, the language is mandatory in schools and most people know at least as much Gaelic as I know Spanish from my high school classes. There’s also a sense of revival for Gaelic in some communities, much like there is for lots of endangered languages around the globe. Despite not being fluently spoken by many, the language itself serves a sense of Celtic-rooted identity.
Many words, idioms, and expressions have made their way into the local variety of English. The Irish accent, influenced by Gaelic tongues, Norman and Anglo-Saxon dialects, English, and the several other Gaelic and Brythonic languages nearby have all shaped each other and meshed to influence the local version of English we all recognize today. Cool stuff.
To hear some people speaking in Gaelic and with Irish accents, watch and listen below!
Welcome to an extra feature on Relationship Matters. it’s a chance for readers ( those who are married, in a relationship or single) to get to know and learn from other couples experience.
It’s a pleasure to introduce Mr Trystn Waller to you. most of us could probably benefit from a lesson or two from him. I hope you take some time to check out his website http://culsurf.com
Can you please introduce yourself ;
Hello! So my name is Trystn, from Los Angeles, California. I have lived there most of my life although I’ve been to many places in my state and the U.S. I am currently married and work online as an English tutor and create content for my website. Otherwise, I do multiple other freelance jobs when I get the chance.
How did you meet your partner? what attracted you to her.
I met my wife online actually! Sandra is from Brazil, and we met on a website for language exchange. I was learning Portuguese and she was learning English. We spent several months communicating by messages and video before I decided to go visit her. After that, you could say we solidified our relationship and made it official. Besides being beautiful and funny, I was attracted to her willingness to listen to me. Being long-distance, we had to depend on our communication, and this made us feel super close. Sandra is also very family-oriented and cares a lot about others, and this made me feel great respect for her.
How long did you date? what was your typical dating like.
Since much of the beginning of our relationship was online, we didn’t have the usual dating period. We would spend time chatting online for hours a day for about 10 months until I made it to Brazil. When we were together, Sandra would take me to touristic places in her city, Sao Paulo, or we would visit different family members. We also had more alone time during those days so we got close really quickly. We “dated” for about a year before deciding to get engaged, but we didn’t get married for about 2 years after that. We’ve spent a lot more time together since then.
Can you recall the most romantic/best moment with your partner? How was the feeling like(are you smiling recalling that moment).
The most romantic moments we had I think were just laying together, talking or not saying a word, and stroking each other. Just that physical connection and appreciation for the presence of someone you love was special to me. I think also when we would kiss in public like in the park, it was an exhilarating feeling and very romantic. We’ve had lots of cool moments like that, so I can’t pinpoint a single one, but I do smile when I think of those moments.
When was the last time you said “I love you” to your partner?
I got into the habit of saying “I love you” to her a lot when we were dating. After getting married I haven’t felt the need to say it as much, and there’s a reason behind this. Sandra is not a very verbally expressive person when it comes to love, but she shows it a lot in her actions. I realized this and have been trying to show her more love with my actions as opposed to words. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to say it and I should tell her more often. I say “I love you” every few days or so, sometimes randomly and sometimes intently. As of now, it’s been about two days.
Have you ever change anything about your partner?
She is also very resistant to change, so I haven’t been able to! Jokes aside, I think at the beginning I wanted her to be more assertive and take more control with her plans. After those beginning months, I did start to notice more and more things I wanted to change in her, but over time I realized it’s not worth it. I have to love her for who she is, and I think I was creating this false image of who I wanted her to be. Once I realized accepted who she truly was, I stopped wanting her to change.
Have you tried to stop your partner not to do a particular thing just because you feel jealous or angry?
There was one significant time when I did this. One year I was in Sao Paulo for Carnaval and we decided to go Downtown to sell beers and Coke. So we bought a ton of cans and got a Styrofoam cooler and went out to sell. When we got there we saw lots of people dancing and having fun, and so we decided to join in. I noticed we hadn’t sold anything after a while, and I started getting irritated. Besides being butt-hurt that nobody wanted our drinks, I also was insecure about my dancing at the time. So I said something that wasn’t so nice and got irritated with Sandra. This day was particularly hard for me and it caused me to work hard on changing my mindset. Luckily I can say I’m much more relaxed these days than I was at the start.
Will you say “I’m sorry” to your partner even though it’s not your fault?
Well… I have a hard time owning up to when I’m wrong. I hate being wrong, haha. But I say sorry when I am. If I’m not wrong, I have an even harder time! But there are times that I can recognize, “You know what? You need to just let bygones be bygones and brush this under the rug.” I did have to do this quite a bit when we were dating on the phone because Sandra would get upset for stuff that I thought was normal, but because we hadn’t established trust and a connection yet, I had to just say sorry so we could move past it. Now on a rare occasion, I do say sorry even if I know I’m not wrong. But the best remedy I found for this is not doing things that I’ll have to say sorry for.
Is it really necessary to know everything from your partner’s previous Relationship?
At first, I did want to know a lot about her previous relationships. It was a painful curiosity, especially knowing and that I was highly insecure at the time. Now I don’t care and she can talk about it as much or as little as she wants. I think with trust you don’t need to know all of that information. Give me the highlights, as long as there’s not a dark past there, I’m cool on your exes.
If you could choose your partner again, would you choose same person?
This is an interesting question. I think everything we do in life is for a purpose and I know being with my wife now is the right decision. She’s made my life better since the day we met and I’d be different, like 100% different if we hadn’t have met, trust me. I think my mistake was that I jumped into the relationship very fast because I was insecure at the time. If I could do it again, I would wait to have more self-confidence, be more mature, and have more realistic expectations. Sandra is more than what I ever asked for or imagined, but I created this false sense of who I wanted her to be and who I was. Now I’m much more realistic, and much happier because of it. It took some time though, and I’m continuing to grow.
What your advice for those who are still searching for their other perfect half?
If you’re still looking for your perfect match, I would say … stop it! Haha, really. I feel like these things work better when we’re not looking. When we look for love, I feel like we start to get desperate or we get super demanding. Don’t worry if the person checks out all your requirements or if they seem like the opposite of what you wanted. Follow the feeling you get when you’re with them. Be realistic. Know who you are and what you like.
You’ve got to know that no one is perfect and any person you get with no matter the appearance will have flaws and will piss you off sometimes, and that’s okay. Know that this is normal. Look for someone who challenges you and respects you, someone you can be your complete self with without hiding anything. And please, be open and honest. There’s nothing worse than lying about who you are only for it to blow up in your partner’s face years down the line, and vice versa. Enjoy life and enjoy being with people, and at one point you will bump into your other half.
Email me at; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org ( Collab post, guest post, interview welcome)