Some people think they don’t have a culture. They are deceived. The simplest way to discover one’s own culture is to come in contact with another culture. It’s been said that a fish doesn’t know that water exists until it’s a “fish out of water”. Water, like culture, is so pervasive and so normative that it often goes unnoticed by us.
Like fish, we also need water for survival. But every body of water isn’t the same—a freshwater fish won’t last long in salt water. What is your preferred kind of water? One way to notice the differences between cultures is how we drink water—No, really!
My European friends find it strange that we Americans plop ice cubes in our H2O, and many of us Americans think it’s strange that they don’t! In some European countries, soda water is the norm. A little CO2 could easily startle the unsuspecting American who is served a beverage by a European friend.
In East Asia, water is often served hot or warm. Why would this be an advantage especially when summers are so hot? Public water is not potable. An easy way to make water drinkable is to boil it. Drinking hot water is proof that it’s free from unwanted critters! Warm water is evidence that the water was hot at one time and is therefore clean.
So next time you take a swig of this life-sustaining beverage whether it be cold hot, iced or un-iced, remember that the way you drink it is unique to your culture. If you drink water, or swim in water, you have culture.