Think Twice About Ice

Ice. How can something so simple like ice be something so cultural?

I was at a restaurant the other day with an American friend of mine, and we were discussing her study abroad experience in Spain. She told me about all the things I could do in my up-coming trip to Spain. We talked about how different cultures are, especially American and Spanish. She said her experience abroad definitely made her become more interested and aware of different cultures.

As we readied ourselves to leave, I eyed my drink on the table and wrinkled my nose in distaste. I had ordered a coke, and, now, all that was left was basically a third cup of ice and super watery brown liquid.

At that moment memories of my Brazilian grandmother asking for no ice in her drinks at American restaurants popped into my head. I have grown accustomed to living in two different drinking worlds. In Brazil, your drinks will most likely not have ice, and if it does it is very minimal. In the United States, I get an entire half cup of ice with whatever drink I order. Since this situation is so normal to me, I never thought to ask anyone about their experiences and thoughts on the matter—let alone an American.

I took a sip from my watery coke anyways and jokingly said, “Oh, you Americans and your ice!” I asked her if they served ice in their drinks in Spain.

She immediately exclaimed, “Oh my goodness, I couldn’t wait to come back to the US and have ice in my drinks!”

I could not help but laugh. She loved the American quantity of ice as much as I disdained it. Okay—so I do not hate it as much I say. Living in both American and Brazilian cultures, I have learned to accept the cup given to me. It was only right then talking to my American friend that I noticed how different two cultures can be, down to the amount of ice in a cup.

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