Sunday, October 21, 2007

Water Fountain Drinking 101

During our visit to the States this past summer, I realized my daughters weren't up to speed on American kid culture--when their cousins talked about things like Hannah Montana and American Girl dolls, my girls had no idea what they were talking about. I could have predicted that--after all, we don't get American television stations and commercials here.

But there were other things they didn't know that I never would have predicted.

One day, my 8-year-old daughter stopped to get a drink from a water fountain while we were shopping at the mall. She finished, and I saw that her shirt was wet. Not just damp, mind you--she had water splashed all down the front.

Me: Honey, what happened to your shirt?
Daughter: Nothing. I was just getting a drink.
Me: Is the fountain broken? Did the water squirt out too fast?
Daugher, eyebrow raised: Noooo. Why?
Me (wondering how in the world she got her shirt that wet from a water fountain): Can you show me how you took that drink?

So my daughter pressed the button, and up came the stream of water. She stuck out her tongue and started lapping up the water, getting her shirt even wetter.

Me: Honey, what are you doing?
Daughter (now exasperated): Getting a drink! (The "What does it look like I'm doing??" was implied).

And then I remembered, and I had to laugh.

When Americans go to Italy, one of the things they notice is the lack of drinking fountains. But Italy has water fountains, they're just disguised. Here's one in the photo below:

It look more like a bird bath, or a place where the village washerwoman rinses out the clothes, doesn't it? Not many people drink from these fountains--mostly joggers and kids. When you do, the water comes rushing out in a turbo gush, and you have no choice but to try and lap it up as best you can. So that was my daughter's drinking fountain point of reference. When I did an American drinking fountain demo for her, she laughed, tried it again, and drank like a pro.

When in America...


Barbara Y said...

I wasn't sure you could drink from those fountains until I saw this one on the island of Murano. Since the Italian and English words are only one letter different, I had to wonder why the sign-maker thought a translation was necessary.

Natalie said...

Thanks for the photo Barb! There's a similar fountain near my daughter's school--this is the model that splashes the most, and thus loved by all children. :-)

List of Things Lost said...

I noticed the same thing when I took my girls back for fall break.

They were 'out of the loop' for a few things. And mostly just surprised about others.

We're all ice cream freaks but we eat gelato. After trying a bunch of ice cream samples my youngest chose raspberry without a sample.

She didn't like it. It didn't have seeds. "It doesn't taste like gelato" then she said, "It tastes like alcohol" (of course she said it really loud and heads turned). I know everyone in the creamery was wondering what kind of mother I am if my 7 yr old kiddo knows what alcohol tastes like. I tried to explain to my sister that some ice creams have a bit of alcohol....


List of Things Lost said...

Another thing... my oldest (11) couldn't get her mind around the concept that people had to be 18 to go into a bar. Why? Why? Why? That doesn't make any sense!

She used to hang out at the bar / cafe in Italy when she was in 2nd grade waiting for me to pick her up from the school bus.

But even some dance clubs here have age limit - 15 or 16 or 18. So I just told her, "bars in the US are like dance clubs not cafes." it was the only way I could think to explain it.