A Cultural Space: Through The Looking Glass

I think my cultural space is something where I find myself at ease, where everything feels normal to me. For me, that cultural space would entail me being surrounded by my family and friends, at home, on a golf course, and even down at a pub. I guess what I am trying to say is that my cultural space can be found almost anywhere and does not necessarily have one specific geographical location.

The reason I can say my cultural space does not take up one geographical location is because I am a frequent traveler. Even though I might be visiting other parts of the United States, and sometimes part of Europe, I still manage to find myself, at one time or another, at ease.

The strongest time I felt like I was supposed to be somewhere else, besides in Minnesota or Wisconsin, was when I visited Germany. Do not get me wrong, I did have an abrupt experience of cultural shock about fifteen minutes after getting off the plane and driving on the autobahn. I got lost and decided to ask for directions at a rest stop. I walked up to a man and asked, in German, “Do you speak English?” I thought it would be polite to speak his language first, and, since I was told almost everyone in Germany spoke English, I had no worries. I was mistaken. But it all worked out in the end, and it was more or less clear sailing from there.

I have never felt more at home in my life than when I was in Germany. So maybe that is it, what a cultural space is. The feeling of being at home. But then again, nothing is ever that simple. Surely other things come into play when considering a cultural space.

If I were to add anything to what a cultural space can be is that it would be deeply influenced by the experiences gained, or lost, during a new cultural adventure. Another thing I enjoy is being a Beer Geek. A Beer Geek is someone who enjoys trying new brews and talking about them with others. And a lot of this takes place at beer tasting festivals where there may be over fifty different breweries. But anyway, I like talking with people that I probably would never have met in my lifetime, and, of course, drinking the beer.

It is an experience that I enjoy and feel comfortable doing, but would I have enjoyed it so much if I found the people boring or weird, or if the beer was not so delicious? Probably not.

Therefore, I know my cultural space, and how it changes to fit my surroundings, is dependent upon how I feel, but knowing someone else’s cultural space would be hard to judge. A cultural space is an abstract and difficult idea to explain, but there are some absolute truths. It does not necessarily have a geographic location, and it can change depending upon experiences of an individual and how those experiences change the individual’s identity.


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