If you’re unfamiliar with the word in the title, it’s a diminutive for “gorda” which means “fat” in Spanish. The Colombians LOVE their additions of -ito or -cito or -on or any other modifier. A lot of times I think I don’t understand, but then I realize it’s because a modifier was added to it!
Anyways. You’re probably wondering why my blog post is titled Fat. Well, let’s put it this way…Colombians are blunt. Not in a bad way. Rather, I quite like it in certain settings. I’ve been told I’m blunt and too honest as well, so I guess I’m in good company. But when it comes to certain words, there are things you don’t say to other people in the states. Especially to a woman. Turns out that’s simply our cultural norm. We decide to use words like “plump”, “chunky”, “big-boned”, or “heavyset” to describe a bigger body, but never [GASP!] the “f-word”.
Let me explain. A few funny situations have happened in the past couple weeks:
1. I was having a conversation with a Colombian teacher at school about our holidays. I joked about how I ate so much food over the vacation because I missed the variety back home (and it was Christmas time…I mean, come on). His response? “Si…te veo más gorda” while gesturing toward his face. (“Yes, I see you have gotten fatter”.) I was in initial shock, but we laughed it off as I tried to explain that even if it IS true, you shouldn’t say that to a lady!
2. I was having a conversation with one of the workers in our complex the other day. He made a comment about “la gordita” (“the fat one”) referring to a lady nearby. I think my jaw dropped, but luckily I had my previous experience to remember that it’s not offensive here! It’s just how they describe someone so you know to whom they are referring.
3. Lastly, tonight my friend, her Colombian boyfriend, and I were chatting. I was making a smoothie for dinner (bananas, blueberries, blackberries, plain yogurt, fiber mix, spinach, and water…nom). He was very curious, and perhaps a bit weirded out, by this mixture. I mentioned I’m trying to stay fit, as I had just come from the gym, too. His response? “Ahh si, estabas más gorda cuando llegaste de los EEUU.” (“Yes, you were fatter when you arrived from the USA.”) Again, jaw drop. My friend and I were both laughing and trying to explain how rude that is to us. Being Colombian, he had no idea how that came across to me because again, it’s not a big deal here to use that word.
Learning to laugh at these situations and misunderstandings are all part of the fun and challenges that come along with living in a new country. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Even if I’m “gordita” from all my American food and drinks while I was home. 🙂