Colombia, Multiculturality, My life

A gringo who doesn’t slam car doors

Taxis in Colombia are tiny and yellow and look like Minions from Despicable Me:

Unlike cars sold in the US, their doors are light and flimsy. The drivers wince when they carry North American passengers, because the average tourist will slam the door, each slam cutting its lifespan significantly.

I don’t slam taxi doors. It doesn’t take that much effort to pull or push the door shut gently (or to notice the sign that says, “Please don’t slam the door!”). As a guest of Colombia, it’s my responsibility to adapt, just as we expect foreign visitors and immigrants to to follow US laws and customs.

Some of the cultural adaptation has stretched me. I’m an introvert by nature, but Colombian culture requires that I greet people with a handshake, a hug, or an airkiss; that I thank them profusely for any kindness; and that I participate in conversation even when I’d just as soon sit quietly in a corner.  When I leave the country,  I need to call the people with whom I spent time to say goodbye and thank them again for their hospitality. Not to do these things is considered rude. It would also reflect badly on my wife, who is the most gracious person I know.



8 thoughts on “A gringo who doesn’t slam car doors

  1. I like that visual comparison! Cute! 😀
    I like that you are adaptable there! You are a good representative of America! Thank you for being so! 🙂
    I like their cultural expectations/ways….we could all take a lesson from their example and be more gracious and thankful and respectful and kind. 🙂
    Hope you and Alicia are doing well! How did things go…especially related to the concert?
    HUGS for both of you!

  2. Lol!!! They really do look like them!!!

    And yeah. Latin culture requires the utmost affection and gratitude. Lol.

    Actually I have to fight the urge to hug and greet people all the time. Because that’s not normal for them when it is for me

    • Alicia radiates charm and affection even when people don’t understand her at all. Once at Sam’s she almost ran into a couple of ladies with her cart. She started to apologize, and next thing we knew, the ladies were hugging her, hugging her friend Maritza, hugging me, and I was taking photos of them… and they didn’t speak a word of Spanish! It was one of the most bizarre and wonderful things I’d ever experienced.

      So it can work even here to have Latin friendliness.

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