Enjoying Small Differences of Serving in Another Country

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Living in Colombia is quite the experience, and the cultural anecdotes unforgettable.  Being a Peruvian Latina does not absolve me from having confusing moments about work or colloquial phrases that I don’t understand: “Su mercé” (literally “his mercy,” used as a formal second person reference) – Me: “Who is Mercé?”  / “¿Qué más?” (literally “what more?” but used as a form of asking how are you?) – Me: “What more of what?” Here, “chusco” means handsome, but for me this word means ordinary; the most common answer here is “Sí señora,” (“yes, Mrs.”), but I’m not a Mrs!  However, they use it out of respect…

The customs are a bit different: renting washing machines is very common and they bring it right to your house!  Incredible!  At Christmas, it is typical to eat buñuelos (fried corn balls) and natilla (a gelatin desert).  Even though they are very different from what we have in my land, they are delicious.  In December, there is no such thing as a diet because one also has to eat lots of tamal (vegetables and meat in rice wrapped in plantain leaves)!! To end, let me share with you some of the everyday realities from my time serving in Ibagué, Colombia.

Foto 1

¿Do you have a boyfriend?- No. – But you’re young and I am too!! – Christmas with habitants of the streets, 2013 – Mennonite Church of Ibagué

Foto 2Renting the washing machine with home delivery included!

Foto 3Here, one eats the potato with the skin.

Foto 4Celebrating birthdays with water and flour

Foto 5The buñuelo is round and the natilla is curdled… delicious delicacies of Christmas

Foto 6Little clowns ready!!! – Anita and Angelo getting ready to bring joy to the children of the Combeima – Christmas 2013

Foto 7Colombia in the quarterfinals of the world cup!! Unmissable, every place was full; a good option- the electronics store.


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