Stay in a country long enough and you’ll begin to notice some of the nuances that you wouldn’t necessarily see as a tourist. I’ve mentioned the lukewarm seat sitting on buses here in Colombia, but one thing that I have been paying attention to lately is facial expressions.
Sometimes we use such few words in Colombia. You don’t say: Can I use the computer to print some documents? But: A computer, for printing? with a slight inflection at the end of the sentence.
Sometimes the use of any words at all is made redundant because, well, you can ask questions and make statements with just your face. Here are my five favourite Colombian facial expression. Can you think of any more?
1. It’s over there. Here in Colombia, people use their mouths to point. If you’re at the grocery store and the guy behind the counter asks you which eggs you want. Just make this face in the direction of which ones you’re after. Words? No need my friends.
2. How much is it? Just had a bite to eat in a little tieneda down the road? Waiting at the counter for the dueña to let you know how much it cost? Make this expression and it will loosely translate to “How much?” Of course, actually asking using words is much more polite.
3. I don’t know. This one I think is pretty well-know world wide, but here it is done with big hand movements and shrugging of the shoulders.
4. Mamasita linda. For my fellow female expats, I am sure you hear me on this one. There you are, walking down the street, minding your own business, walking home in the rain perhaps, you know, totally normal. And then, out of nowhere, there is a man who thinks that this is a suitable salutation to a women in the street. It’s not. This, loosely translated means, “How YOU doin’?”
5. Not often have I seen a fiery Colombian, but this is the face of both rage and jubilation. This facial expression could be used either when a driver’s car has been hit by a taxi and they quickly jump out of their seat to start throwing verbals at the driver, or this could also be the face of winning a partido. Gooooooooooooooooool.
Can you think of any? What have I missed?