Tag Archives: costeño

Estrenando….Project #CarasDeColombia

Nota: Este es el primer articulo en un serie titulado: #CarasDeColombia. Voy a agregar historias, fotos y entrevistas usando el hashtag. Por favor, agreguen a la colecion con sus propios fotos y historias! Y si, gracias a @humansofny por la inspiracion inicial de un proyecto de este tipo.  

La colombia que yo he conocido estos dos años se puede describir en una sola palabra: vibrante. Los colores son fuertes, la musica dura, las sonrisas brillantes y los abrazos grandes.

Esta colombia clama recursos naturales abundantes (la selva amazona, desiertos, las

Industrias naturales de Colombia
Industrias naturales de Colombia
Negrita Puloy en las carnavales 2014

fincas de cafe, rios y dos costas). Esta colombia es reconocida por su crecimimento de economia y potencial tecnologica. Esta colombia esta lleno de mochileros de moda y turistas, atractivos a la costa colonial y el interior bonito. Esta colombia, para mi, se caracteriza por la foto a la derecha. 

Pero desafortunadamente, esta colombia tiene sombra de otra colombia. Han pasado unas decadas de oscuridad y una mala reputacion sigue rondeando la generacion de hoy. De todas las miles de conversaciones que he tenido con colombianos, una pregunta frequente es: “que piensan los norteamericanos sobre colombia?” Es decir, “los norteamericanos creen que los colombianos son todos narcotraficantes y terroristas?”

Espero que no. Pero gracias a Hollywood, los estereotipos de TV y unos niños malos en Nueva Jersey quienes tormentaron a los primos de mi estudiante, queda mucho por hacer.

Este proyecto tiene meta de poner una nueva cara al nombre de Colombia. Aunque sea imposible definir un colombiano tipico, yo puedo captuar personas vivas y sonantes, y mostrar su realidad. Este proyecto comparte viñetas de conversaciones y las historias de Colombia.

Esta es mi, tu, nuestra Colombia.



Costeno Body Language 101

Have you ever seen a coastal Colombian talk? It’s 85% body language with animated facial expressions, broad hand gestures and full-body emphasis on the Most Important Points. Even their feet are fidgety, listo to break into a salsa step. Imaginate what it’s like when the subject matter actually involves dancing!

Because or body language is so central to the culture, the idiosyncratic gestures and facial expressions are essential communication tools to survive as adopted costenos.

Once you master these haptics, your cultural fluency will skyrocket, your language skills will improve, and costenos everywhere will adore you (if only to laugh at you.)

How to Ask for Clarification with Your Nose 

This is the costeno shrug, the Colombian gesture for the universal “huh?” Use this gesture to say you don’t understand, to ask for the speaker to repeat their statement, to indicate a doubt or question, or to amuse your host family.

Continue reading Costeno Body Language 101

Integrated and it feels so good

(Note: This week, I’m writing my one-year-in-service reflections. There’s a more comprehensive post coming, but I was enjoying writing this mini blog tangent, so I figured I’d share it now!) 

Here’s a huge–though gradual and ongoing–success: I’m integrated! That is to say, the integration and culture struggles no longer take the bulk of my time or energy. At the beginning, every conversation took extensive effort, and I spent a lot of time getting lost, asking questions, observing people and trying to deduce the idiosyncrasies of this culture.  Continue reading Integrated and it feels so good

To Run is To Live: My pueblo has a running club!

After somewhat accidentally signing up for running club last weekend, I had a 5k today with our motley group in a nearby town.

I’ve run a few races here in Colombia, but this race was something special! The invitees came from all the small towns in the area, and the whole thing was free–including the salsa music at the starting line!

I got about 3 hours of sleep due to a karaoke night next door, so I was dragging a bit by the time we got to the place (keep in mind this is all on Colombian time–it takes roughly 45 minutes longer to accomplish anything, so we met at 5:30, left at 6:30, started the race an hour and a half late, and so on…)

But let me tell you, you have not truly enjoyed a pre-race warmup session until you’ve danced champeta on the starting line at 8 am!

I’ve been using my Polar heart rate monitor to set my running pace, so I settled in to a pretty quick pace. It’s only a 5k (3miles) after all–I can push myself the whole way through.

Fast forward 35 minutes, and it turns out that this race was more like 8 kilometers (5 miles), with hills, in what was now the heat of the day since we got such a late start!

Thank God for the unexpected kid with the garden hose at mile 3, and the water stations roughly every quarter mile!

But what really kept me going was the incredible support from the pueblo: everyone was on their front porch cheering, and the kids ran alongside us.

“Cheer for the gringa!”

“Go, blond girl, go!”

“Look at that Dutch girl run!”

I finally started fist pumping and panting “U-S-A” to the crowds, because I can’t have anyone thinking the sole foreigner in this race was Dutch. Gotta rep my country!

So once I finally made it all the way in, and successfully sprinted to pass the woman I’d been tailing, I crossed the finish line and then the fun began!

Here’s a few notes on costeños: they love nothing more than telling jokes, eating soup, taking selfies and listening to coastal music! So, true to form, we proceeded to take a load of sweaty pictures, eat hot soup, recount every minute of the race together and dance salsa in the street! (Confession: I did most of the dancing).

I met a sweet indigenous guy from the north in Guajira, who gave me a pretty bracelet he made and introduced us to his brother. Those kids ran like the wind!

Finally, we said our goodbyes (I made a lot of new friends) and trekked to the bus….stopping, of course, for 5 bottles of soda and a bag of cookies….then again for chicharrones! Needless to say, I stuck to my banana and Gatorade. Oh, my costeños…

To conclude the wild day, on the bus, I was somehow elected the secretary of this running club, so it sounds like there will be more races to come!

Continue reading To Run is To Live: My pueblo has a running club!