Last week I was attending a family meeting, not sure where or when but that is actually irrelivant for this post. For some reason we started talking about how things are different between Holland and Colombia. One of the hardest things for my wife and I am sure for the rest of my Colombian family and friends is that Dutch people tend to be very direct and not always that diplomatic.

An example:

Me asking the bill in a restaurant: “Oye, me puedes traer la cuenta?” (Hey you, can you bring me the bill?)

My wife asking the bill: “Disculpa senorita, me puede hacer un favor? Me podria traer la cuenta porque prefiero pagar en unos minutes. Muchisimas gracias!!” (Excuse me miss, could you do me favor? Would it be possible to bring me the bill as I would like to pay in a few minutes? Thank you so much!!)

One other thing that I noticed is that Colombians like to speak in extremes, especially the females. hehe
If I have dinner and I like something but it is nothing really special, I will say: “esta bien”, which means “it’s ok”. In Colombian that gets translated however as: “wow I really did not like it”

If you do not say that something is “delicioso!” (delicious) it is not good and people might even be offended. Something in the middle is not acceptable, so either really good or really bad.

One other interesting difference is that Colombian ladies (especially the moms and aunts) like to feed everyone like there will no food in the country tomorrow. So in dinners, parties etc, you will always be asked if you want more and they can be very convincing. Me being kind of skinny makes things worse I think as they think that I am underfed and need to gain some fat. The concept of no is no, has taken a long time to sink in, but now they realize that if I say that I am ok and do not want to eat more, I really mean it 😀

For sure there are many other differences both good and bad, but these are the few we had a good laugh about recently and more will have to follow later. I will take a notebook with me to make sure I remember more…


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