10 things you learn in when you live in Latin America

Note: This was written from the point of view of a European girl `with Latin America. I realize Latin America is a very big concepts and that there might be a lot of differences between countries and regions. This was not mend to offend anyone, nor was it meant to state an absolute truth. I hope you could all enjoy it.


1. “Ahora” doesn’t mean “now”

Yes, that’s what they told you in your Spanish course. It’s what your tourist suggested in its ‘useful words segment. Even the dictionary seems to agree that ‘ahora’ translates to ‘now’. Yet the definition of the word ‘now’ seems to be a little (read: very) different from the definition people have in Latin America, and however often you try to get something done “this instant”, you will fail.

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So everything they told me was a lie!?

2. You really can’t dance

Sure, after that 6 week salsa course you took you felt fairly confident to say “Si” when people asked you if you could dance salsa, but once you got on that dance floor you realized that, even though the attempts are well-intended, it simply doesn’t cut it compared to the people who grew up in a culture where rhythm and dancing were much more important. But that’s okay because you can enjoy the fiesta just as much by just watching it.

And let’s be honest, the best way to make new contacts is to ask a latino/a to teach you their incredible skills.


3. Music can never be too loud

Where you might have been taught that you shouldn’t put your music too loud because it might bother other people, in Latin America the concept of enjoying your own music quietly with headphones seems to be quite unknown, because if you enjoy the music so should everybody else!

And if the bus is trembling from the reggaeton beat the driver listens to all day, this should never keep you from putting on your own music at maximum volume.

Two types of music, twice the fun right?

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4. Asia is not the nr. 1 consumer of rice

I used to think rice was typically Asian untill I had to eat rice and beans two to three times a day. They eat so much rice, a meal without rice is not even considered a meal.

And then there are looks you get when you tell them you actually don’t eat rice back in your home country.

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So. Much. Rice.

5. There is no such thing as Spanish

.. Because the moment you have managed to communicate in one country, you realize that once you travel not everybody is going to understand you when you say “estaba parkiando con mis frenes”. And when you arrive in Spain aka the motherland, you might be quite confused with the things they “coger” over there.

There are numerous variations in Spanish, wether it be the way they pronounce things, words they made up or words that just mean something completely different somewhere else. I guess we`ll just have to accept the fact that you will never really speak `spanish`.

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6. Not everyone is tall, dark and incredibly romantic

In western countries the image we have of ‘Latinos’ is this Antonio Banderas, mysterious, handsome, playing a love song on his guitar with his shirt half unbuttoned. And what about Sofia Vergara with her adorable accent and curvaceous body. But once you have arrived to Latin America you soon realize that this idea was a little bit romanticized.

Besides, Latinos come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Depending on the country you might encounter people whiter than most Europeans/Americans or darker than many Africans, and everything that lies between that. No wonder, seeing the entire population of the American continent is based on immigrants from different continents.

And although many (read: all) bachata songs are about the excruciating passion between to people, the day to day romance you will get as a woman doesn’t go much further than “oye mamita, psst pssst, ven paca! ‘tas buena oye!”.  



7. Chinese people are EVERYWHERE

One of the last things I expected to see in Latin America was Chinese people. But they are there alright, and there are LOTS of them. With their little supermarkets (chinos) and their restaurants. I have seen the most tiny villages where they only had one store, and that one store was managed by the Chinese! I don’t know how they do it, I don’t know why they do it, but I have to say: well done China! You are one step closer to world domination.

8. Addresses/directions are overrated

How hard is it to just tell people your street name and house number? Yet every time you ask someone where they live they will tell you the color of their house and the supermarket/restaurant/any significant place that is nearby to guide you in the right direction.

And once you do finally get a home address, not even the taxi driver has a clue where it is. And neither do the neighbors. So in the end you just learn to accept that yes, they live in the yellow house 15 meters behind the second chino on the largest street in your barrio.

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So you live on McDonalds street?

9. … And so is time

We have already established that the definition of ‘now’ is probably quite different from our definition, and this is probably because the whole concept of time is experienced in a different way. When a party starts at 9, you show up at 10 because you know parties start later than people say they do, only to discover you are still the first one to arrive.

And at the supermarket, where paying and packing your groceries was usually done simultaneously to speed up the process, here nobody seems to mind that the cashier is extensively talking to their co worker while taking what seems like to be forever to count your change. Oh well.

¨Yeah let`s meet at 3¨

10. It’s not all ‘Mexico’

Deep down we all knew it, but weren’t we all a bit disappointed by the fact that it`s not a giant beach where everyone walks around like a mariachi with a sombrero filled with nachos and guacamole while shouting “Arriba, arriba” and drinking tequila. Sigh.

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Es ist eine einfache masterarbeit schreiben lassen kosten elektrische quelle, in der elektrische energie gespeichert ist und die als spannungsquelle zur verfügung steht.

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