June 13, 2011

Hello Goodbye.

Sometimes it is still very obvious I am a foreigner, even after all the years I've lived here.  There are little things I do that I realize that I'm supposed to do a different way but I usually forget until after I've done them wrong.

Like in the U.S., at least in my neck of the woods, when you run into a friend or acquaintance at a store or restaurant you yell out "Hey!" or hi or hello.  Where I'm from it's a "Hey y'all!"  But here it's normal for people to yell out "Adios" when you are passing them.  I told my husband that sometimes I feel like the Beatles song Hello Goodbye.  "I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello. Hello, hello."

I also always say "Hola" to people when the proper greeting is "Buenos dias or Buenas tardes or noches".  I walk up to the door of the school to get my boys and automatically say Hola to the people around.  I think I must sound like a little kid when I do that.

Another thing I never get right is showing sympathy.  I'm good at showing it, but the words are always all wrong.  I second guess myself how to say I'm sorry for your loss or for whatever is making you sad.  I mostly just end up hugging the person.  That usually seems to smooth over my lack of eloquence.

At least I've got the kiss down.  I always go to the left for the hello and goodbye kiss.  When I was a student in Guadalajara, I accidentally went to the right and got my host family's aunt right on the mouth! Thankfully that one time was enough to learn the right direction.


  1. I never would have known that, I thought Hola would be the greeting. Of course, that's with my very limited 8th grade Spanish class. :)

    Living in another country would be exciting and somewhat difficult all at the same time.
    buenos noches! :)

  2. I think the adios when you pass someone is weird also. I always seem to mess up the buenas dias/tardes/noches thing and say the wrong greeting for the time of day

  3. Buenos Dias, Emily :) It is exciting and difficult and fun too. Depending on which day you ask me!

  4. I agree I thought it was weird they say adios while passing people. I enjoy the Buenas dias/tardes/ noches though, most people in the US dont even say hello to you while passing by.

  5. Oh, man. You've been here twice as long as me, so I may NEVER get those right! Thanks for sharing, so now I know that I'm not just exceptionally slow to picking up these quirks. =P And I do often find myself singing "Hello, Goodbye" when walking down the street for the same reasons. Adios!

  6. Hi Karen! I found your blog from a comment you left on another blog, which I can't remember which one it was. But anyway, I will never forget the time I went to kiss one of my student's fathers on the cheek and we both got all confused and my lipstick ended up on the tip of his nose. I handed him a Kleenex to clean himself up and then he put it in his pocket. I thought to myself, "Poor guy...I hope his wife doesn't find it." But I never made that mistake again. :(

  7. Adios a todas!

    Jackie, It's nice to "meet" you. I've seen your blog too. I am very jealous that you have nearby Dairy Queens. Maybe someday they'll come to Puebla. :)

    Jill, good to "see" you. I think there will always be something we just won't get right even after a lifetime here :)

  8. I'm loving your blog! Just found it via Leslie Limon's mexpat list. I'm from Georgia, so I was totally realting to the hey yall, the feeling of being in a Beetles song, had me laughing. hello/goodbye.... too funny. Glad I found ya. Can't wait to read more.

  9. Hey Tara. I'm glad there is another Peach around here! Thanks for reading :) I'm gonna go check out your blog :) Dios te bendiga!