halfsies: part 2

IMG_0539i was at the airport gate in medellin a while back and the airline attendant announced we would begin general boarding. we all pleasantly crowded about in a group.

“una fila por favor,” the lady requested a straight line. we all kind of shuffled our feet and basically remained where we were. i laughed to myself and thought, “this is as good a line as you’re gonna get.”

to my friend, i smiled and said, “una fila colombiana.”

the man in front of me turned, “y como son las filas europeanas?” what’s a european line like?*

i smiled, “ay, todas serias y rectas. asi…” i made a straight line gesture with my hand and saluted. you know, europeans are so serious with their queues and order, no? we are beautiful and happy because we don’t care.

he said something else i didn’t understand, but i laughed. which is what i do when i don’t understand spanish. then suddenly, i realized he was yelling at me.

“tengo el orgullo colombiano en mi corazon! regresate para europa!” oh shit. serious?

“oye, soy colombiana, señor. tengo orgullo de todo lo que es colombiano. lo bueno y lo malo.”

“no! no lo eres! eres de europa!”

“todos somos de europa, y igual somos colombianos.”

he just kept on keeping on…

“ok, ok, ok, señor. ya, ya pues. para. ya.” dude, stop, i pleaded, but on and on he went.

“dejalo, señor. tu no me conoces, y no me importa. ya, ciao.” he continued as he walked down the gate.

“ciao. ciao. ciao,” i said, as i shooed him away with my hands.

i’m pretty sure i was the spitting image of my mother in that moment. rolling my eyes, shaking my head, my arms crossed, and sighing out of my nostrils with my lips pressed together. este hijo de puta quien se piensa? the nerve of this guy.

if you can’t appreciate the beauty and the beast of a culture then, in my opinion, you’re  either exotifying or stereotyping it. if it’s your own culture, then you need to come to terms with some of your own shit. i mean, if someone’s straight up insulting with malice, then let’s kick their ass. i’m with ya. i’ll totally be look out. otherwise, let’s just own our own nonsense.

because i’m halfsies i think i can get away with shit i can’t. those who just see my features, my skin tone, and my english, don’t see all of me and get upset. but if this dude wanted to skool me, he went about it very much the wrong way; the colombian way *wink* all yells and cara de mala leche. it just made him seem like he was ashamed we don’t follow our colonizers orders about how to board planes. sucker. he should have been like, “nena, yo entiendo. pero ojo con la gente a tu alredor cuando dices cosas asi.” then i would have been the one properly shamed. i should be more careful about how i’m perceived and who is around me. i know better. but his debasing of my european roots -which surely, white man, are yours too- and his negating the allowances of my heritage were too ultra male and defensive. it gave me the yucks (not yuks) for hours.

when i do foreign accents or describe people by their features and skin tone, some folks are initially put off. let’s not pretend we don’t see these things, people! let’s revel in all of our funny speech, terrible customs, triumphs and follies, ridiculous sayings, wondrous traditions, oppressive paradigms, inspiring songs, sadistic and rebellious histories, and fabulously tacky fashions. it’s funny cause it’s true; let’s laugh to keep from crying. pretending they’re not there only serves to divide us more. i’m a firm believer that conversing about and referencing our idiosyncrasies (with tact and grace) reminds us we’re all human.

the blessing of my multiculturalism is that i can see in and out. it has given me the gift of perception (though broadening that vision is a daily education), the curse is no one knows it and they try to steal my precious from me. tricksies. false.

*the following dialogue has been changed to make me sound cooler than i am.


About trying not to touch anything

living in a space where i am half packed, or half unpacked, depending on how you look at it; going somewhere else; wanting to write about my misadventures on a planet i don't feel like i should be on

One response to “halfsies: part 2”

  1. Dasha says :

    I find that when other Russians say true things about our culture and peoples flaws and things, I do not mind…but when a non Russian stereotypes and says things I get aggravated. I think it is because this person has no idea what he/she is talking about and is just repeating what he/she has heard instead of actually delving in and seeing what it’s really like.

    I want to hear your Russian accent! Haha =)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: