Casual Conversation – US vs. Colombia

This won’t be an exposé on the subject of the post’s title but I hope it will provide an unlocked door or open window into one of the differences between the lifestyles we lead in the US versus those of Colombians in their own country.The following is from Sandy, a blogger from the US who recently spent a considerable amount of time getting to know Colombia and is already wanting to return south. One of the main differences is…

“Fear… a lot of conversations overheard in U.S. malls, shops, grocery stores, etc., seem to be about fear – “I’m afraid the world is….”, “Aren’t you afraid your retirement funds will disappear?”, “Did you hear that Social Security is likely to be stopped?”, and “What if we have an earthquake?” It is true my Latin American Spanish is not high-level functioning but I was able to eavesdrop a little bit on conversations in similar locales down there and the message I got there was significantly more hopeful: “Aren’t you glad we got a little rain today?”, “We are excited about our daughter’s school report…”, “It was nice that the doctor took time to explain that procedure to us…”, and “It was good that the cost of dinner was less than we expected.” Much of the phrasing seems to be aimed at a positive view of things instead of fearful.”

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One thought on “Casual Conversation – US vs. Colombia

  1. I just bought a second home in Medellin, where the murder rate is rising due to factional gang violence. We are still aware that it is there. Yet, we are completely surrounded by people expressing optimism and confidence. In New York, and in my parents home in central Florida, however, the media and the talk has all been about fear and imminent ruination. So often repeated you’d think folks would get over it. But after 9.11 and now after two sustained wars started in the wake of 9.11, our military consciousness is us vs. them in the US, which demonizes, e.g., Chavez. Colombians, instead, are using less fear and absolutist rhetoric, and are solving their particular problem with Chavez – trade, payments, and the FARC. Which is the can-do country?

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