3 Expressions That Don’t Exist in Colombia

Here are a few things you won’t hear in Colombia:

1. Age gracefully, or its close relative, dress your age.

North American women of a certain age are expected to cut their hair short, let it go grey and start shopping at Chicos or the Dress Barn.  Not in Colombia.  Stiletto heels, lycra leggings, fake curves (front and back), lip injections, botox, face lifts… these are all totally acceptable for the grandmothers of Medellin.  Here are some grandmas who were attending Sam’s elementary school Christmas pageant at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning.


2.  Time is Money.

That is not a thing here. Your time means nothing in Colombia, where the first answer is always no.  Need to do some banking?  Plan for it to take a few days. Consider the first try a practice run, or an information gathering session, because you will be missing some documentation or a computer will be down or the appropriate staff person will be out or you will be there at 12:00 but wire transfers are done before 11:30, etc.  There is always some reason it can’t happen then. Don’t expect sympathy or an apology. There’s no malice, it’s just that time is not worth anything and therefore cannot be wasted. Waiting for a delivery? Get comfortable and expect it to come the next day.  When our washing machine broke I spent days at home waiting for the repairmen.  It took 2 weeks for it to be fixed. To be fair, the Whirlpool repair duo came at least four times during this 2 week period. They traveled on one moto with a random and very small selection of tools and parts. They were always missing some key part and would have to drive over an hour back to the city to find what they needed and then another hour back up the mountain to our house.  Sometimes they would come back the same day, but not if it was raining. This is a hard one to get used to but if you accept it, maybe even embrace it, all your worthless time here will be much more enjoyable.


Just waiting.


A guy about to say no. He told me to call back in 20 days.

3.  Safety first!

I have a new appreciation for traffic cops and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

This is a picture of what used to be a glass wall outside our bathtub. It may have been held in place by Elmer’s glue. It came off in my hand but was unfortunately way too big for me to hold up.  The glass put a hole through my jeans and a shampoo bottle as it fell- fortunately not a small child’s head.


Here are some kids hitching a ride up the mountain. No big deal.  What happens when they go down the mountain is way worse.


One Comment on “3 Expressions That Don’t Exist in Colombia”

  1. Ellen Orleans says:

    Whoa. I hadn’t heard about the glass shower door. Geez….


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