Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What Provokes You?

There will be a continuing Colombia afterglow on this blog until I get back in town and start the regularity of normal life. Here's another quick story about culture and language.

One of the members of our delegation was Pastor Samuel, a Guatemalan who is the pastor of an Hispanic church in Portland. During his stay with his sister church in Colombia, he happened to be alone with the pastor's wife at their house, and she asked him in Spanish "So, what provokes you?"

What a great question, I thought. I should ask more people that - it is very open-ended and filled with possibilities. However, in Guatemala, the wording of it in Spanish could also be interpreted as "So, what turns you on?"

Hmmm, thought Pastor Samuel, I'm not quite sure what she means by this. In fact, this could become downright uncomfortable. After an uneasy silence, she offered some options: "Chocolate, juice, water" other beverage options. Ah, he thought, here it just means "would you like anything?" He gratefully accepted a beverage.

Apparently, miscommunication and cultural differences are not limited to gringos in South America. For that I am grateful.


brownie said...

I'm turned on by being provoked.

I'm provoked by being turned on.


Dan S said...