Saturday, March 20, 2010

faux pas

A common way to greet people here in the Philippines is by raising your eyebrows and lifting your chin just a bit. As you walk along the street, it's a polite way to say hello without speaking. I use this often as a friendly gesture, since the no speaking part fits my personality to a T.

I always feel so culturally 'in' when I do it, too.
But what's that saying about pride goes before a fall?

The other day I was walking to take out the trash. I waited for an approaching jeepney to pass before crossing the street to the dumpsters. As the jeepney drove by, I raised my eyebrows to the driver in greeting.

To my surprise the jeepney immediately ground to a halt. I realized too late that, to the jeepney driver, the raised eyebrows meant I wanted a lift.

I'm sure we'll make worse mistakes over time, but as I dumped the trash and hurriedly headed home, carefully avoiding any more eye contact, I was pretty embarrassed at my glaringly obvious Amerikano ignorance.



Heritage Clan said...

You almost had to ride that jeepney with your trash!! LOL That was so funny!

us5 said...

i've since learned that i should only use that raised eyebrow greeting with other women. now i'm REALLY embarrassed...!!! :blush: