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.

.

2 comments:

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: