Next Door Neighbors

by Angie Washington on January 18, 2013

This is a get-to-know-you post! In the comment box leave the answers to one or more of the following.

Questions:

1. Where do you currently reside?

2. What languages do you speak?

3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living?

4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten?

5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why?

This will be fun! You might want to check back later to scan the comments to see if you have some geographical neighbors here at A Life Overseas.

NOTE: I understand that some people in restricted access regions may not be able to disclose certain specifics, so general answers and pen names are welcome so everyone who wants to “play” along may indeed do so.

While you are here, if you like, you can add your blog to the directory page and grab a button for A Life Overseas to put on your site. Thanks!

– Angie Washington, co-editor of A Life Overseas, missionary living in Bolivia, South America

blog: angiewashington.com twitter: @atangie work blog: House of Dreams Orphanage

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About Angie Washington

Co-Founder, Editor of this collaborative blog site: A Life Overseas
  • 1. Where do you currently reside? Kampala, Uganda

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten? fried grasshopper

  • 1. Where do you currently reside? Bolivia

    2. What languages do you speak? Spanish, English, and gringo

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living? a kiss on the cheek with a handshake for gal – gal and gal – guy greetings. A handshake and a pat on the elbow of the other person with the other hand is the proper guy – guy greeting. And everyone says, “¿Cómo estás?” How are you?

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten? Llama here in Bolivia. I ate bugs in Africa on a short term trip though.

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why? Bolivia would be a pick up truck from the 1960’s because I feel like we step back in time when we come back to Bolivia after being away for a bit. And a pick up truck because of all the majority of the population work the land.

    • did you like the llama? i don’t mind camel, except i hate the smell of it cooking and the meat has a greenish tint to it if it is more than a day old.

      • Llama is the meat with the lowest cholesterol. I found it boring. But it might have been the preparation. They tell me llama jerky is the best but you can only find it in the highlands.

  • Anne

    1. Where do you currently reside? Italy

    2. What languages do you speak? English & Italian

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living? With friends: Ciao & a kiss on each cheek.

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten? Horse.

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why? Probably a Ferrari out for a Sunday drive, because Italians really do know how to kick back and enjoy the good life 😉

  • 1. Djibouti

    2. Somali, French, English

    3. Girl-girl: take the right hand and kiss the back, then the other does the same thing. Or 2-4 cheek kisses. Say: “Peace be upon you” (in Arabic).

    4. Fried flying ants

    5. A donkey cart.

    • kids here catch termites flying around right after a hatch and munch on those… mks included. my girls like the fried grasshoppers “… just like eating chips except you’ve gotta be sure you don’t get the legs or antenna caught in your teeth.” (a direct quote from one of my girls, seriously).

  • 1. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

    2. Mongolian, English, German, a smidge of Spanish

    3. No touching usually unless you know them very well, if meeting someone for the first time you may shake hands. You say “Sain baina uu?” which means hello/are you well?

    4. Horse or dumplings made with goat stomach

    5. a horse drawn cart or a boxy Soviet style truck- the one for the nomadic lifestyle and reliance on horses for transportation and the other for the long Soviet history and influence.

  • 1. St. Kitts, West Indies

    2. English with a little Caribbean dialect ‘mon!

    3. Good day, or Good night… and “taps” which is a local hand shake with a fist bump thrown in.

    4. Cook up which is beans, rice, spices and a meat cooked all day. It’s delicious. But the meat someone gave us with it once was pig snout, salt fish and pig feet. We like it better with chicken 😉

    5. Some kind of stick shift/ 4 wheel drive to get around all the pot holes!

  • Liz K

    1. Where do you currently reside? Costa Rica

    2. What languages do you speak? English and Spanish

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living? Girl-girl, girl -guy, kiss on the cheek, and a slight hug. Guy-guy, hand shake. ¿Comó esta? How are you?

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten? Cow utter (in Bolivia)

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why? A toyota pickup with a wooden bed, a coffee picking truck because this country’s national identity is so connected to coffee!

    • I still haven’t gotten the guts to try the utter. 😛 Get it? Gut? Utter? har har har 🙂

      • Liz K

        har har har…you should…although the texture is weird…you know, sorta like you think an utter would be…sorta gelatinous and wiggly 🙂

  • 1. Where do you currently reside? Ukraine

    2. What languages do you speak?

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living?

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten?

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why?

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  • 1. Where do you currently reside?
    US, but recently lived in SE Asia.
    2. What languages do you speak?
    English, Thai
    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living?
    Hands together, on chest like you are praying, bow
    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten?

    bamboo worms, fried

    Thanks, Angie– great idea!

    • It’s been fun! Although, some of these weird foods are grossing me out at just the thought. Gah!

  • 1. Where do you currently reside? Ethiopia

    2. What languages do you speak? English

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living? For females – hug or handshake w/ 2 to 4 cheek kisses; female to male- handshake w/ a shoulder bump

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten? octopus (in another country)

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why? horse and cart; country is fighting so hard to develop but stuck so much in the past. (Horse and buggies are common in the area of the US I am from also).

  • Tanja

    2. What languages do you speak? English, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, and the local Creole

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living? Clasp your hands in front of your chest if you are a woman greeting a musl. man. Always: How are you? (good), followed by a number of the following “How is work?”, or “How is your family?”, “How are your children?” (regardless if you have any or not, you will answer “they are fine”), “How was your morning?” “how are your cows?” and so on…. Greeting is the single most important thing here, you do not take it lightly! 😉

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten? Spaghetti bolognese – with monkey meat!

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why? A seven-passenger Peugeot that rides very low due to the fact that there are in fact 13 passengers inside instead of 7, 2 of these on the roof rack and the rest inside. Next to the 2 people on the roof are a couple of live goats, some chickens, about 15 jumbo palm oil containers and miscellanious baggage. Around my neck of the woods, there is always room for one more!

  • 1. Somewhere in Asia

    2. Fluent in English and one Asian language

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living? hands together like a prayer

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten? boiled blood, snakes, 2 inch bugs.

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why? a cat because the people love to lay around and do nothing. 😛

  • 1. Currently US, most recently Portugal
    2. English and broken Portuguese
    3. In Portugal, a kiss on each cheek
    4. Octopus
    5. A small car, double-parked in front of a cafe. Because double-parking is acceptable and you have to have your morning and/or afternoon coffee.

  • 1. W. Africa
    2. English, French, Zarma, smidgen of Hausa

    3. Same sex, uneducated – handshake and a whole series of questions: How are you? How was your sleep? How is your body? How is your family? How is your husband/wife? How is your children? How is your fatigue? How are your beans? How is the heat?…. and so on… Different sexes – skip the handshake. And if you meet up with someone who is more educated or traveled – cheek to cheek, starting on the right, three times…blowing kiss into the air.
    4. bugs, camel, chicken feet, and parts of lamb/goat I really would rather not know precisely hidden in the sauce
    5. Check out the photo!

    • That picture is awesome, Richelle! “How is your fatigue?” that’s interesting. And are you expected to respond honestly to these questions or simply politely acknowledge that the questions were made?

      • “fatigue? aint got none” – is the equivalent and typical colloquial response… after which you immediately ask the same set of questions… saying howdy is often a 5 minute battery where no real information is exchanged… after that, you can get into the real talking or each person goes on their way.

        • Isn’t it interesting how superficial the exchange of information is during a greeting yet if you pass over it the hurt runs so deep? The meaning of the meeting is more important than the content of the conversation.

    • Adele Booysen

      Richelle, having lived in rural Kenya, I can relate to your list of questions. It was interesting to see how, when talking on the phone, my Kenyan friends would most certainly skip all the questions (even a hello or a good-bye) seeing that they were paying for the talk time. On the phone, it was all business. In person, you’d eventually get to the business part!

      • yes… that’s very true, unless i’m the one calling. 🙂

    • Love this

  • Frenchmaman

    1. France
    2. English, French, German
    3. Say, “bon jour” or two kisses on the cheek, first left then right for those you know well
    4. Giraffe in Kenya
    5. A Renault – it’s a French made car. All mechanics have to learn to repair Renaults and then if they work for another car company, they learn the techniques for that car, like a Toyota or Volkswagen. So in the tiniest town in France, you can always find someone who know how to repair a Renault.

  • AnneJ

    1. Canada – preparing to head to Niger

    2. French and English

    3. A kiss on each cheek

    4. Kangaroo (not in this country!)

  • Tricia M.

    1. Florida but preparing to go sometime soon.
    2. Rusty Indonesian, some Spanish.
    4. Cobra satay, goat testicles, and the yuckiest tasting mini-octopus that I barely swallowed without choking to death. That was in Denver though 🙂

  • Juliebeth D.

    1. Trujillo, Peru

    2. English, Spanish, and of course, Spanglish!

    3. Kiss on the cheek between man and woman or woman and woman, handshake between man and man. “Como esta?” How are you? or “Que tal?” How’s it going?

    4. Carne mondongo = sheep stomach, and cuy = guinea pig (considered quite a delicacy here in Peru!)

    5. an old yellow taxi – there are a million of these in the city where we live!

    • Hola vecina 🙂 He escuchado del cuy como comida especial de Perú. Actualmente tuvimos dos como mascotas y cada vez que una persona boliviana los vio bromeaba, “¡Oye mira, el almuerzo!” 🙂

    • Oh, I LOVE Trujillo! I only went there once, but it was close to there that I ate cuy, also. Well, I mostly PRETENDED to eat it. Thankfully, it was late at night and we ate outside, where I befriended a stray dog who hung out near my feet. I gladly gave him little pieces at a time. I know, that’s horribly wasteful, but the cuy had been roasted earlier that evening and sat out in the heat for hours. After shooing the flies off it to eat, I just couldn’t do it. This was in the “short-term missionary” time of my life. I think nowadays, I could do it. 😉 Nice to meet you, Juliebeth!

  • Angie Velasco

    1. Where do you currently reside? Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

    2. What languages do you speak? Spanish, U.S. English, Tagalog (from the Philippines).

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living? Hand shake, kiss on the cheek and a hug.

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten? Pig intestines on green tomato salsa.

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why? White Nissan Tsuru (Sentra in the U.S.) They are the taxi cabs here and you can flag them any time.

  • nathan salley

    Questions:

    1. Where do you currently reside?

    Denver, U.S.A. but slightly nomadic at the moment.

    2. What languages do you speak?

    random words in many languages. tiny tiny tiny bit of Bengali and Thai

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living?

    hand shake. hug. or gentle butt slap for same gender (depending on friend relationship & not suggested if unknown).

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten?

    tarantula or goat head soup.

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why?

    the U.S.A. is a 757 airplane. flying well above the world below, not aware of how the poor live, while we live in voluntary ignorance and luxury in the world above, a thick stratosphere or status-sphere surrounds us (as you can see, i may be a small bit jaded at the moment returning home…my bad).

    This was fun! Thanks 🙂

    • Your ‘status-sphere’ rant made me laugh! Vivid imagery, man. I also appreciated the disclaimer: not suggested if unknown. Helpful, indeed. Glad you had fun!

  • Lynn

    1. I’m currently on furlough and residing in TN. Normally I reside in Kenya.
    2. I speak English and Turkana. I also speak a very small smattering of Swahili and German.
    3. In Turkana, we say, “Ejoka!” and the response is “Ejok!” In Kenyan Swahili you greet saying, “Jambo.”
    4. Camel meat. Not too odd, I could try termites sometime but my friends enjoy them so much I don’t want to deprive them. 🙂
    5. A Toyota Hilux – the work horse of Kenya and it even holds up over the horrible roads with only having to be welded after a long drive.

  • Lexi

    I currently reside in Eastern Uganda. I speak French and English. Here there are countless languages to great in, but you always touch hands with some and say something like “Mulimbe mama (insert name)”. The craziest thing I have eaten is goat’s meat…. It’s so yummy when cooked right… Better than fillet mignon! If eastern Uganda was a car, I’d say it was an old an rusty but stifling strong H1 arm
    Style hummer. 🙂

  • Adele Booysen

    What a fun post, Angie!

    1. Northern Thailand

    2. Afrikaans, English, Dutch, German, Mandarin Chinese, and bits of Zulu, Indonesian and Thai

    3. You “wai” by putting your hands together (like for a prayer) and tilting your head forward, saying “Sawasdi kaaaaaaaa” (f you’re a woman) or “Sawasdi krap” (if you’re a man).

    One of my favorite ways of greeting comes from Indonesia, where I had lived before. Among the Sunda people, you would reach out both hands (like a double-handed handshake, but without the grip), then bring both hands to your heart, as if to say, “I cherish meeting you.”

    4. Snake soup. Ugh. I’d have goat intestines any day over something like snake soup!

    5. Perhaps a gold-plated luxury vehicle, but with an engine that needs some major work seeing that the car runs on fuel from the sex industry.

    • I’ve had rattlesnake stew – that wasn’t as hard for me to eat as the goat/lamb offal in the sauce. Must be something to do with texture.

      You must be quite gifted with languages. I love to learn them, but when they are primarily oral instead of written, I have a much harder time. 🙂

      • Adele Booysen

        Richelle, I actually crave offal! It’s got to be in my African blood… 🙂 As for languages, Angie & Richelle, I have a much harder time learning new languages as I’m getting older. Maybe I’m just lazy. It does help when you grow up in a country where you have multiple national languages, for sure! I would love to be able to speak more Thai, but sadly, I’m not here often enough to be immersed in enough of the culture!

    • It’s been really fun getting to know a little bit about many different people and the places they live! You speak so many languages – that is wonderful. I am very impressed. I like the sober comparison you made with N. Thailand and a luxury vehicle needing major work. Bless you!

  • Shay Ballew

    Well, Angie…you know the answer to my ?’s…mostly, anyway :o)

    1. Cochabamba, Bolivia

    2. English, Spanish (love your answer…”gringo”!! and someone else said, “spanglish”. yea…both!)

    3. Kiss on right cheeks and hand shake or hug for someone closer to you. Hand shake and pat on shoulder for guy/guy – I’ve also seen the “man-hug”…kind of a partial hug between men. Como estas?, Buenos Dias (buen dia for short), Buenas tardes in the afternoon, Buenos Noches in the evening (about after 7 pm).

    4. I’ve had that charque, Angie. Llama jerkey. Like chewing on leather.

    5. I’d have to say a 30+ yr. old toyota of any sort. Those are most commonly used as taxis and “trufis”, which are like fixed route taxis…most of them are old toyota mini vans. And as someone else said…in Bolivia there’s always room for one more in the vehicle!!

  • Lorie Greer

    I live for this stuff!
    1. West Bengal, India
    2.English, I studied Spanish for 5 years which comes in real handy in these parts. I’m also fluent in charade-like gestures.
    3. Say “Namaste” or “Jai Masih Ki”( if you are greeting a christian brother or sister), with hands together like in prayer.

    4. Dog.
    5. Definately Bumper Cars!!!

    • Ha ha ha, Lorie. Your Spanish comment made me laugh! And then this: I’m also fluent in charade-like gestures. Beautiful! I don’t know that I could talk if my hands were tied.

  • Dana

    Mazatlan, Mexico (west coast)
    English, Spanish, Spanglish
    For women, a kiss on the cheek. For men, hand shake.
    Horse. Beef eye tacos. Hog-head soup.

  • 1. Encarnacion, Paraguay
    2. English, Spanish, and some Guarani
    3. cheek kisses (right, left) and among church folks, “Bendiciones!” (Blessings!)
    4. cuy (guinea pig) in Peru, horse in Paraguay
    It’s nice to meet all my neighbors here!

  • Michelle

    1. Just outside of Durban, South Africa
    2. English, Palawano, (Philippine dialect), and learning Zulu
    3. Verbal – Sawubona (meaning “I see you”) and sometimes a special handshake, hugs for close friends
    4. I am a vegetarian – but an adventurous one… so I think for me my personal craziest was ox liver off the barbecue…. I can’t really count the pig intestine, as it didn’t really stay down….
    5. Model doesn’t really matter, but it would be a shiny, pretty one with a nice body, but the engine and inner workings of the car don’t work very well – South Africa looks good on the outside, but because of the aftereffects of apartheid, the poverty, crime, corruption, Aids, etc, etc, etc… the country is struggling with a poor power source…

  • Manduriamatt

    Where do you currently reside? near Turin Italy

    2. What languages do you speak? English, Scottish and italian

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living? Bon di or Buongiorno

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten? Mustardella – pig’s blood salami

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why?
    a masarati sports car – fast, classic and likes to be seen.

  • Manduriamatt

    oh and should say in answer to no.2 – handshake along with a polite kiss on each cheek except in cses of complete strangers when it should be just a handshake

  • Jim

    The reason for the history lesson last month about the Thai festivities was to explain the mindset of the Thai people. All three of these Buddhist rituals that is so entwined into their lives and culture deal with cleansing or relieving their lives from sin and they (the Thai people) are the ones that can initiate the process. So when another way is suggested (pertaining to Christianity) the Thai people often weigh out or scrutinize what is being offered. The mentioning of forgiveness of sins is covered by their belief system and is put in motion by participating in their rituals. Salvation and life eternal, well, that is also an intricate part of their beliefs. The only difference being it is up to the individual on how many times that they reincarnate to perfect their lives for preparation of achieving eternal life. The mention of being healed does draw their attention and why not? If they can receive a healing for whatever is bothering them, then they can return to their way of life.
    Then there’s the visitation of the “short term missionary.” Here I feel that those involved in these programs are reaching out to the wrong people. Every short term missionary (usually 2 weeks) team usually gravitates toward helping the “Hill Tribes.” With good reason they are the most oppressed in Thailand but what needs to be understood is that Christianity has been in Thailand for over 60 years with a minute influence of about ½% of Thailand’s population converting to Christianity. Why not focus on the Thai national?
    As you know I am involved with the VFW here in Chiang Mai. Every year we donate jackets and blankets to the Thai veterans in an area called Mae Jong. The reason being is to help the veterans this time of year due to the cold weather. Well, when the season shifts and they are no longer needed they are sold for spirited refreshment. Yet we continue every year to help supply what we feel is needed (not much different than the short-termed missionary)

  • Lindsey

    1. Where do you currently reside?
    San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

    2. What languages do you speak?
    English. Intermediate level in Spanish, and am learning a few words in Tzotzil, a local maya language here.

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living?
    The usual hug and cheek kiss is customary around here. Even to meeting someone for the first time. For men, it’s usually a hug/handshake to other men, but kiss ladies.

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten?
    I am used to a lot of Mexican style food, but it was a little strange to me chewing on a short sugar cane stick for dessert when someone invited to their house for dinner.

  • Jenn Scarfi

    1. Vanuatu (South Pacific, east of Fiji, north of New Caledonia, south of Solomon Islands. If you don’t know where any of those are think northeast of Australia. If you don’t know where that is, I can’t help you).
    2. English and Bislama. I can also read in French, Greek and Hebrew. And I know random phrases in about 15 other languages.

    3. Hand-shake and asking about the health of the family.
    4. Probably squid.
    5. A wheelbarrow. Nothing gets done here unless you pick it up and push it yourself.

  • Christina

    I know I’m late to this game…but..

    1. Where do you currently reside? South Korea

    2. What languages do you speak? English, Mandarin, survival Korean, some French and Russian that comes back to me at the oddest moments…

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living? Bow and “Anyeonghasayo”

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten? In this country — live abalone

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why? I live on an island off the mainland of South Korea and it’s rural here, so it would have to be a giant BONGO truck— used for hauling people, livestock,crops,rubbish,dirt, etc or all of the above at the same time!

  • Adjj

    1. Where do you currently reside?
    Norway, soon back in The Netherlands,

    2. What languages do you speak?
    Dutch, English, and some words Norwegian

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living?
    No greating or, Hi , When you are out hiking you talk more.

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten?
    Brown Goat cheese

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why?
    a black car, 5 seater

  • Daniel Bardwell

    1. Where do you currently reside?

    Lviv, Ukraine

    2. What languages do you speak?

    English/Ukrainian conversationally, Russian/Polish understanding mainly

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living?

    handshake, a greeting based on the time of year. “God give you luck”/ “Christ Arose” (now-for 50 days after Orthodox Easter) and various others

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten?

    Salo- fresh cut raw pig fat with garlic (we call it a Ukrainian Snickers bar)

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why?

    I’m not sure, but for sure it is driving in reverse! It had freedom from the Soviet Union, had a revolution to free itself from Russian influence, now have a Russian leaning president.

  • Jenni

    1. Dili, Timor-Leste
    2. English, Melanesian Pidjin (Tok Pisin), learning Tetun Prasa, bits of Gogodala, Kunwinkju, French & Indonesian.
    3. cheek kisses with “elite” Timorese and expats. I’m brand new and just learning to greet locals.

    4. crocodile, sago, cooking bananas, other things I didn’t care to ask about!
    5. Something old and broken down, once beautiful, with glimpses of that still visible in the interior. Dents and scratches all over it, with the windows bombed out. It has a new paint job – great paint but slapped on with a brush. Recently had a heap of money spent on shiny new wheels and tires, and a new engine but the radiator’s still busted and the oil still leaks.

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  • Rolinke Bremer

    1. Where do you currently reside?
    Norway

    2. What languages do you speak?
    Dutch, English, German, Norwegian

    3. What is the proper greeting ritual in the nation where you are currently living?
    Give a side cheek hug and say “Hei”

    4. What’s the craziest thing you have eaten?
    In Norway: Moose, Reindeer, Whale…Other countries: Walrus liver, Goat intestines

    5. If your country was a vehicle which one would it be and why?

    A Mobile Home…everything is so far away from each other and the scenery is so beautiful, you need to be a Mobile Home to enjoy to the utmost!

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