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Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Yuh Gettin' Fat Gyal!"

I’ve been hearing this a lot lately. In the States, commenting on an acquaintance’s weight gain would be considered bad form. Here, not so much. This morning a co-worker  greeted me, first thing in the morning, by saying, ¨Look how big yuh thighs gettin’ gyal!¨ How would you react to this? I managed to smile and nod this morning, but it took some effort. In fairness, I have gained weight- or more accurately, gained it back. I lost 10-15 pounds when I was sick a few months ago but they recently found their way back to me.

In Grenada, when someone tells you that you’re getting fat, they generally mean it as a friendly, complimentary observation implying that you’re happy and you’ve been eating well. I know this, but it’s still takes effort for me to react appropriately.

It’s been hard in general to adjust to a culture where basically anything about your appearance is fair game for discussion. In the States, of course you would notice your co-workers grey hairs/buck-tooth/weird birth mark, but you would never mention it to them. Americans are generally happy to pretend they don’t notice the flaws in your appearance in exchange for you extending the same kindness to them. Here, on the other hand, you had better just stay home if you don’t want to talk about these things. At first, this openness just translated as rudeness to me. I’m coming to terms with it as time goes on though. It can be kind of refreshing to just openly discuss a big ugly zit. You can sort of shed self-consciousness about it and move on once your boss points it out and offers to pop it for you.