Aug 24, 2015 | | Say something

There is a Colombian expression, which I first heard from an English person, “no dar papaya”. Literally translated, it means don’t give papaya. As slang, it means don’t give people an opportunity to take advantage of you. In fact, the full version of the expression the English girl told me was something along the lines of “don’t give papaya, but if papaya is offered, you take it.” In other words, don’t let other people take advantage, but if they give you an opportunity you take it. In full it’s quite a cynical expression. And yet, in my experience Colombians tend to be quite trusting and happy to offer papaya and all sorts of other fruit.


One girl from tinder invited me to her house. If I was back in England, a girl from tinder called Natalia inviting me to her house would mean only one thing. But in Colombia, it’s more common just to invite people over with no intentions beyond sharing some food and drink. Most people live with their families well into adulthood also, so often you meet the whole family when you go over, and they are always quite welcoming. It’s quite different from the big deal of meeting the parents/family you expect in the US and Britain, something as commitment-phobe in relationships I’ve never had to deal with before. Although this time I just met Natalia’s drunk sister who had just graduated or finished her last exam and been out partying and wanted to tell us both all her trouble with boys, but only in Spanish. It was nice to meet them both. People trust and expect you to trust them here, despite all the stories, it’s quite a nice feeling.


That’s not to say that you should be naive and completely trusting. No dar papaya exists as an expression in Colombian culture for a reason.


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