I recently went shopping for some running pants and I was reminded how I went from a size small to a large overnight.
Seriously, I went from a size small to a large overnight. It hit me over the head like a bowl of grits and there was nothing I could do about it but accept it or ignore it. I chose to do the latter.
Around February, we decided to move to South America. At that point, I never would have imagined that I would be wearing a large in a few short months. Sure, our life was crazy trying to visit everyone before we left and we were constantly on the road — not to mention how we were trying to sell everything we owned that didn’t fit into 4 suitcases. So there were some days that we weren’t eating healthy and I wasn’t running my usual weekly laps, but I had not let myself go enough to suddenly fit into a large. That’s like 4 to 5 sizes bigger in a few short months.
Little did I know what was awaiting me the minute I set foot in South America. You see I was doomed from the get go: the minute I walked off the plane and set foot onto South American territory, I was a large woman. In the U.S. I have always been short, and I pretty much go back and forth from a size 6-8. But in this country not only are the women tiny around the waist, but they are overall, small people. To give you an example, I actually had people looking up at me — yes me! — a 5 foot 2′ short, Mexican girl. For the first time in my life, I felt like a giant around people my age.
Quickly, I realized my fate. As long as I lived overseas in this country I was not going to be a size small. I had a few North American friends tell me after their visit to the doctor here, that the doctor implied or straight up called them fat. Actually they were called “gordita” which means “fatty.” Adding “-ita” to the end of any word is supposed to lighten the impact.
Can you believe that? They were by no means fatties, but in this country, apparently they were. So I was doomed. If my skinny friends were fat, what in the world were they going to tell me? So I have dreaded and avoided the doctors here at all cost because it’s one thing to go into the dressing room and realize you need a large, but it’s another to be called “gordita” by your doctor.
Such is the life of an expatriate, full of adventures and cultural differences. Some of these difference you embrace and others you ignore, for better or worse. I choose to ignore that I am “gordita” in this country.
How many of you can relate to my experience of cultural difference?
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