So in different cultures, different things are valued.  I remember my Aunt Judy telling me about her time in Malaysia and how hard it was to find moisturizer without bleaching properties in it.  In the DR, there is obviously a notice of skin color considering that is why a large percentage of the time when a Dominican does not know my name they call me rubia.

But another difference in values is how they view weight.  It can be a great compliment when you are greeted by someone you know and they say ‘sta gorda (thas how is sounds, properly written is estas gorda).  And gorda translates as fat.  Now sometime when I hear this (being raised in American and thinking fat is unhealthy, so its not I want to be thin, I just want to be a weight that works for my body), I think I’m not looking fat.  But really they mean it as something good, it means your dona is feeding you, so it’s a compliment to her, and for you it means you are looking healthy.

However, when I first landed in the country I just couldn’t take it that way.  My brain just said I am not fat.  I was walking with a group of other trainees  back to our host families in Los Cocos and a guy on the corner said it to me as I passed.  So I was talking with Sean and mentioned it and how I did not like it.  He said the best thing, it was amusing and also just a great way to look at it.  “They aren’t saying you are gorda, they are saying you are ph-gorda”.

I’ve gotten over my aversion to being called gorda, when my dona’s mother says it to me, I thank her for the compliment.  But just for your knowledge, gorda and gordo are not always compliments, they can still be used in the negative aspect that Americans often use them.


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