One question I get asked every once in a while is, are there any Asian people in Medellin? The answer? There are no Asians in Medellin, Colombia. Colombians are super friendly, and I’ve learned to answer their question “De dondes eres?” (Where are you from?) with “Soy de Canada pero mi en familia es Chino” (I’m from Canada, my family are Chinese).
If you don’t answer the question that way, they think you don’t understand and will ask again. If you’re Asian, you’ve been asked that question by people in North America every once in a while, you know what I’m talking about. “Where are you reallllyyyyy frommmm?” they’ll ask. I always think “Dude, I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I love country music, F-150s and steaks!” But then reluctantly answer “My ethnicity is Chinese.”
Colombians though, I think just really haven’t known many Asian people at all. I asked them in my completely garbage Spanish, what they think of people from Asia
- Good at math
- Knows Karate
- They didn’t mention they probably think I have a small penis too.
(Only one of those things are true on that list, but really, that’s a Samson thing not a Chinese thing!)
They do have Chinese restaurants, so it’s not like Chinese people don’t exist here. They just are very very very rare. (And yes it’s usually 99% Colombians working at the Chinese Restaurant.)
One thing here that’s funny. Is that on the menus at the Chinese restaurants they’ll have all these different stir fried rice dishes. Yet one of them will be called “Arroz de Chino”, or Chinese Rice. When I see that, I always think….wait…aren’t they always Chinese stir fried rice? Sure the other one’s have odd ingredients like pork rinds, but hey it’s stir fried rice…
So, if you get to Medellin, and you’re Asian? Be prepared to be the ambassador for all Asian people, and also be prepared to be called Jackie Chan a lot.
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