QUITO: !Que Frio!

Today, I learned something very important via a pack of gum. 

Since I’ve arrived in Ecuador, many people have told me that people from the United States¹ are “frio.” This directly translates as cold, but closed off, uptight, and unfriendly are probably more accurate translations for what they mean.

I’ve been confused to why people think that here and also a little sad. I don’t want that to be the perception of my culture. We have a lot of faults but “frio” wasn’t one I really ever considered— ethnocentric, materialistic or overweight wouldn’t have surprised me.

Today my Ecuadorian friend bought a pack of gum and then turned around and gave every piece to his friends. I felt terrible taking the last piece, but then he told me don’t worry. I bought it for you guys; it’s more fun that way. 

In that moment, I understood why people from my culture are considered frio. It was a simple gesture, but I finally get it.

¹Sorry for my new found aversion to saying Americans. People from South, Central and other countries in North America are Americans too. In Spanish, someone from los Estados Unidos (United States) is called an Estadunidense, which would be something like a United Statesan, but as I’m sure you’ve already realized this word does not exsist in English.