I like your color, said an Arab Woman to me early this morning.
I was on the boat with them and we were able to exchange pleasantries before they left the resort.
I said, this is not my natural color. I got burned by always walking under the sun. I don’t even swim or sun bath every day. I pointed to my feet and showed her the ‘slipper marks’ or the ‘tan lines’ if that’s how it should be called.
Do you not like it? She asked. She might have thought I didn’t for I tried to explain how I got this skin tone.
I said, oh I like my color. And I honestly do. Though maybe she didn’t believe me because I was laughing.
I laughed because I recalled my sister’s comment on the photo that I sent her. She asked what exactly am I doing here in the Maldives and why my skin color is just a little bit less than dark chocolate?
Sometimes I wonder, if everyone in the world, would just appreciate everyone else’s skin color, would there be racism?
The Arab Woman asked if I am a Maldivian and I politely said no. I told her where I am from.
After finding out where I am from, she immediately asked me, so Kamusta ka (in a funny accent) means hello?
I said, it means How are you?
She asked again, and Mabuti means I’m fine?
I said, yes.
And how about bye bye? How do you say that?
I said, we just say bye bye.
Wherever I go, whenever I say where I’m from, people will try to say Tagalog words. Just like what we do when we see, let’s say Koreans, for sure some of you tried saying Annyeonghaseyo, and maybe Ni hao to Chinese nationals.
We only know the greetings, but we still try to speak their language, even with just a knowledge of very few words. Some do this to impress others, some to make fun of the other nationality.
But in the end, why do we try to learn greetings in different languages?
I guess, we want to learn, understand and offer respect to people – their way. Somehow, we are trying to reach out them. And we all do this unconsciously most of the times.
Sometimes I wonder, if everyone in the world would just try to understand and respect each other, how peaceful could our world be?