“Hola china/o… Chao china/o!” These are the greetings and farewells Colombians use with me. I have told them many times I am Filipina and not Chinese, Korean, or from other Asian countries, but I keep hearing them call me that.
One time, a coworker said, “chao china,” I finally blurted, “I am Filipino!” and she replied, “Chao Colombiana!” She laughed. I asked why, and she said, “china/o means a younger person, not a nationality…” and continued laughing!!!
Since then, we have started a tradition with one other, “Hola Filipina, hola Colombiana/o…”
–Joy Eva Bohol, MI, 2013