During the first week I noticed something that really had me mind boggled. Here in Lima, gringos and gringas, as well as cholos and cholas are commonly used words. In the United States the term gringos(as) comes from Latinos and can be used as a derogatory term, and cholos(as) are sort of like Latino “thugs” or gangsters.
While walking around Lima I found out quickly that the term gringa is not used as a bad thing, little girls would walk by my room mate and I and say “aye que lindas las gringas” which means oh how pretty the gringas are. It also could be used to our advantage, for example during hora punta (rush hour) it is almost impossible to try and merge into traffic from side streets, last night during this time all I had to do was roll my window down and as soon as the bus driver noticed that I was a gringa he let my host mother merge in. The term cholo and chola is used to describe people of Peruvian descent.
The information I found was verified very quickly when, like I mentioned above, it was obvious that being a gringa wasn’t a bad thing, also I went to a restaurant called La Dama Juana and there was a show with all different types of Peruvian dances and my program coordinator says to me “look at how well the chola dances”
I discovered, and am still learning, that many terms and words we have in the United States, other countries have as well but with totally different meanings.