Voy a coger...or am I?

Panama City Travel Blog

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If I could summarize this weeks lesson learned in one word, it would be "Context".  Every word has a an implied context, and as a non-native speaker of Spanish, I learned the importance of such context this week.

Abby's sister was flying in from PA (USA) this week, and Abby had asked me if I would mind driving her to the airport to pick her up. Of course, I volunteered, and as a rule, we have to notify our head of delgation and CC our fleet manager when using a Federation vehicle to pick up a non-Red Cross movement person. 

So, I wrote my boss and feet manager the following email:



          04/04/2008 08:24 AM






Permiso - cojer hermana de Abby
Hola Dario y Bruno,

Con su permiso, viene la hermana de Abby (Tina) hoy a las 9:00pm y quierro cojerla al aeuropuerto.


Later that afternoon, my boss was sitting at his desk across from mine and began to snicker (mind you, he is normally VERY reserved) and within seconds, busted out laughing uncontrollably.  Not knowing what was the matter, the 4 of us in the office asked "Dario, whats so funny"

He proceeds to read the email that I had wrote, in which the office also began UNCONTROLABLY laughing, to the point of tears.

Within minutes, I learned that the verb "cojer" has an implied meaning in Panama..."to screw" vs the normal "to pickup".

So, the subject of my email read "permison to screw Abby's sister"  and the content, "with you permission Abby's sister is coming on Friday and I would like to screw her."

Who knew??? 

Luckily, Abby got a kick out of the email, and come to find out, so did Abbys sister.

The Cubans and Spaniards use cojer in a normal context, so little did I know. :)

Thank goodness my boss found humor in the error.

If this is the last contextual error I make, I would be fortunate.


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Panama City
photo by: Biedjee