Obviously a gringa

Today we went to our favorite sushi restaurant. It was an emergency mission to cheer up Alvaro after he scratched the side of his car on a pole in the parking garage. In his defense, the other car parked way too close and two light bulbs had burnt out, making the garage unusually dark.

This restaurant has a delicious selection of sushi. Part of what makes it so unique is that they have created a menu that blends Peruvian flavors into sushi rolls. The lomo saltado roll? Heavenly. And huancaína? Simply perfect. They have nearly two dozen rolls to choose from and besides the too sweet Tutti Frutti roll, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them.

We sat down and a female employee brought us our menus and silverware. After placing my menu in front of me I said, “gracias”. She looked at me and then looked at Alvaro and said, “Your girlfriend looks like a doll, take care of her.”

Our waiter, Jorge, came over to take our drink order. Alvaro ordered the drinks and the only Spanish I spoke was a simply, “yes,” when he commented on my excellent drink choice. Surely such a simple word wouldn’t give away my obvious American accent. Without skipping a beat he looked at me and asked, “Where are you from?”

My light skin and hair color immediately tell a Peruvian that I am in fact a gringa, a slang term for a female of European descent. This term and its masculine form gringo, is used to describe anyone with blond hair, blue eyes and light skin, all markers of a non-Peruvian. I may be able to perfect my accent and hail a taxi like a Peruvian, but I will always, always be a gringa.