District of COLOMBIA

Suegra called mid-morning on a weekday from El Salvador. She knew Carlos would be working, so I was anxious as to why she was calling. It was either an emergency, or she had a question. She’s been calling with a lot of questions lately. Usually she wants me to translate something. I am like Gringa 411.

Here is our most recent exchange, (translated to English):

Suegra: Hi, how are you?

Me: Um, good. How are you?

Suegra: Good, more or less.

Me: ….Um, what’s wrong?

Suegra: I have a question. People here have doubts and I want to clear them up.

Me: Okay. What question?

Suegra: Washington D.C.

Me: Yeah?….

Suegra: The D.C. — It means District of Colombia?… [I know she thinks it’s spelled this way – like the country]

Me: District of Columbia – yes.

Suegra: And just to take away any doubts – what does this signify? Can you tell me?

Me: It’s just a name.

Suegra: It doesn’t have anything to do with Colombia?

Me: Colombia, the country?

Suegra: Yes.

Me: Um… no. It’s just a name… We have cities with that name, too. It probably came from the name of Cristóbal Colón — in English his name is Christopher Columbus.

Suegra: Ahhhh. Okay. That’s what I thought but I wanted to remove doubt. Thank you. Bye.

Note: I later looked it up, and I was right that the word “Columbia” derives from the name of Christopher Columbus.


  1. I love it! That suegra, man. This is actually cute. I can see my own mom asking that question.

    If DC were the District of Colombia, we would definitely have about 120 more national holidays (days off) and something more closely resembling to universal healthcare (and I’ll stop there cuz this isn’t a political blog :))


    • Rubén – You can talk politics, go for it, amigo ;) Here at Latinaish.com, there is room for Suegra jokes and political discussion … hee hee.

  2. This reminds me of the webmaster from a previous company I worked at. Our web site had a form with a selection of country names and he insisted on writing “Colombia” as “Columbia,” even after me pointing out the errors of his ways on several occasions.

    • LOL – Stubborn much? … Reminds me of my kids. When they mispronounce something in Spanish and I correct them, they respond, “Well, I say it my own way” — um… okay, that’s not really an option. lol

  3. Hey, that’s cool I learned something!
    We always remembered the difference between the city and the big state by calling it “Washington, Da City”. Which in my defence I think is okay considering I’m not anywhere near there — and from a different country.

    But the info is revelant in that I am in B.C. (British Columbia) and always wondered why there were so many “columbia’s” in the Americas!

    • Totally forgot there are Columbias up north, too. You Canadians are so quiet, we don’t remember you’re there sometimes ;)

  4. Love that you provide Gringa 411…

    This is an interesting question because I have never considered that name before. I just dismiss it as Washington D.C. without another thought. So Gracias suegra! You helped me learn something today (and clearly you and your suegra have a good relationship).

  5. we usually call it “the district” or “el distrito” — like in mexico :) but gracias for the lesson and making us all smarter.

    oh…and about your two dogs that look/-ed like mine — too funny. but totally predictable. mine are totally pound dogs that i adopted, so they are a dime a dozen in looks. but their hearts are singular and they are my first bebitas!! way before husband came along, and waaay before baby.

    • Cynthia – My dogs were rescue dogs, too! I E-mailed you a photo. LOL.

      Oh – and I’m totally going to call it “El distrito” now! I like that :)

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