Cultural Stowaways: “Take Care”

In Peru, one of the most common ways to say goodbye to someone is “cuidate“. For a group of people, it would be “cuidense“. It comes from the verb cuidarse which means to take care of or to look after. After a while, I found myself saying this a lot. I would even step it up a notch and say “cuidate mucho” which doesn’t really make sense in English. You probably wouldn’t say, take care alot or, take so much care, to someone. In English, it’s just take care.

I never really used that phrase in English before I returned from Peru. For some reason, I always thought it was an older phrase, generationally speaking. I felt like I only ever heard people from my parents or grandparents generation using the phrase. My generation was/is more privy to the “see you laters” and “peace outs”, probably with a “dude” in there somewhere.

Since I’ve been home however, I’ve been saying take care a lot more. I like it more now. I like the idea of not just saying bye, but also wishing someone to be well, to be careful, and to take care of themselves.

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