The first time I went to Brazil to meet my in-laws, over 20 years ago now, everyone was walking around saying “Oy.” In the yiddish of my Jewish culture, “Oy” is what all of the old people say every time they get up….”Oy, my aching back…” Oy, my sciatica…” I associated it with people in pain. “Why is everyone in pain here?” I asked my husband. “It’s “Oi,” he replied, “Portuguese for “Hi!”
So, in short, always remember the importance of context in intercultural communication, and give yourself a big “Oy” with the exertion of getting up and out and say “Oi” to the volunteers at your local polling station. It’s time to vote!