Monday, January 11, 2010

Cultural Greetings

Everyone says hello to each other as they pass on the streets. Of course, this is the case in the Pueblos (villages) but it is also true in the larger cities to a slightly lesser degree.

Because I grew up in North Africa and the Middle East, I have felt emotions of homecoming to this warmth. I forgot how much I missed this type of exchange. When I first returned to the US after a childhood abroad, this was a difficult adjustment for me. I had all but forgotten about it, but now I realize that I’ve missed it all these years.

It is common for men to greet men, or men and women who know each other to greet. There seems to be a polite distance and shyness between men and women who don’t know each other. Out of respect for this, I tend to seek out men when asking for directions or help. It seems to take a bit longer to break the ice with women, but once that is done, the same laughter and warmth is extended.

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