Thursday, November 20, 2003

We are back in the United States.

It's great to be home... it's weird too. After living in Mexico for 8 years, we are not the same. Little things - like how to greet someone or leave - have been muddled in my mind... do i kiss them on the cheek or hug or shake hands or just stand there or what? In Mexico and most of Latin America when you see a friend or are introduced to someone new, you shake hands if you're both men, you touch cheeks (air kiss) if it's some of the opposite sex or you are both women, and you give them a big hug if you are old friends.

So what ends up happening to me is that i meet up with some old friends here in teh U.S. and i *move in* for the hug or cheek-kiss, but just when i'm about 2 inches away from their face i realize to my horror that they are arching back away from me with an uncomfortable, strained look on their face and it dawns on me that i'm out of order, in the wrong cultural mode and deep into their personal space. I freeze... but it's too late because - as i mentioned - i'm only 2 inches away from their face.

If you've correctly imagined this situation then you understand the awkwardness and get a glimpse of what i mean when i say, "We aren't quite the same."

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