Monday, September 13, 2010

Greeting Kiss

An element of New Zealand culture that I’ve been happy to embrace is the greeting kiss. At first I was totally awkward about kissing people on their cheeks to say hello and goodbye.  

It seems like my head would aim for the wrong cheek or I would pretend to kiss but not actually do it or my height would make things awkward all together. 
It occurred to me the other day that I now say hello and goodbye with the cheek kiss subconsciously now.  It was so mechanical at first and I’m sure I came across as being a little on the rude side. I'm very much over the American personal space idea by now. 
There is a certain protocol for the system and I think I have it down-nearly-by now. 
When greeting elders or relatives you always give an actual kiss on the cheek.
Acquaintances and people you’ve met for the first time would call for a meeting of cheeks rather than a kiss on the cheek.
Knowing these 2 facts has been half the battle in avoiding awkward half cheek half kiss situations. 

There’s something rewarding about embracing other cultural elements and feeling like you don’t look like an idiot in the process! 
I wonder what would happen if I kissed on the cheek in America?  


Amber said...

I am pretty sure that I would totally miss and kiss someone on the lips. I guess that's why you live in New Zealand and I don't.

e.m. said...

They do the same thing in Ecuador! I loved it! I thought about doing it when we got back to the States, but I just never did. Maybe I'll start. With good friends do you kiss their cheek or just touch cheeks?