One thing that I've always pondered is the simple greeting in Mexico. You know, the walk into a room say hello to everyone greeting. Only no, it's not that easy. I swear when moving to Mexico, and/or marrying a Mexican there needs to be a school on greetings for us expats!
In my perfect world the school would have a curriculum that looked something like this:
Lesson 1: The Kiss : on the one cheek not both. Now for a girl like me who comes from a very Croatian family it's both cheeks. A kiss on each cheek, which can be tricky enough - what cheek do you go for? In Mexico I learnt real quick it's just the one, and okay that seems simple enough. I can do this!
Lesson 2: The When: alllll the time. Meaning, every time you go somewhere and it does not matter if there are 2 people or 20 you give them each a kiss. This was a little more tricky as I still catch myself thinking "really, everyone? That could take me a few minutes. What if I forget about someone? How do I get alllll the way around the table to get to them? Pressure. Pressure." Okay, so you must learn to adapt. It's to everyone that is in the house.
Lesson 3: Whom : Okay, we are getting tricky again. Basically what I do is I kiss who ever goes in for it. LOL. Good thing I'm still talking about pecks on the cheek! In reality this is mostly true, but hubby has tried to teach me a few things or two. Family = Always. Friends = Always. Acquaintances = Most of the time. The help = Almost never. To me that is weird.
The acquaintances that I barely know I have to kiss them? However, my cleaning lady who I see every day, never? Not even on her birthday?? I love my cleaning lady.I do realize it would be weird to do daily, but never? Not even special occasions? My yoga teacher is okay, why? I don't know. Another example? We have a restaurant that we visit a couple times a week. We have made some pretty good friends with the owner, and his stafff. I always kiss the owner on his cheek, and the head waiter. The rest of the staff it depends if they go for the kiss or not. I follow suit. Hubby tells me I don't have to, and all I have to do is extend my hand. How though? How can you escape when they are already leaning in??
Now another important thing to take note of is most men in Mexico don't kiss the cheeks of one another. It would really have to depend on whether they are family or not, or compadres....you know mi brother. Women, we kiss the cheeks of both men and women.
Could you even imagine....Okay, so Lesson 4 would have to be about avoiding the kiss, and extending the hand. This is where I'm really lost and have no clue. Someone else will have to fill in that part of the lesson for me!!!
Ohhh and we can't forget Lesson 5 - How long inbetween visits: How long after seeing that person does that first kiss last? An hour? The day? A few hours? To me it doesnt' last that long. In my world I'm safer just giving the extra beso rather than unintentionally insult someone. That would be my word of advice to you.
So yeah, there you have it. I think I much preferred my world of hand shaking with a hug here or there. Also, I am a firm believer that germs won't be passed off so much. I dont' want to get sick! I don't want any cold sores! Nor do I want to get any one else sick. Maybe I over think the whole thing, but to me I'm just not the biggest fan!!!
However, I do have to admit that I am getting much better at this kiss on the cheek meet and greet. I appreciate the fact that it is about being polite, and acknowleding someone. It is a bit nicer than not even saying hello like some people do back home.
I love my hubby, and I do love Mexico. I will not be the odd man out, and I will continue to do as they do. Kiss, kiss! Ooops...I mean kiss. Just one :)