Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Like how the French people greet, but only on one side.

Larry's niece is traveling to NZ next week with her friend post grad. The timing worked out perfectly because next week we go to Auckland for Larell's baptism.

Corresponding with her over the last few months, I forgot the most important thing and sent off an email this morning. The universal social etiquette decree is that a handshake would suffice when greeting, maybe a hug with acquaintances. But us Polynesians like to take it to an uncomfortable level with a hug, kiss and possibly a hongi.

Let me tell you a story about Mitchy, the convert, who didn't know she wasn't supposed to kiss the missionaries on the cheek when she first met them. This is common practice in New Zealand and the missionaries, because of the Polynesian culture to do so, took that as an exception to their rule of an acceptable greeting.

So I thought about this for Larry's niece and her visit. The only person that ever greeted me the Polynesian way in the US was a woman in my ward who had a Tongan husband. She knew the ways of us coconut-tree climbers. It was awkward because after years of hugging American's, I was suddenly kissed on the cheek.

I remember teaching Larry how to greet the family the kiss-on-the-cheek way before each visit. He did not like the act and preferred a handshake.

So while I was thinking about it over the weekend I had to ask myself .. Is it better to tell my family not to kiss the Americans because it's not what they do? or is it better to tell the Americans that they have to kiss my family.

I opted to warn Larry's niece. It's like how it's easier to say PMS than to say Estrogen induced manic depressive bipolar disorder with tendencies of psychopathic rage.


Melissa said...

Interesting post for sure.

Me said...

I like those cultural practices better. I think Christina will be ok with it, most of our older relatives, like great aunts and uncles treat family and friends that way. Can't leave a family gathering without lipstick on your face and people talking at you in Spanish :)

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