Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Man Hug

I am always surprised by the little cultural things that freak me out when I return to what should be my home culture. This time it was the hugging.

I am use to physical contact with Uyghur woman... in fact sometimes they are a little more touchy- feely than I am use to. It is not unusual to sit on the couch holding hands with a Uyghur girlfriend... sometime she is holding one of my hands and using her other hand to stroke my knee or pat my back. This sort of interaction is normal... even expected between female friends. Every time they greet each with an embrace and a kiss on both cheeks. Women often walk down the street arm in arm, or swing their hands like school girls. I remember finding all this physical touch stuff hard when I first arrived, but now it seems normal. In fact when I am back in Canada I often wonder why my friends sit on the opposite side of the couch, or why they just give me a quick embrace as a hello greeting.

My teacher and I are close friends and often sit with our arms around each other

Men, on the other hand are a totally different story. I went to church with my parents the other day and was shocked and slightly uncomfortable with all of the men who wanted to give me a hug. I know it is totally normal here, and doesn't carry any extra connotations... but when I go for months with out any physical contact with the opposite gender ( I don't even shake hands with guys out there in public), it really threw me off.
Me keeping my distance from even some of my closets Uyghur guy friends

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

reverse culture shock....I often go through it when I return home as well :)