Customs and a birthday greeting

Ok, I’m a bit behind on posting, but here’s a tidbit for you.

One of the customs that I’ve been a little awkward with is greeting and leaving friends and aquaintences. Back home, I am a big hugger. I hug my friends, my family, my dogs. Family usually get a single quick peck on the cheek or lips and sometimes very close friends as well. In Europe (not just Switzerland), there is the three-kiss cheek greeting. I’m still a bit confused about when to use this greeting and with whom.

We went to a local annual festival on Saturday and met up with one of my husband’s coworkers and his girlfriend. I gave the girlfriend (whom I’d met before) the three kiss greeting, but some how went brain-dead and angled in for a hug from the coworker, which I think took him by surprise. When we said our farewells later that evening, I gave both the three kisses, and the coworker gently teased “See? You are using the Swiss greeting now!”

I’m quite grateful to a new found friend and Texas expat, Stacy, for pointing out to me that when the Swiss toast, you need to look each person in the eye. You don’t look at your glass, or over their shoulder – you must look them in the eye. And, if you are out for cocktails, every time a new round of drinks is started, or someone joins the group, you have to toast everyone again. Since then, when we’ve been out with local Swiss, we’ve heeded Stacy’s advice.

The little cultural differences I blab about here aren’t bad things – just different, and take some getting used to. We want very much to integrate ourselves into Swiss society, so taking the time to learn all these little things is really helpful. I’m sure that there are odd cultural things that we do that would take a native Swiss some time to get used to (like hugging as a greeting).

And lastly, because I miss her dearly, and it is nearly her 2nd birthday, here’s a picture of my dear little Rosie as a puppy. Yes, I’m a sap.

Rosie asleep on Heaths lap

Rosie asleep on Heath's lap

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