One of the first things I had to get used to in Spain was how they greet each other.

First off, if you know me well, you most likely know I am pretty touchy feely. I love hugs. Hugs are great. Hugs are not really a thing in Spain. This was weird. For a very long time I just wanted a hug. Thankfully was able to hug the other Americans 🙂

{confession time: my favorite store (Natura) has a big bear outside the store. one time I hugged it. There were no people who would accept my hugs ok?! desperate times people call for desperate measures.}

So how do Spaniards greet each other?

A kiss on each cheek. You kiss their right cheek first (on your left) and then their left (your right). I actually never messed it up. That could’ve been really uncomfortable…

I tried to explain that in the States we consider kissing as very intimate. This was weird to them. They were also really weirded out when I said that I wouldn’t even kiss my close friends. I kiss my family and grandparents on the cheek. That’s it. They were weirded out that we hug. Or shake hands. Hugs for informal/casual situations (friends, family, family of friends, church) and handshakes for professional/formal situations (work, family of friends, etc).

So this whole kissing deal weirded me out. Whenever I was introduced to anyone or met anyone new or greeted people then I was expected to kiss them. But, before you get worried about germs, you don’t actually kiss them. You just make the kissing noise by their cheeks.

There are also appropriate times to kiss and then there are times you don’t. For example, if I go to school, no kisses. When I get home from school, no kisses. Church = lots of kisses. Coming home after a trip = kisses. Meeting a student in your house = kisses. Meeting your host family’s friends = kisses. Church = more kisses. Meeting someone for coffee = kisses.

As strange as it was at first because it was different from what I was used to, it became normal. It became a habit. I learned when were appropriate kiss times and when were not.

When I came back to the States, I immediately started leaning towards people to kiss their cheeks whenever I met someone new or saw someone I hadn’t seen in a long time. Wait. This is not Spain. Back in America where kissing as a greeting is not normal.

So while I am very happy to be able to hug all the time, it was hard un-teaching myself to greet people with kisses.

So if I started leaning toward you when I got back and you got weirded out, now you know. thx 4 ur patience & understanding.

**note: while hugs aren’t normal, I did get some hugs before I left Spain :’) this was a big deal and warmed my little touchy-feely heart. a lot.

**note: if I ever kiss your cheek, sorry.

besitos y amor,

lily ❤


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