Saturday, August 7, 2010

No hugs?

I love hugs.

I could really just say that and this post would be complete. I'm a hugger. I'll tackle my friends from yards and yards away, I squeeze my mom until she can't hardly breathe, and I sneak into my roommate's bedroom just to snuggle. I heard once that every person needs three hugs a day to feel secure and loved. I need like thirty.

So you can imagine my dismay when one of my friends told me that hugging isn't really the social norm in Asia. Apparently pressing your body against another person's is an invasion of privacy or some nonsense like that. I don't know for sure since I haven't been there yet, but it rocks my world a little to consider that my love language may go unfulfilled for an entire year. I know that I'm not going to be the only American in the country who'll be hoping for a little cuddle time, but I really don't know if I can jump on board with this whole "bowing" thing. To me, nodding my head as a greeting says, "I see you, but don't you dare come any closer." It's what I do to acknowledge someone I don't particularly care for who has entered my range of vision, not how I greet my friends. Perhaps this is my first tiny taste of culture shock.

Luckily for me, I also enjoy holding hands. According to my research, friends of the same gender commonly walk down the street holding hands, and it's quite acceptable. This warms my heart; Kimi and I used to walk around campus holding hands, and that always tended to bring endless strings of catcalls from Miami's finest. It took me almost two years to find friends in Cincinnati who don't tense up and look at me like I have three heads when I sneak my hand into theirs, so it's comforting to know that I'll be able to slide right into some hand-holding to get my physical contact fix. If my life in Korea is even a little bit like this, I'll consider myself incredibly lucky.

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