I have been back in Scotland a month today and I’m ready to make some observations about this reverse culture shock everybody promised me I’d feel. It’s not been too overwhelming yet but here is one thing that has struck me quite forcibly: the way we do greetings and farewells. So cold! So informal! So little physical contact!
I didn’t notice it immediately because of course, I hugged everyone I know, the first time I saw them again. But as time has gone on, I realize that is wearing off. And I’ve been observing other people. Only if it is a very formal situation, do people shake hands. And on leaving, they do NOTHING. Not a thing.
In Colombia, I would, at an absolutely minimum, greet every single person at any gathering I attended with a handshake, and most likely, kiss almost everyone on the right cheek (so lean left when you meet a Colombian). And I would do the same on leaving. In fact, if I said goodbye to someone and for some reason, we talked a little longer, I would say goodbye again, even if that was seconds later.
We are not cold, just not expressive, as I explained over and over again to my Colombian friends, but now I can see why they might think that!Share this post: