So I've been mulling this over for awhile....and I even wrote the idea for this blog a few weeks ago on a grocery list and I've had to hold onto that outdated grocery list ever since. I finally have a nice quiet morning to sit online and I really want to throw out that piece of paper today, so here I am blogging. I've shared with a few people the awkwardness of moving back to Canada and trying to figure out greetings again. In Venezuela I'm used to greeting people with a quick kiss to the cheek....well, more of an "air kiss"....and if it's a friend, that's usually followed by a hug. Of course, coming back to Canada, there's no better way to alienate people than by going around kissing and hugging everyone. Now I'm confused; do I hug? Shake hands? Do nothing? When I was talking about this with a friend, they mentioned to me that they felt people don't even shake hands very much anymore. And I think that might be true, I've had my fair share of awkward, limp, half-hearted handshakes in the the past 4 months. Have I already been in Canada for 4 months????
Two of my best hugging stories came to mind and I thought I'd share them.
A few years ago while I was living in Costa Rica and going to Spanish language school, I went downtown San Jose with a friend, John. As we walked, we came across a group of people holding "free hug" signs. Some people were walking a wide circle around the group to avoid a hug, but I just decided that I needed a hug that day and went for it. I didn't know the guy who hugged me but it was still incredible how great I felt afterwards! A hug between strangers is a hug in it's pure and simplest form; there is no baggage, no grudges, no history between the two people. And there was something about that hug that was just so awesome. I think John refused to hug a stranger at first, but as I remember, on our way back, he took the plunge and enjoyed a wonderfully awkward hug too.
Earlier this month I went to Drayton Valley and got to hang out with some of my fave people in the world, the Haazens. Tanneal and I went shopping one night (yes, in Drayton...living on the edge) and while we were in the grocery store (yes, the grocery store....living on the edge) a little girl with Down Syndrome, probably around 6 or 7 years old gave us a cheery "Hi!!!!" and lunged towards Tanneal going in for a hug. Her Dad quickly pulled her back and apologized but Tanneal in her awesomeness asked, "Would you like a hug?" while she put the shopping basket down and opened up her arms. While she was getting her hug, I found myself secretly hoping that this girl was feeling generous and I would get to enjoy one as well. She didn't disappoint! After the hug-fest, her dad just said "thank you" and we went on our way, smiling.
So, I don't have any big conclusion about these two simple hugs. I'm sure you can draw your own. But I will ask, why as adults have we become so stingy with our hugs? Do you think we are losing the art of hugging?