Giving kisses is even more normal in Portugal than shaking hands. In The Netherlands we give three kisses in the air, here you even kiss the people you don’t know when you are introduced to each other. A hand and two kisses; aAlso often in the air.
I love the Portuguese and the national character very much and after all these years I am used to that kissing. When I am in The Netherlands and being introduced to someone newI have to stop myself from kissing. And now everything is changing. The coronavirus is also going to change this habit that naturally will return after the sign safe is given.
I live in a remote area, to be precise in the natural park of the Serra de São Mamede. Peace, quiet and space are three things that play a major role here. Nothing much happens. There is no industry, no employment and no city entertainment. There are also no refugees or fortune seekers because there is no money here and no work. Only tourists who are attracted to those three things can be found here. Or friends who would like to see us. In most cases they themselves would not choose to spend a vacation here. It’s too boring.
We love it here and I can’t find the boredom. There are endless events here in nature, in the sky, in the universe, in the vistas of the plains, in the mountains and in the villages and communities. Most “foreign” visitors are boomers with a mobile home, modern hippies and Portuguese and Spaniards from the big city.
In my yoga studio, only the locals and a handful of foreigners who live here permanently come to my classes. So am I worried about the virus? Slowly, actually since today, I have introduced a new rule. We no longer give hands and no longer kiss. Especially not with the people who have just been with family in Europe, have flown and even return with a cold.
I have proposed to bow to one another instead of the traditional custom and to honour the Namasté. After all, that means: I bow to you. You look each other in the eye, fold your hands in front of your heart and lean forward. It is worth experiencing because something else happens than when kissing or hugging. The connection that arises in that moment is strong because it must be done with attention. There is even more heart connection than with other forms of greeting because you connect energetically with the other. In addition, the bow evokes a sense of humility and anyone in the West can use that. It brings you back to who you are and who the other person is. We are there for each other and with each other and that is what you feel and experience.