The European Rules of Social Kissing

Two years ago, I moved to Portugal. I moved from a culture where kissing and hugging as a greeting was reserved for family and close friends to one where kissing and hugging are a far more widespread form of greeting. This is further complicated by the fact that my partner is French and that our social circle includes family – English, Portuguese and French, friends – English, Portuguese, French, Danish, German and Dutch and business colleagues and acquaintances which include all of the above plus Spanish and Italians as well. They all have different rules for social greetings!

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Missed Trader Joe's Cheesy Handshake

I was with a friend at Trader Joe’s in the Union Square area of Manhattan, looking for a certain sort of vegetarian cheese. The first thing you should know about this supermarket location is that it is so popular that the line to the checkout counter is frequently long enough to wrap all around the store and come near the entrance of the store, with employees holding signs to indicate where to enter for various numbers of items per shopper. That made it sufficiently difficult to find anything without bumping into several people.

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A Deal is a Deal is Dead

I was raised to believe “a deal is a deal” and that means once you agree on something with someone — written contract or not — that part of the deal is done and settled and to go back later and try to renegotiate is tantamount to going back on your word.

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