I never understood the double cheek kiss. To me, it always seemed like a trend celebrities felt they had to act out - finding yet another way to draw attention to themselves. Is it really necessary? Or done on purpose to continuously flaunt fame? In all likelihood, the entertainers that partake in this action have probably seen the person they are interacting with fairly recently. It’s not as though they are being reunited with a long lost relative or former flame. I found it quite ridiculous – until I came to Portugal and understood it.Through my travels I’ve witnessed many differences between certain country’s cultures, ideals and daily routines. You quickly learn what is accepted and what is frowned upon. Prior to coming to Portugal, I thought the double cheek kiss was stupid and assumed it was something Paris Hilton made ‘hot’ after seeing the French greet each other. (Which in reality she probably did.) But now I have a new respect for it, as I’ve learned it’s a part of Portuguese (and Southern European) norm. It’s a way to greet friends or acquaintances and display respect for the person you are conversing with. It show's your affection for one another. Imagine my surprise when I was bombarded with a flurry of kisses from players on our men’s team my first week. When introduced to each of them, I found a handsome fellow leaning towards me. Not comprehending what was occurring, I thought these guys who I had just met were going in for the always-awkward first kiss. Ummm…frozen in place and unsure of what to do, I quickly found out it was the double cheek kiss! Phew – that could have been awkward. I wonder what they would have thought had I’d thrown caution to the wind and gone for the lips! ☺ After getting over my initial discomfort, I’ve become somewhat at ease with this tradition. Now when I go for coffee and see one of the guys, we’ll exchange “olá’s” and often complete the routine before conversing. It’s unique, and now that I understand it – I appreciate it.
What I’m still confused about is when is the motion is suppose to occur. To me, it seems like it’s done on random occasions. One day at the café I’ll partake in the action with a friend, whereas the next day we may just exchange hellos. Or, when seeing the coach’s wife after practice we’ll smile to each other pleasantly, while after a game, complete the double kiss action. Being someone who loves structure - this can be very perplexing. Add that to my awkwardness and bad timing, it can make for a very amusing situation.
As I start to become somewhat at ease with this custom, it’s still a bit weird and I tend to get nervous before greeting someone. I’m a hugger. Whenever I’m home from Europe or catching up with a friend I haven’t seen in awhile, I like to hug it out. This habit of mine has thrown off my timing in Portugal. When someone leans toward me, I frequently assume they are coming in for the hug. Not so – it’s usually the double kiss, putting me in a tricky situation that leads to bad timing in the kissing motion. I’ve even been known to bump heads with others…it can be very embarrassing! Typical Breanne. Thankfully no one has made me feel like an idiot after these occurences…yet.
As I’ve gained knowledge of this new tradition, I can now say that I appreciate and respect the custom. However, I will continue to believe that celebrities exploit it excessively.Basketball Update: This past weekend we played back-to-back home games. On Saturday we soundly defeated ESSA by 20+ points. ESSA is one of the weaker teams in the league and we had no trouble securing the ‘W.’ I finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, but was kicking myself after missing a few easy hoops around the basket. Though I’m in good shape, it’s always a wake up call playing 40 minutes your first game back. Whew! The next day we had a big game against one of the stronger teams in the league – Algés. Algés is a team CAB had lost to by 4 points prior to my arrival in Madeira. Interestingly enough, this was a team that was trying to sign me before I chose CAB. The coach even introduced himself and chatted with me before the game. Nice guy, however I believe I made the right decision coming to Madeira. With Dani still nursing an injury, I knew this was going to be a battle. The first half was back and fourth with Algés making a run before the break. Down 6 at half, it was important for us to come out strong in the first 5 minutes. We did just that, going on a 12-0 run to take a 6-point lead. Though the game was close, we were able maintain a comfortable 10 point cusion until the last 2 minutes of the game. Up 2 with 30 seconds left, our 17-year-old point guard made 2 crucial free throws to make it a 2-possession game. A stupid away from ball foul and sunk free throw, again made it a 3-point game. Then Maria (the same 17-year-old) hit 1 of 2 to seal the win for us. The final score was 74-71. Nice! I had 21pts and 11 rebounds, but didn’t have a very good shooting day from the field. My shot has been off recently, frustrating me for the better part of the first half. The second half was much better, but I still was disappointed with my shooting percentage. Nevertheless, a win is a win and we’ll take it!
My achilles have been extremely sore this past week and have been causing me quite a bit of discomfort whenever I wear shoes. I took yesterday’s game off (a 40 point win over the U-18 Portuguese National team) and am hoping to get a bit more rest before we play Vagos and Olivais next week.