Parting is such sweet sorrow

Mar 15, 2007

With Spring-like weather this week, I got outside twice for a run around the neighborhood — I’m about to discontinue my membership at Fitness World, not because the new-old owners are transforming the gym so nicely, but because I get there so infrequently that I figure I can save by buying myself some barbells and making use of my running shoes.

Tonight on my run, I passed a woman walking her dog. “Good evening,” I said to her, and as I said that, I remembered that in the U.S. Virigin Islands, where I started my teenage years, the custom then was to greet someone with “good night” and later, when you left their company, to leave with “good evening,” the opposite of what we do here on the Mainland.

In Hawaii, whre I lived after college, “aloha” is the default greeting and goodbye, although one semester I took a Hawaiian language class at UH-Manoa and learned to speak in full sentences. On Paama Island during the Peace Corps, when we said goodbye to Noel and Leah or other villagers, we left with “more vongien” [moar-ay vong-yien].

What greeting/farewell customs have you encountered?

Anton Zuiker

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