Friday, October 24, 2008

The morning ritual

Bonjour (good morning), salut (hi)s, are two common greetings you hear in the morning, in the office environment.

In some companies, people will pass by office by office to shake hands with their coworkers. If they are close enough, they will do air kisses to the women.

In my office, the big boss and some colleagues do this, but not all of them. Actually, not everyone is at ease in doing this, some just say "hi" when you say hi to them.

There is a catch in this morning ritual. You need to remember who you have said bonjour, and should not repeat it to the same people.

I'm very bad at memorizing who I had said "bonjour", so I will just say "bonjour" to whoever just happen to pass by the corridor at the same time at me. Amazingly, the French remember well whether I have said it or not. So, very often, they will correct me by saying "oh we had said this already" or "it's rebonjour" or they will just look at me.

To avoid making mistake, I just smile at everyone passing by and until they say bonjour, I will reply a bonjour to them.

Not a smart move I know. On the other hand, I'm so glad that the guys don't air kiss me. We only do this between interns and since they are on other floors and the only intern on my floor is a Chinese, I blissfully avoid this whole air kiss ritual.

Yeah I know I'm so not French.


  1. It is great that you are posting about this particular cultural ritual. I was born and raised in the USA and I know that I am never more "American" than when I am in France.

    Although I speak the French language acceptably fluently, I do not live the culture fluently and it is highly unlikely that I ever will--anymore than many of my co-citizens from Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mexico, Bulgaria, Russia, and Argentina will ever be culturally fluent in "America."

    Good luck avoiding the never-ending cheek kissing at work and have fun!

  2. framéricaine,

    Sometimes I got the comment like "well you are now in France!", so people do expect me to judge and act like other French.