This is just something I love love love! While it gets super unbearably annoying sometimes greeting every single person all the time no matter how shitty your mood is and no matter how hard it is to contort your face into a smile-grimace, the practice really is beautiful. I think I hate doing it half the time because it’s not something we do in the West. We just don’t smile as easily at each other over there. We like our bubbles and stop trying to make eye-contact with me, creep! But here, greeting comes with a smile, and not forced like mine often are, a legitimate, sincere smile that crinkles around the eyes.
Today I was walking home and started approaching a man walking in the opposite direction with a sullen expression. He was at an age where his skin was betraying where exactly his face would melt into a mass of wrinkles in the coming years. His eyes were on the ground and his mind was obviously elsewhere. But at the last moment, he looked up to greet me in his language, as is customary. Even before he saw it was me, the village white freak show, his face completely transformed into this glowing smile as if to say “this is a human being I am fortunate enough to meet on this road of all roads”. And, oh man, wrinkle smiles are just the best. More loose skin, more to smile with. It was just one of those smiles that your heart sees with your eyes, and you can’t help but return it.
And when you’re in the right mood to see them, they’re just everywhere here!