Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hug and Howdy

That's what I like to do: Visit with people and give them hugs. I do a lot of that in my life, and I'm happy to say there was a great deal of that last week.

Just hours after graduation, where I received several great hugs from people I'll miss dearly (I'm writing as a Franklin College alumna -- weird!), my friend Ellie and I left for a week-long Christian camp called Cedar Campus. After 10 hours in the car and a few adventures on the way, we made it safely to Cedarville, Mich., which is just south of the Canadian border.

With the exception of three and a half people, I didn't know anyone there. (I'd met the fourth person before, but didn't really know her, so she counts as half.) So I made new friends, which is one of my favorite things to do.

It becomes evident pretty quickly to people around me that physical touch is one of my main love languages.

I met Lauren from Minnesota on the first night, when we were both outside shivering in the cold, and she gladly accepted my offer to be her cuddle buddy. Later in the week, I got two fantastic back massages from Mike, I was inducted into "the nuzzle club" by Amanda from Depauw and I was "gracefully" (as he says) tackled by Adam. And of course I gave numerous hugs all week long.

I have no problem at all hugging someone I've just met. In fact, I prefer hugs instead of handshakes. I think it's because I'm open with people and like to have fun that someone recently called me a "let looser." It's true that I like to "let loose." But as I say, I may let loose and hang loose, however, I'm not loose!

As much as I like it, I realize that not everyone is big on being touched. So I'm usually careful about bursting personal bubbles and will back off if I can tell it's not welcomed. The sad news (to me it's sad news) is that the Japanese culture, on the whole, does not show affection in public. In other words, they are not "let loosers." In addition to what people have told me, here's what I found by doing a little bit of Web research:

"As opposed to Western culture, there is little physical touch involved between people. Whereas you might hug your family or friends in Western culture, this is not done in Japanese culture. Young Japanese women don’t even greet their friends this way (although they might jump up and down and maybe grab hands). Even married couples do not usually kiss, hug, or even hold hands when outside of the home."

This is definitely going to be hard for me! But I don't want to offend anyone in Japan, so I will try to control my urges to wrap people in big embraces. My guess is that I will have to learn to bow instead. I'm pretty sure I've never bowed to a single person in my life. This is yet another (of many!) adjustments that I will have to make.

Or maybe my new Japanese friends will evntually become huggers around me. I can only hope.


lauren said...

I am so glad that you posted a blog I have been checking for it! It makes me feel like I am a part of your life when I read it! I know I am a loser. I am glad that you had fun at Cedar Campus. I know it will be very hard for you to not hug people in Japan. I bet this will be one of the hardest things for you; but, I know you can do it! Well I hope to see you soon! Let me know when you are free and we can get together! Love you!

Amanda said...

I hope you find at least a couple huggers in Japan. You'll need those hugs to carry you through until I see you and never let you go. :-)

There's something amazing about physical touch. I relate to you completely because we share the same love language, as you already know.

For those who desire physical touch, the absence of it can be devastating to mental health. I'm convinced that many people just wish someone would hold them, not only in their weakest moments, but just because they want to show their love that way.

You are such a "let looser." I'm glad to hear that you are not "loose." What a relief! :-) And, what a great example you set by practicing what you preach.

Each time I read your blogs I'm reminded of how much I appreciate the person you are and the impact you have on the world's people, including me. You have an infectious personality. I think the both of us together are too much for some people to handle, but at least we show others we love them and are not ashamed to embrace them.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

I love you, Dana!!!

Dana Sease said...

To Lauren and Amanda, my faithful readers:

I can't wait to give you both embraces real soon!

Lauren, the title of this post was for you. And Amanda, the part about being a "let looser" was for you. You were there when Jan Schantz called me that. I think she actually said a "big let looser." NOT to be confused with a big loser, lol.

Oh, which reminds me, Lauren you are NOT a loser! I think it's funny that you've been checking for a new entry -- you don't disappoint me, haha.

Did you both notice the names of two of my touchy-feely new friends at Cedar Campus? Lauren from Minnesota (she was in the same track as me) and couldn't get over my "Southern accent." I thought SHE was the one with the accent, though!

And Amanda from Greenwood, Ind. She goes to Depauw...Ellie and I hung out with the Depauw group quite a bit.)

However, you have NOT, I repeat NOT, been replaced. :)

I love you, amigas. Paz y amor.

Amanda said...

You know, if there's one thing I know to be a fact about you it's that you have a lot of love to give. And, Amanda's and Lauren's are very loveable individuals, so I'm not surprised that you found a couple others out there. In fact, I'm pretty sure you'll find an amazing Lauren and amazing Amanda over in Japan, too (haha).

But, I know that Tinkerbell and Fletch have a slight edge over the rest!!!!

Paz y Amor, Amiga!

Amanda said...

Ohhh....and....the very definition of my name suggests that I'm loveable.

Amanda means WORTHY OF LOVE!!!

I love you, Dana FROM DENMARK!!!