Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Piacere" and the handshake

The word 'piacere' in Italian means "nice to meet you." Both here in Italy, as well as at home in the U.S., handshakes are a common way to either greet or say goodbye to someone. Here in Italy they also use kisses on each cheek as a greeting (as well as in many other parts of Europe).

For allergic reactors, greeting people can sometimes to be challenging. There have been numerous times where I have nervously given out my hand to shake, while hoping to not break out into hives. It is hard to awkwardly explain my allergies to someone I am just meeting or don't know well. I don't want to hesitate and not be polite and shake their hand. I also don't want to get hives from peanuts I just saw them eat. It is a fine line between being polite and keeping myself safe!

If I have just seen someone eating something that I am allergic to, I usually just tell them. I am not going to shake their hand whether it was nice to meet them or not! I don't want to take that kind of risk. Most of the time, there really is no way of knowing. I carry wipes with me at all times, but that is really all that I can do!

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