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reading hello

January 14, 2017

Living back in the South again, it’s been easy to readjust to trees and mild moist weather. It’s harder to stop speaking Inuktut to say hello.

A southern colleague felt slighted when I greeted them by looking in their eyes and raising my eyebrows. They thought I was ignoring them. In Nunavut, that same greeting often results in a softening and brightening of the Inuk face I’m looking at, and a longer mirroring gaze back at me. We take the time to see each other. I’m speaking the local language and that means something.

I miss this silent language of greeting. Back home, I smile and wave and speak ritual words. I experience this as more effort for less connection, and sometimes as less honest.

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