michaelby Sharon Michael

Personal space doesn’t seem to exist in Italy. People are quick to say “per favore” and “grazie,” but they rarely say “scusi” when they bump into you on the street. When I say “scusi” when I brush against someone they either ignore me or turn to me with a questioning look.

I’ve lived on the east and west coasts of America, as well as in the south, so I know that personal space standards vary from place to place and even within co-located cultural groups. In all of the places I’ve lived people are expected to apologize when they brush against you in a public place.

In the US people claim space; in Cagli people seem more comfortable sharing space, even with strangers. After two weeks in Cagli, it seems odd to me that we have such an attachment to personal space in the US.

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