FAQ: Language

Question: How is your Spanish… I mean, Portuguese?

Short Answer: Yes, the language of Brazil is Portuguese (but don’t feel badly — not long ago I thought it was Spanish too).

Long Answer: Well I am happy to report that Michael is a total rock star with Portuguese.  He is seriously amazing.  When he speaks, no one can believe that we have only been here for 6 months.  He was recently told that it sounded like he has been living here for 6 YEARS he is so good.  And even more, he’s loving it.  He speaks it as often as possible, going out of his way to talk to our doormen, the waiters, whoEVER he can.  I feel confident that by the end of the year he will be mistaken for a Brazilian.  I think his being fluent in Spanish definitely helped him in this process in a few ways.  First of all, the languages are similar and he said that once he figured out how they differ, he basically knew 60% of Portuguese.  Secondly, I think it’s helpful that Michael had already gone through the process of learning a language.  He knew HOW to learn it.  Finally, he is just super awesome, smart and talented.  He says he’s not especially gifted with languages but is just really dedicated and hardworking which is hard to argue with since he did spend like, 1-2 hours every day for a YEAR studying Portuguese while we were still in San Francisco, before he even asked to get transfered here… Impressive?  I think so.

Oh, wait, you’re asking about MY language abilities??

Well… I’m taking classes and I think I’m doing OK.  I am no where CLOSE to where Michael is, but I’m also a lot better than I was 6 months ago.  At this point I feel relatively self-sufficient.  Recent successes include: going to a doctor for my physical and getting through the entire appointment mostly in Portuguese, ordering dinner to be delivered (talking on the phone is MUCH scarier), and other general, daily communication and SURVIVAL.  I mean, guys, learning a language is freaking hard.  It’s an entire LANGUAGE.  Is anyone else getting how overwhelming that is??  I have never gone through this process so even nailing down which tenses are which in ENGLISH is a challenge.  Seriously, does anyone know the Present Perfect Simple vs. Future Progressive II vs. Conditional I Simple??  No.  We just speak.  And although it would be grrrreat if I could learn like a little baby and just take it in and not worry about these pesky tenses, I can assure you that I’m not a baby and I sure ain’t learning this language by osmosis.  SO…time to get back to the books.  🙂

My really hot translator and me

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