Monday, March 15, 2010

Forced Portuguese

Tomorrow, Claudia and Paulo leave for China for two weeks. Here to stay with the kids are Claudia's parents. I don't know their names yet. What I do know is that they speak Portuguese. Only Portuguese. So begins my complete immersion into the Portuguese language. They can't speak English to me, and the kids don't really speak to me much anyhow(especially not in English), so it looks like I have to speak and attempt to understand Portuguese for the next 2 weeks. I know this is really for the best and will help me learn faster, but the idea of it is still daunting.

They arrived tonight and straight away Grandma started telling me that she doesn't speak English but that she'll speak slowly to me and use a lot of hand gestures (I actually completely understood her saying that in Portuguese). A little dinner conversation in both languages went nicely too. But after dinner, Grandpa pulled out a newspaper and started talking to me about how people don't use paper money anymore and the serious evils of buying on credit (a popular topic here). The fact that I understood any of this is ridiculous. I followed very little of the conversation, but I nodded, smiled, and secretly rejoiced that I at least understood a little of my first financial discussion in Portuguese. Point, Stipp.

So I think this is going to be really great for me. I have been trying to get the folks around here to speak only Portuguese to me for weeks now, but they mostly fall back into English quickly or simply respond to my Portuguese attempts with English in the first place. So, hopefully by the time Claudia and Paulo arrive home I will have advanced a bit and we can continue on in an English-free household.

Wish me luck!

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