The Impressive Portuguese

Living in Portugal is pretty easy,  even if you don’t speak the language.  The Portuguese know that their language is difficult to speak.  They pride themselves on the fact that it is hard.  They don’t expect you to speak it and are always pleasantly surprised if you try at all.

Brazilian Portuguese is not the same language really.  It is like British English and American English.  Technically the same, but pronounced wildly differently.  I wish I knew this before we moved and I practiced religiously on Duolingo.  I thought I was getting pretty good, until I came here and realized that the pronunciation is night and day.  Some Portuguese people claim they have a hard time understanding  Brazilians.  For your information, every app to learn Portuguese is in Brazilian.  Sucks.

Portugal is a small country with only 11 million people.  Brazil is huge with over 200 million people.  Any movies or television shows that are dubbed into Portuguese are usually in Brazilian Portuguese and therefore, the people here  wouldn’t want to watch it.   As a result, every TV show and every movie here is in English with subtitles in Portuguese only.  The one exception is cartoons.  They are dubbed.

My point is, the Portuguese are used to hearing English all the time.  They watch TV in English.  They hear English music.  They actually often speak with an American accent.  They claim that they don’t speak English well and then they can carry on elaborate conversations without any difficulty.

I am deeply impressed with the Portuguese.  I would grow tired of paying money to see a movie and then have to read the whole thing.  Or to put on a TV show and have to actually pay attention instead of doing ten things at once, because you need to read the words.  The Portuguese don’t seem to mind.  In fact, I would say that they enjoy watching programs in the original language.   They like being multi-lingual.  They like helping you if you are struggling in their language.

Portugal was recently rated one of the friendliest countries to live in if you are an ex-pat.  I completely agree.  We feel at home here and we can’t even really speak this language.

I love April Fools day.

April Fools is my jam. As far as I am concerned, it is one of the best days of the year. It is a day when you can screw with people and there are few repercussions.
I have always loved it.  As a child, I screwed up a lot and I realized, after having my mom in tears, that jokes about people dying are not cool. I have come a long way.
As many of my friends can attest, I can be relentless. Now…imagine the torment I inflict on my own children and incredibly gullible priest.  My priest has fallen or been the victim of terror over the years.  One year, I was very pregnant and I pretended to fall in the shower.  I banged the shower walls and then calmly sat on the ground waiting for him to arrive.  He did.  Screaming, “Why? No!”  Tears streaming down his face.  He had forgotten what day it was.  It was cruel.  Maybe too cruel, so I started doing trickier things.  Like the year I put multiple signs on his car that said,  “Honk and wave at me.  It is April Fools day and I have no idea this sign is on the car.”  He was so distracted that so many people were waving at him.  He was distressed by his new found popularity.

This year was hard.  April Fools day also happened to be Easter Day.  I was rushing preparing for both and I had to pull an all nighter to prepare.   Freezing food, plastic wrapping toilets, filling Easter eggs with grapes and croutons, trashing my kids rooms….it was a lot.  The pranks were good.  Green water poured out of the taps, food was tainted, people were mad.  My job was done.

This year something magical happened.  My kids actually pulled off pranking me.  At the end of the day, I was wiped out and headed to brush my teeth.  As the pressed on the toothpaste tube, this gross milky substance shot out.  They replaced all of my toothpaste.  Impressed?  I was.  I thought that was it.  I started to swig my mouthwash when I began to gag.  They replaced it with vinegar dyed blue.  It was nasty.  I was so proud.

If my kids learn nothing from me, at least they have understood the joy of comedy.  The students became the master.  I went to bed happy.