I have been here for almost three months now and I wish I could say that I am fluent in Brazilian Portuguese…I’m not even close. Portuguese is hard! I have learned a tremendous amount of words since I’ve been here and I am able to communicate simply with people but that’s about it. It’s the speaking part that gets me. I’m beginning to be able to read quite a bit and I can even understand a lot more but my speaking is minimal.
Before I came to Brazil I read the book, “Eat, Pray, Love” and one of the things I so appreciated about the author’s journey was how much she loved learning the Italian language. When she talks about the perfect word being “Attraversiamo” meaning let’s cross over, she describes the word as containing all of the beautiful sounds of the Italian language.
I’ve always tried to keep this perspective in my head as I learn Portuguese because Portuguese is a beautiful language. I love the “ão” sound in São Paulo or pão. My teacher says I pronounce this sound perfectly. I also love the fact that you can add the ending “inho” to almost any word and it means small. For example, the word dog in Portuguese is “cachorro,” if you add inho to the end you get “cachorrinho” which means little dog or puppy.
The problem is I don’t always feel this way about learning Portuguese, a lot of time what I feel is pressure. I mean the only way I am going to survive here in São Paulo is to learn this language, so I put pressure on myself to learn quickly and when I can’t I feel defeated. My teacher, husband, friends, and family all very encouraging and I will continue to try but there are times when I don’t think I’m going to make it because Portuguese is hard! But there is a bright side…at least I’m not trying to learn Chinese.