Thursday, October 8, 2009

I've been here for a month now...

...Which is evidenced by tan lines; a language barrier that’s rapidly decreasing; and, of course, lots of new experiences.

I really enjoyed my trip to the interior. I got to see a different side of Brazil, that’s for sure. The MST assentamento was really interesting. I got to meet lots of new people and the food was amazing! Fresh fruit, milk straight from the cow, and yes...freshly butchered chicken and cow. The last one threw me a little bit, but I sucked it up and ate the chicken soup that was prepared for us.

I also got to sleep in a hammock every night, and I’d stare up at the stars before I’d fall asleep.

I must say, though, that being back to civilization is comforting. For example, running water is always a big plus, especially in this hot, humid climate! (Aside: showers are a cultural thing here. When you go to someone’s house, it’s very acceptable and even customary to take them up on the offer. Multiple showers per day are also customary: 1 in the morning, one when you come home for lunch, one in the evening.) Even the fact that there’s not hot water doesn’t bother me anymore, since it’s so hot and sticky out the cold shower feels good.

Something happened between the weekend in the interior and now. My Portuguese just really...clicked. I find myself talking not in sentences, but in whole paragraphs. I can understand almost everything when people speak moderately fast, and even when people speak at warp speed I get the gist of the conversation. It was all-of-a-sudden. When I think about where I was a month ago, I can’t believe it.

That’s not to say that Portuguese is easy because it’s NOT. And I still grab for Spanish words that just aren’t words at all in Portuguese. It’s interesting: Portuguese has so many words—words for shades of feeling. For example, to think/believe has four different words in Portuguese; to know has two; and people can be three different words. Also, I think the language is much more formal and less colloquial than English. People use ‘the people’ to say ‘we’ all the time.

The more I learn of Portuguese, the more I realize just exactly how much I still have to learn. But I’ve made such tangible progress that I almost don’t care anymore!

PS. Pictures from Canindé and MST soon!!

1 comment:

Donald said...

Dear Katie,We're so glad your Portugese has kicked in so gqickly! It must be realy hot andhumid there -- like here! Hope you got the sun dress (or soon). We're fine; I'm busy with lots of calligraphy, 3 book clubs, readig, 3 bridge clubs, etc. etc. Auntie Bets comes hereafter Maine for a week. then al converge on NYC! We'll miss you. Bess wants to go to CO spring break instead of a 16th BD party. Good plan. Love yor blog -- and you. Gran & G'dad