Language barriers are a lot of fun. I’ve had a great time the past few days trying to communicate through Google translate, hand gestures, facial expressions, and broken attempts at Spanish. Today we took the attempts a step further by starting Portuguese lessons at Universidade Metodista de Sao Paulo, and it was a blast! Our instructor, Professor Betania, is engaging and laid-back, switching from power-points to the white board to the fruit on the reception table, because “everything is Portuguese class to me!”
We all had a bit of trouble with the pronunciations, but we were partnered with University students who spoke both English and Portuguese and who coached us step-by-step. I now understand what Professor Betania meant when she described the language as a type of singing: it relies heavily on inflection, and it sounds like music to hear native Brazilians converse! With only two hours of instruction under my belt, I already have a much greater appreciation for the Portuguese language and for the University, which we toured after class.
Every person we practiced with in the cafeteria and on the sidewalks was incredibly amicable and helpful, and- it sounds odd to say it, but- I can’t wait for class tomorrow!
Side note from the editor AKA Dr. Kovach: Martha celebrated her birthday today! We (well, really our Brazilian friends) sang to her in Portuguese. It is no surprise that the Brazilian happy birthday song (sung to the same tune) is far more energetic (clapping and shouting and made up noises) than the American version. Parabens pra voce Marta (the deletion of the h is deliberate). We are so happy to celebrate you in Brazil! Marta’s host family was also happy to celebrate as they threw her a surprise birthday party!!!