Monday, June 22, 2009

Speaking in broken tongues

Yesterday my sister said something to me that I didn't quite hear and I responded with, "O que?" As in the Portuguese for, "What?"

In the airport in France the other day a man was speaking with me in French, I think I responded in a strange Portuguese/English/Krio mix, just trying to find something that he would understand.

I am at this moment reading an article in Mens Health Portugal about the form of self-defense that James Bond or Jason Bourne uses. I'm understanding parts of it but feel like I'm in first grade again where you kind of word call until you get to something you understand and then see how that word might illuminate the parts of the sentence that were glazed over a moment before. If I was doing a running record for myself I would have so many "repeated phrases" marks that the score card would probably look like a game of shutes and ladders.

Today at the mall an Asian man asked me in hesitant English if I wanted a massage. I replied with, "Nao, obrigado" which translated from Portuguese means, "No, thanks". I'm pretty sure I didn't consciously think that a random Asian man in the Augusta mall would speak Portuguese, but that's what popped out.


This is an unexpected complication in my world tour. How many different bits of languages can my brain hold? It would be different if I was fluent in each, but I'm not. And I'm thinking that unless I decide to stay in each place for longer than two years I am probably not going to be reaching the fluency level in any of the places.
(3 days later)
Life is good.
I've been in the states for a bit over a week and am really relishing my time with friends and family. Despite the fact that this will be a shorter time in the states than previous visits I am squishing in together time with different people so as to make up for lost time. It's like a three week long round of speed dating (not that I've tried speed dating... I'm just saying it's what I think speed dating would be like...).
"Hey! How's it going?"
"Great, what have you been up too?"
"Not much, pretty much the same."
"Where are you going next year?"
"Staying in Portugal"
"Ummm, see ya next year."
None the less, broken conversations kind of match my broken language right now so it all works out.