Learning a new language is tough! Well for me it is! For some people it comes more naturally but no matter who you are… it still requires A LOT of HARD work and PERSISTENCE!! We hear over and over again, “You’re so lucky to be born in a country that English is the first language” And yes, we are blessed!
In February 2011 we went to China so Mandarin was the language. We learned enough VERY basic Mandarin to get by. Our driver was a HUGE help and charades worked REALLY well in China! The Mandarin language has got to be the HARDEST language to learn, after all there are over 3000 characters to know. Well we only managed to recognize a few characters. We were told “it is too hard and you are only here for a year so don’t bother with lessons” you’ll NEVER get it! So…we didn’t bother with lessons. Like I said we learned a bit…and we managed.
Fast forward to Brazil…We arrived in Sao Paulo, April 2012 and the basic everyday words I learned in China were so ingrained that I was still using them in the airport in Brazil. Xie Xie! Oh my…it will take a little bit to switch over to Portuguese. Yes, Portuguese NOT Spanish! Brazil is the ONLY South America country to speak Portuguese. Again…only gonna be in Brazil one year. When will we use Portuguese again? BUT…this time we took lessons…well a few!
I found it a little frustrating because I just wanted to learn to speak! I wanted to be able to go to the grocery store or meat market or places like that and know what they were asking me and be able to order the things I needed/wanted. I found classes frustrating because it was not helping with that objective I had. Being out and about with the ladies doing our daily walks and errands helped me more with that than anything so…I stopped lessons! David continued for a while longer. For him, he needed to be able to get a Brazilian Driver’s license and train Brazilian’s at work that speak ONLY Portuguese ( in China English is spoken a lot at the plant) so there was a little more pressure for him. But after awhile decided to stop too! I think we are lazy…maybe not! We just get busy DOING things and hate to be tied up in classes all the time! Besides in Brazil…unless you say the word PERFECT…they come back with Oi? At least in Resende… Sao Paulo and Rio are better, but in Resende, some just don’t want to even bother trying to understand what you say…and charades don’t work the same here! So…Eu não falo Português. Falo Inglês works fine for me! Again, we learned a bit.
NOW…Back to China June 2013. For a year…maybe longer! David & I both decided on lessons this time. Yes classes but also trying to learn more with our Chinese friends. Problem is most times our Chinese friends want to practice their English. But we will have to insist a little more this time.
In the meantime, I think I better get out this book for a few weeks and brush up on what Mandarin I know. I don’t want to be speaking Portuguese in Beijing airport!
TChau…I mean Zàijiàn or Míngtiān jiàn! 🙂