I’ve been studying Portuguese every day it seems for the past 5 years. Of course you have your days when you are too hung over and you realize 5 days have passed without giving a glance at your studies. But I try my best.
What I use to study:
I try to take about 2 hours out of my day each day to study. In the morning when I wake up, I put my headphones in and do 30 minutes of listening to Pimsleur. I do this while I brush my teeth, fix the bed, and do the dishes. After about all that, the 30 minutes is up. I’ll fit Duolingo in when I’m on the toilet taking a shit and perhaps just laying on my bed taking a little rest here and there throughout the day. On my Google Calendar, I’ve set a time everyday at 6pm to study for an hour with semantica-portuguese (which I highly recommend for anyone that wants to learn). I then make flash cards with my notes that I have taken from semantica and study those as well.
Some people can pick up languages really quickly. Not I. It’s always people that are outgoing and have the gift of gab seem to pick up languages faster, which is no surprise. I’m not outgoing nor do I have the gift of gab. I am essentially a mute of a person. So this year I thought, I’ll take classes in person. Why, that is such a romantic idea I thought! Finally I will get in the trenches that I’ve been avoiding and learn the hard way. After a little search online, little did I know that a school was right around the block from where I was living. I popped in and just like that I signed up. $350 bucks for 40 hours in a group classroom environment. I figured this should be good for me. Unless I am drinking, I avoid social environments. Signing up for those classes was like pulling a ciggy out of the box and smelling it. That moment is always better than smoking the ciggy itself.
Classes were to run Monday thru Thursday from 9am to 11:30am. For me, the time couldn’t have been better. I really have no excuse to not be partaking in these classes. Like all things in life, the day of reckoning comes, even if that day is months out.. it always comes. There was nothing like the agony of the first day of school in September after 3 months of summer heaven back in grades school.
Pandering. To drink a beer or not. What to wear? Should I dress like a poor bastered or go with something preppy. I chose poor. A scraggely t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops. It’s the Brazilian way. Not knowing who would be my teacher or the amount of students in class, I walked in with my dainty tea in hand to class. The brazilian teacher was a male, mid 40’s, and everything together. A good looking fella. For students, just one. A 27 year old German girl. A little over weight but she had a big ass. I said hello and shook the teachers hand and then went to shake hers. I got a good feeling from both. I then went to choose my chair and sat about 5 seats away on the opposite side of the room in a lefty chair ( because I write left handed). The teacher then left the room and there were we, just me and the German girl. I didn’t know what to say. I just took a swig at my tea looking straight ahead while noticing her gandering over at me waiting for me to say something. I opened my notebook, acting like I was preparing for class and prayed that the teacher would come back. He didn’t.
I turned my head and there she was smiling at me.
“So how long have you been here in Rio”, I said.
“Oh I just got in last night”.
Funny how some people are. It took her just one day to sign up for class and it took me 5 years.
“Why are you studying portuguese”, I said.
“Well my boyfriend is Brazilian. I want to learn Portuguese so I can communicate with his family”.
“And you”, she says.
“Oh ahhhh, I’ve been trying to learn on my own for 5 years and haven’t been able to, so I’m finally taking classes.”
She gave me a half smile of a laugh and a sad face all-in-one, I didn’t know which way her face would end up but then a big Oi was belted from the teacher as he returned. We both spruced up and gave our attention. I can’t imagine ever being a teacher, it would be the most difficult job in the world for me. I can’t control a conversation let alone a room full of wired students slivering for information.
After an hour and a half, we took a class break. Out we went for coffee and to chit chat. I darted for the bathroom to let out my tea drinking piss. I wanted to stay in that bathroom forever, never to come out.
I made it in that school for 3 weeks, which I consider a huge accomplishment. With no goodbye, I simply just dropped out. I’m sure I’ll see them around town.
It’s just not for me.