Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I'm getting a tiny bit better at navigating day-to-day life in a country that doesn't speak English. I'm learning that it's better to just throw it out there than to not even try. Brazilians, while they may laugh at you, are also laughing with you at your crap language skills. I practice with my maid every chance I get, because she's a captive audience, poor thing. A few weeks ago, some shoes I bought for the Marine Ball arrived. Man, they looked sexy and cute on Zappos.com. Black, silky, and strappy. I tried them on and they fit perfectly. And then I stood up and fell on my booty. I got out the measuring tape--four inch heels.  Zappos lies!!!! So I wore my boring-but-comfortable 2 1/2 inch strappy sandals and we left the ball early anyway because I was sick. Boo hoo.  The next day, when Graca came to clean the house, she spied the Calvin Klein box and said something like, "lindo" and "sapatos".  Now, I know enough portuguese to know she liked the shoes. I pantomimed for her to try them on and she declined, using words like "pés" and "grandes". I didn't know what pés are, but I'm pretty sure she was saying her feet were too big. Well, it was her lucky day, because I have huge feet. And they fit her.  I know she'll wear them because she walks to our house from the bus wearing four-inch heels all the time. Later that evening, I noticed that all the shoes in my closet had been neatly arranged and organized.

Today I had a whole conversation with Graca. And when I say "conversation", I mean a butchered, pathetic attempt at communication. I was making a latte, would she like one, yes, but no steamed milk, she's allergic to milk, that sort of thing. I was pretty impressed with myself so I began a new conversation with her about the kitchen. Here is where I say that Jack has been teaching us the slang words in portuguese, and I think I mixed them up. What I'm saying is that I think I told Graca that I wished my tiny asshole had windows. Because she laughed. At me and with me (I hope). Cuzinha? Cozinho?


Lisa said...

I'm not touching that one with a 10 foot pole. Made me laugh, though.

Anonymous said...

I am an American living in Portugal for over 10 years and there are still some words I never attempt. For example, the word battery in Portuguese is dangerously close to the word for penis. Do you see how one could get in trouble when one needs a battery?