Dear Universe… (aka Language Immersions III)

Dear Universe,

Do you remember when I begged you to get me out of the grey and dreary city of Berlin? Well, I thank you for the bottom of my heart for leading me to this quirky country that has me laughing half the time and shaking my head in bewilderment the other, wondering how the hell things manage to work in that fashion. But that’s the thing, they actually do work!

Here’s the thing though. I have a serious grudge to settle with you. I was under the impression that I was moving to warmer lands and people with sunny dispositions. Well I have no issues with the people, none whatsoever. However, I do have to register a complaint about the sunshine issue. In the ten months that I have been here, I have experienced sand storms, rain that even Noah would complain about (might I remind you that I live in a house, not an arc), and winds that keep all the dogs on my street awake and drive all the cats to my meditation area for refuge! I don’t even remember when was the last time I saw sunshine up here in the Shire. I love clouds, you know I do, but they don’t belong on street level. Even the street cats have to trot with their heads bowed down so they can figure out where they are going.

I learn something new everyday thanks to you. One of my ongoing and most enjoyable projects is learning Portuguese, or shall we say, improving my vocabulary. In the beginning I was under the delusion that speaking Spanish and Italian would speed up the process, but I now realise it hampers growth because I lean far too much on them to express myself. On the other hand, thanks to these two languages, discovering a word in Portuguese that is written in the same way as Spanish, for example but has a completely different meaning can be hilarious.

Polvo – in the entire Spanish-speaking world this means powder, but in Portugal you will not find this item in a beauty shop, bakery or pharmacy, but rather in the depths of the ocean or seafood shop. It is an octopus! Good grief, how, pray tell dear Universe, how does one re-train the mind to shift gears between powder and octopus and not fuck up in the process?

Lula – I had a classmate named Lula, but I don’t think she would’ve appreciated being called a squid. When I first encountered the word I thought maybe, just maybe this was related to a lullaby. Alas, it is always lumped together with the polvo.

Barata – in both Spanish and Italian means cheap (inexpensive) but in Italian it can also mean being cheated. Well in Portuguese I suppose you can consider the item cheap and a cheater, because it robs of you of your peace of mind – a cockroach!

Acordar – in Spanish is to remind or remember, be alert. Well, in Portugal things move at a slower pace, so this is means to wake up. How to remember the difference? I suppose here you have to remember to wake up? Gotta love Portuguese!

The Christmas lights have graced my home dearest Universe, and I felt embraced by the light last night, at home, and completely at peace. So thank you, for your weird jokes of fate and for pulling the rug from under me every so often. You are very naughty and not always nice, but I am learning that you always have a greater plan in mind. NB: my cat also has a word or two to meow at you as well.

Yours in amusement and anticipation of your next trick,

Related entries:

Language Immersions II

Language Immersions

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