Fala inglês? Desculpe não.

After a 13 month delay, we returned to Portugal a couple of weeks ago and hit the ground running using the Portuguese we’ve worked so hard at over the past 18 months or so. While we aren’t nearly fluent and still have a hard time with words out of context or when spoken rapidly, we can get by.

Exhibit A: our car purchase. On a Saturday, we struck out to purchase a used car. Rental cars are ridiculously expensive due to COVID era inventory reductions and supply chain problems (or so we think and have heard). Over the long haul, it was much more cost effective to buy. We looked into various lease options as well, but similar inventory issues are plaguing that industry too. So, to Rui at Emoove we go to secure a purchase. Rui speaks next to no English. We looked up a few key phrases and had them written down in case all else failed, but we did pretty well both in comprehension and communication. Car owners we now are!

Exhibit B: when we were here last time, some friends told us that with new iPhones (which we bought in the USA just at the beginning of COVID times but before lockdowns and masks) that there was such a thing as an eSim card that would allow you to get both a Portuguese and US number on the same device. We queried our Verizon people about said theory and they affirmed it (as a long time carrier of two phones, personal and business, this was music to my ears). With new phones purchased, upon return, to the NOS we marched to activate the aforementioned second line in my iPhone. Again, no English spoken here and yet, voila! Transactions made and Portuguese phone lines secured.

While we are no experts yet and are hardly fluent, we are feeling like the hard work is paying off and all of our conjugations, vocabulary lists, reading and lessons are starting to pay dividends. There is nothing like immersion to get better quickly but we feel as though we got a solid foundation over many months of stay-at-home and it was worth the effort made. Kudos to the Portuguese Connection and our amazing teachers there. Muito obrigado todos.

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