Old Habits……Die Hard

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We had a bit of an unsettled week here in Portugal last week, followed by a very enjoyable weekend.

As any long term readers of the blog will know, every now and then we get “wobbly days” with regard to being here – something that most expats we speak to can relate to. We had a few last week.

Learning Portuguese - we are trying!
Learning Portuguese – we are trying!

We have made a real effort to learn some Portuguese. Maybe it is just because it was the end of the tourist season, but despite how well we pronounced things, practically everyone we interacted with last week insisted on speaking back to us in slow, condescending English.

This language based game usually entertains us. We call it “the fight.” We speak Portuguese, the Portuguese person speaks English and everyone sticks to their guns until eventually one party gives in. If we end the conversation speaking Portuguese it is a victory for us. If we give in and speak English then we lose.

I say it usually entertains us. Last week it happened so much it was frustrating. It made us think that even years down the line we are still going to be seen by strangers as stupid English people, which doesn’t seem fair when we are making an effort to learn the language.

We had one triumph last week though, when speaking Portuguese with a local lawyer. He complimented us on our Portuguese and was very surprised we had only been here ten months, even asking whether we had previously lived in Brazil or Spain.

He then said something that gets to the heart of the whole issue: “geralmente o Inglês, não tente aprender,” which means “generally the English do not try to learn.”

So, basically, we will continue to be tarred with the stupid brush because of the “two large beers please,” crowd who come here on holiday and don’t even attempt a “bom dia “ or “obrigada.” Irritating to say the least.

Anyway, after an annoying week we had a very pleasant weekend with lots of cooking and sunshine and a Saturday on Montegordo beach with some great waves – the best kind that knock you over if you don’t pay attention.

We followed this with a Chinese meal which has become a treat now due to the nearest good Chinese being 10 miles away – see Chinese Restaurants in Montegordo over at Food and Wine Portugal for details!

We then had one of those Sundays that just feels perfect. A lie in, Sunday papers in the sunshine, followed by roast chicken and ‘Friends” DVDs. This was exactly the kind of Sunday we

Chinese in Montegordo
Chinese in Montegordo

used to have when we lived in London and we hadn’t realised how much we missed it.

In the ten months we have been here we have been charging towards the beach every Sunday or exploring some new part of the local area. We failed to realise that our perfect Sunday had been born of extensive research into what we actually wanted to do.

As we were living in a new country, our brains tricked us into thinking we should do something new on a Sunday, when there was in fact nothing wrong with what we always used to do. True, we now have sunshine and access to a pool, which can be incorporated into our Sunday routine, but other than that we plan to revert to what our Sundays always used to be like. No more rushing around – it is not what Sundays are for!

So, having discussed one old habit we are reinstating, I guess I have to address another habit…..giving up smoking. Last week was partially successful.

My electronic cigarette turned out to give me migraines, leading to a small relapse. However, I am now down to just three cigarettes per day, which is a huge improvement. I am still rather annoyed with myself but I have managed to reduce my consumption by 86% which isn’t bad at all.

I am awaiting a book from Amazon called Stop Smoking, Stay Cool: A Dedicated Smoker’s Guide to Not Smoking

This book has worked for several people who have not responded well to some of the more popular giving up smoking methods and appeals to me as someone who doesn’t particularly like being told what to do. Hopefully it will arrive this week – I will let you know how I get on.

Have a good week 🙂

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6 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Check out this site with tools and tips for giving up smoking… its really rather good: http://smokefree.nhs.uk/

  2. Olá, bom dia.

    O problema da língua é delicado, a “guerra” que descreve é, na maior parte das vezes, apenas a consequência de alguém a tentar ser simpático. Experimente dizer logo de ínicio:

    “Importa-se que falemos em Português? Estamos a tentar aprender a língua e gostaríamos de conversar em Português, se houver dificuldades diremos”

    Verá que não só fará mais amigos como ainda será elogiado por tal.

    Um abraço.

    PS-Não desistam, Portugal e o Algarve em particular não são o paraíso, mas para quem pode, ainda são um fantástico local para se viver.

  3. Boa tarde CcoR,

    Obrigado por esta sugestão – uma grande idéia!

    Bom fim de semana!


    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  4. I don’t think the others might think you are stupid to not speak portuguese as the locals. If they do, who are stupid are them.
    You see, portg is really difficult and it has the logical of the setences different from english, then the verbs etc…take the time you and do not feel the pressure on you.
    Boa Sorte, tudo irá correr bem, e continuem a praticar a língua com os vossos amigos portgueses! you can email me if you want.

  5. *it missed a word above: take the time you need, and not feel the pressure on you.

  6. Fatima – Obrigado pelo vosso apoio e incentivo 🙂


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