Recife. We made it down to Recife for the Easter weekend. It's great to be back seeing friends (such as Fabinho and Duia) who we've missed since moving to Natal. We decided to catch a flight down. It took half an hour - the shortest domestic flight I've ever taken. They didn't bother turning the fasten seat belt signs off cos by the time we had finished take off we were about to land. Nelson charmed the passengers and was unusally fond of one of the air stewardesses and kicked up a huge fuss when we left the plane without her... On the agenda for the next few days - the beach, watching and playing football and the sunrise church service on Easter Sunday.
Portuguese Learning - é tão dificil, né? Encouragingly, being back in Recife shows me that the Portuguese is slowly improving as I can banter a bit more freely. So I thought I'd mention a bit about this extraordinary language. It is darn complicated and fluency is hard to attain because each verb has to be conjugated seperately. Still, in other parts of the language NE Brazilians show great economy in their use of Portuguese. Some examples,
1) "E ai" is the Brazilian equivelent for "Now then" in Yorkshire. It covers all eventualities, is a greeting, a conversation starter and a gap filler all in one. It roughly translates to "And there" and is pronounced eee-eye-eee.
2) "Valeu" is the Brazilian equivelent for "Cheers" and "Alright". When playing football it gets thrown in all over the place and seems to mean thanks, sorry, well done, good pass, goal, calm down, the ball was out, I'll do better next time, did you see that?, could you get me a bottle of water because I'n so thirsty etc. etc.
3) "Foi mesmo foi?" "Foi!". "Foi" is a very versatile word in Portuguese as it means both "it/he/she was" and "it/he/she went". After some surprising incident or story is related, somebody will usually say "Foi mesmo foi?" which literally means "it was really the same, was it?". I suppose in England we would say "is that right?" or "really?". Back comes the answer "Foi!" - "It was!".
4) "Não. Não pode não." This is the slogan for the Brazilian anti-piracy organisation. It comes from an advert where a man tells his son he can't watch a pirated DVD. It shows how não - "no" - is very flexibily used as it is also stands for "not" in English. It is thrown in willy nilly into almost any negative sentence at any place any number of times. In this case, the Father says to his son "Não. Não pode não" (pronounced: Now. Now podgy now). In English, "No. No you can't".
The library of love. They'll both kill me for mentioning this on my blog but Amy (my sister-in-law) and Mark (my school buddy and best man) are now "an item" or as my Aunt Betty says "special friends". Mark works mornings in the library in the language school in Natal and Amy works afternoons - so perhaps it was over an order for more English File Textbooks that the spark of something more was found. In any case, they're spending a lot of this weekend down here in Recife with Amy's friend Erica and her boyfriend Ricardo. I'm sure everyone's having fun!