This morning was an early riser… I looked at today’s waxing and felt it pulse… There’s a kind of throbbing about it, pushing out waves of colour… I briefly thought of the Northern Lights but that wasn’t really speaking to me, then my eye was drawn to the right hand side and oh… That kind of looks like a… Oh… Hmmm… Maybe I just have the kind of mind that sees that everywhere? I decided to let go of that thought and open up to writing about whatever came my way on this morning’s journey…
So, the day is dull and grey but the inside of my car is vibrant and filled with energy. I have 5 members of team Portugal with me and they all talk at once in their mother tongue. I never understand what they say as none of the words ever feel familiar to me, but I like the sound much in the same way that I find a babbling brook to be soothing. I know they’re talking about rotas as I keep hearing them mention the shift manager’s name. They laugh a lot and I like that when they make jokes, always one of them will break away from the group conversation to translate for me. They make a lot of jokes, so there’s very little of their conversations that I’m not party to.
I drop off 3/5 of the team and H says to me – Karen, soon you will learn to speak Portuguese. I laugh and say that I’ll need a lot of help! I tell him I went onto Duolingo and it’s too slow to go anywhere useful. Lesson after lesson on I have bread and water, he is a boy, she is a girl. I mean seriously when I am ever going to use that?
He says oh OK Karen, I know you love colourful language. I’ll teach you phrases you will like. I’ll explain Portuguese sayings into English for you and you can say them in English and make Portuguese people laugh. I say OK H, what have you got?
Karen, you know you say pingle for useless colleague? We would say that someone is – toasting a poop*. This I find highly amusing and we burst into laughter. H continues – OK you say losing your mind, we say frying your popcorn, you say procrastinating, we say scratching your tomatoes. Hey, you need to go on Instagram and find @theportuguesedictionary.
*ETA I remembered that wrong… It’s pooping a toast.
I tell him that I will do that as soon as I get back to base. He tells me – but really Karen, you only need to learn one word. Learn this word, you can use it for absolutely anything and everything. It’s about how you say it, the energy you put in. You come to Portugal and say this word with conviction to a local and they will incorporate you into everything going on. It’s like a VIP backstage pass!
He tells me the word. He has me shouting with gusto! We sound out a range of emotions accompanied by improvised hand gestures.
Caralho! Ca… Ra… Lho! CARalho… CaraLHO!
He laughs – that’s it! You got it! Hey Karen, you know what it means? I tell him nope, he tells me and I laugh some more. I think back to my waxed image and think… OK, sometimes you do just have to go with the first thing that comes!