Six years and counting. That’s how long I’ve been living in Canada. And still, I had to check Google to see if that is “I’ve been” or “I’ve being”.
See, English is my second language. Some of it’s rules and grammar are easier to grasp, but some not so much. I have no doubt about when to use “you are” or “your”, which seems to be a puzzle to many native speakers. But it confuses the heck out of me when to decide if I need to be “on the loop” or “in the loop” about something.
Something I always end up laughing about are names and nicknames. I remember on my first job here I was told to get in touch with Bill White (or something like that) and that his name would be on the company’s directory. After 20 minutes searching like a maniac I gave up. Called my co-worker and said that the guy was not on the directory. In 15 seconds he opened the directory and showed me: “Here he is! William White. “. Oh… great.
And I won’t even talk about my accent. I’m so glad that a few of my friends and colleagues got used to it, so they translate what I just said from English to proper English.
But, as I said, six years speaking English daily. It’s my main communication language. Even at home, where 100% of the population speaks Portuguese (dogs included), about a quarter of so of all conversation will involve a word, a phrase or sometimes even a whole idea in English.
All my relationships are in English nowadays and even on my Twitter profile I use English most of the time. Once in a while I dream in English and very often I catch myself thinking in that language. It’s almost second nature nature now.
Almost. There are things I still can’t do in English. I can’t pray in English. I can’t keep focus on someone reading out loud in English (long texts, that is), I’m not able to listen to a conversation if I’m not paying attention to it and I’m utterly unable to count (properly) in English.
The last one is the most annoying one. I CAN count in English. I can also count in Portuguese. But I can’t go from one to the other. And very often I start counting something with someone (reps with a trainer, number of files with a co-worker, lines in a spreadsheet with my boss) and I go: “um, dois, três…” and they go “one, two, three”. And… I’m lost. Have to start again.
Something I’m not entirely sure how to feel about is how nice my fellow Canadians are when it comes to my bad English. I worked with Americans before and they won’t think twice before sticking to your face every mistake in they precious language. Which is bad, for obvious reasons, but also good because you are very unlikely to make that same mistake again.
Canadians, on the other hand, will let you get away with pretty much every possible mistake, as far as they understand what you mean. Some of them will disguise a correction into another sentence on that same conversation, which I deeply appreciate, but most of them won’t even bother. I said something, they got it, move on.
Well, all that is just to say that since all my life revolves around the English language for a while now, and will keep like that for as long as possible, I should probably start to blog in English too. I have my Blog for about 10 years now, exclusively in Portuguese. Time to change that. And nothing better than a totally useless post with zero interesting content to start.
Thanks for reading!