Posso Falar Ingles?

We've been in Portugal now for almost 3 years and I can safely say that my husband has mastered his one and only sentence in Portuguese which is 'posso falar ingles' - basically 'can I speak English'. Yup - we have assimilated in an impressive fashion.

I personally like to ponce around showing off the fact that I actually spent the time learning the language before I arrived in Portugal which is a great ego boost until they respond to me in what seems like another language and I also have to say 'posso falar ingles' - damn it.

I find it especially challenging when our internet goes down and after waiting for days praying that it will come back so I don't have to call anyone, I break down and get on the phone. Often my 'posso falar ingles?' doesn't work and the customer service person basically says 'no'. I can't blame them. Why should they speak English in their own country. Imagine walking down the high street in the UK and having a Portuguese person come up and say 'Can I Speak Portuguese?'. He would be met with some pompous retort like 'what do you think I am man - a foreigner?'

Anyway, my phone conversations with service providers here usually go something like (in Portuguese) 'our internet isn't working and the rep replying 'blah, blah, blah, router, blah, blah, blah). Luckily I realise that the smoke signals have worked and I shuffle over to the router to turn a few knobs. Eventually, we figure it out with both of us putting our heads in our hands and hoping that the next call is easier.

So despite my best efforts at becoming a born again Portuguese gal, I have joined the popular group called 'expats who have been here for 25 years and counting without learning a single word of Portuguese'. I am a grudging member and constantly try to distance myself from this reality by ordering water, bread and fish in Portuguese. I will not be defeated.

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