quinta-feira, 11 de junho de 2020

Version 2.038

A few days ago, I was contemplating what to do in my old age. Do I stay in the U.S. or not. It just so happened that a Portuguese friend with whom I had not spoken in over three years emailed that same day, which was an odd coincidence because he thinks that I am 100% Portuguese. I disagree. I had always felt like a stranger in Portugal, but after being in the U.S. for half my life, I am indeed a stranger.

When I speak Portuguese, I do so with a slight American accent. It's not that perceptible to me, but it stands out enough that Portuguese people point it out. If I write in Portuguese, I get called on for making mistakes, as if I need to be perfect because I left, when many of those who stayed speak/write worse than me, but that's tolerable. If I write in English, I am conceited.

The strangest thing, I suppose, is that I have never been treated like that in the U.S., where I am an actual stranger. If people perceive that I have a slight accent when I speak English, they ask where I am from with curiosity and celebrate the fact that I came here on my own. Sometimes, they comment on how I speak so clearly and with purpose, which makes it easy for them to understand what I say.

Anyway, today was Portugal Day, so I set up a care package of Portuguese goods and took it over to my Portuguese neighbor, whom I've never met. I even sewed a border on a piece of Portuguese cotton fabric to wrap my things with. My neighbor and his wife, who I think are probably in their 20s, can use it as a table cloth or a picnic blanket. In my package, I included a copy of Fernando Pessoa's Mensagem, tuna cans, soap, tea, a pot holder, and a couple of ceramic pieces. I hope they like it.

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