An Open Letter to an Entity Unlikely to Respond

Avery Ashwill - Brazil

October 9, 2012

Dear Portuguese,

You haunt my dreams at night. I wake up in cold sweats wondering how I’ll begin to decode you. You’re like Spanish’s drunk sister, or Italian’s less rhythmic mother, or French’s brother who caught a cold. You make me feel like I’ve got 27 marbles in my mouth, while chewing gum, as I humbly attempt to string together all the o’s and the a’s.

You’re hard on your speakers. You let eight year olds run around calling a fork in the road a bifurcation because you never really let go of your latin roots, you mama’s boy. You’ll put a hat on your ê, or give it a spiked hair stylé or leave it bald depending on your mood. There are something like 16 different verb tenses and you’ve left me struggling with the concept of a future subjunctive tense, as I come from a language where we don’t worry about “expressing future time after certain conjunctions.”

There seem to be no rules embedded in you, Portuguese. You’re carefree, beautiful, and lazy. Sometimes you try and take shortcuts but you’re only making it harder on yourself. Don’t you know there are people out there wondering why the words for “but” and “more” are pronounced the same but spelled differently? Are you aware that you’ve truly outdone yourself with the secondary pluperfect verb tense? And did it dawn on you that perhaps the use of an acute accent, a circumflex, and a tilde is a bit excessive?

I digress. If French is the language of love, well then, Portuguese, you’re the language of lust. You’re hot, heavy, hard to read and even harder to understand. Like a beautiful man or woman you stun me with your curves and knock me off balance with your tone. You’re the cat that’s got my tongue; the one track in my mind. I find myself dreaming of speaking with you and feeling deflated after another day lost in translation. But I’m fixated on you, Portuguese. I’m like the creepy girl in the hallway that makes you shudder because she can’t get enough. I’m determined to learn you. And frankly, Portuguese, you don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself into, because in six months time, I’ll be the one throwing you around.

Your friend without benefits,


Avery Ashwill