As a language teacher, I often warn my students that they will say something embarrassing without meaning it. Everyone does it, everyone feels silly, you just accept it, don’t make the same mistake twice, and move one. I’m going to Portugal in five days and I have accepted the fact that I’ll make a few blunders while I’m learning Portuguese. However, I didn’t expect that I would make a fool of myself even before leaving the US.
I’ve been in contact with the program secretary, Teresa, for a few months now. Teresa recently put me in contact with Margarida who will be tutoring me for three weeks in Portugal. Margarida told me that Teresa would be reserving a classroom for our lessons, but she wasn’t sure if Teresa had yet. I emailed Teresa this morning and asked her if she had reserved a room for Margarida and me. And that was my blunder.
You see, I used word “quarto” which I thought meant “room,” as in an enclosed space with four walls, but actually only means “bedroom.” The word I should have used was “aula” which means classroom. I basically asked the secretary if she had reserved a bedroom for Margarida and me. Teresa is a funny woman and she wrote back, “I haven’t reserved a bedroom for you, but I have reserved a classroom ;)” The winky smile eased my embarrassment and made me glad that Teresa knew I had made an honest mistake and wasn’t some American creeper. I’m sure I’ll embarrass myself much more frequently when I’m actually in Portugal.