Much to my horror I found out last week that Ana is not going to be my teacher this month. She’s going to be teaching an intermediate level class and I’m going to be in the advanced class. We had our last class together on Friday and it ended with a tearful embrace. Well, not really, but I was bummed. What really bummed me out is that Ana is my best friend here and I’m really going to miss chatting with her every day.
We started class yesterday and I’m in class with about 10 other people and there isn’t anyone else in the class from North America. My new teacher is Maria de Jesus and I like her just fine, but she’s no Ana. She reminds me a lot of the aunt from My Big Fat Greek Wedding that can’t believe that the finance is a vegetarian and finally says, “Okay, I make lamb.” You know, the kind of person that doesn’t always listen. For example, there’s a guy in our class who goes by his last name. I can’t remember his name because it’s African and unfamiliar to me so I’ll just call him Steve Holt. After saying that he goes by his last name, Maria responded like this, “Your last name? No, in Portugal a last name is only to distinguish your family. We will call you Steve.” And she’s referred to him as Steve ever since.
We took a test yesterday to see if we were in the correct class. The test was harder than I expected and I was worried that I was going to get sent to an intermediate class. And now the awkward part. Maria asked for volunteers today to find out the results of the test. So in front of everyone she told us how we did and talked about our weak points, etc. I wasn’t quite expecting that especially since I volunteered first. The first thing she said, “I don’t know, Benjamin, I think you’re in the wrong class,” and I was instantly bummed and said, “I want to stay in this class if I can,” to which she said, “I think you should be in the advanced 2 class.” I hadn’t expected that. You see, there is a lower advanced and a higher advanced class and she wants to send me to the next one. No decision has been made yet.
And now for the fun part. I really like my classmates and have made some friends finally. We have a 30 minute break every day and today I got some food with Sofia from Spain, Stephanie from France, Evaline from Belgium, and Camilo from Colombia. Stephanie is really tall and quite pretty and was even kind enough to offer to share her beer with me (I politely declined). We all went to lunch together and went out for coffee, too. I had a Sprite and a piece of cake described as the best chocolate cake in the world. I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty delicious. Four of us even met up for dinner and it was a blast. The most surprising part is that we only speak Portuguese together. I haven’t spoken so much Portuguese since I got here and it’s really helping me even though none of us is fluent. We all speak Spanish so we throw in lots of Spanish words, but we all know what’s going on.
I would call us a group of friends, but I hope we become a clique. We’re too awesome to not be exclusive. All kidding aside, it’s nice to have people to spend time with. While I’ve met a lot of people here, they already have their establish friendships and my Portuguese isn’t great so we rarely get past pleasantries and discussing the weather. It’s nice to finally know people that are as bored as I am and want to do stuff with me. I’m glad I have people that want to hang out with me.