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Can You Teach an Old Mom New Tricks?

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We all know we're supposed to keep challenging our brains, but some days just figuring out dinner is harder than the Sunday Times' crossword with a side of mind-crunching Sudoku.

Karyn Bryant: Not to toot my own horn, but I was a pretty good student in my day. That day, however, was a while ago. So when I decided to learn Portuguese, I was actually a little bit chicken (which is always a good, fast choice for dinner in a pinch).

woman using computer

I'd heard that Portuguese was a very difficult language to learn, and that knowing some Spanish wouldn't really help. I've found neither of those statements to be 100% true. It is a little tricky sometimes, but only because I do know a decent amount of Spanish, and some things are just different enough to be confusing, which is annoying. And which ultimately brings out the psycho student (who was really used to seeing A's on her report card) in me.

I'm using Rosetta Stone, which I very highly recommend, but when I answer incorrectly and get that sad game-show "wah waaaah" sound effect and the X appears on the screen, I get more than a little buggy. I've even been known to yell expletives at the screen when the speech-recognition meter rebukes me repeatedly. In English, though, since I haven't learned any Portuguese swear words. Yet. No doubt about it, I am the top student in my classroom, but I'm amazed at how competitive I am with the others: you know, Me, Myself, and I.

What excites and amazes me about the whole process though is how just trying something new has turned on my brain again. After three years of nearly 24-7 mom duty and all the repetitive, often mind-numbing things that go along with it, I'm loving doing something just for me. I'm not quite dreaming in Portuguese yet, but I dream about it. I imagine conversations with people. I plan trips to Rio de Janeiro in my head, and cruise Brazilian restaurants looking forward to the day when I'm ordering like a native. And they do have some very yummy food, so this will be fun. Tchau!



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