I’m not bad at Spanish. In fact, I generally say that I am fluent, but that gets me into trouble when people speak Spanish to me and I’m not expecting it, as it takes me awhile to ease into it. I speak it when the mood strikes. Portuguese, however, I am finding incredibly easy and natural, and I’m realizing (thanks to my teacher identifying it as so) that, while my sister may have been a heritage speaker of Spanish, I am actually a heritage speaker of Portuguese. I take a Portuguese for Spanish Speakers class three days a week, and in just two weeks of class I feel more comfortable with this language than I ever have with Spanish. There’s something about Portuguese that makes you want to speak it, whereas Spanish doesn’t have that allure.
I always say that Portuguese is like a party in your mouth, which is true. And I seem to just have a natural affinity for it, after hearing it my whole life. Three weeks in Brazil four and a half years ago did something to me, and I adopted the country and its language as something that feels most like home to me. Maybe it’s that in Brazil more than any other place, nobody looks at me and asks me questions about what I am or how it is that I am so many things. Maybe it’s because I heard Portuguese growing up. Maybe it’s just because Brazil is an excellent country. But I can see that this one semester of Portuguese may make me more of a fluent speaker than Spanish classes ever will.