So last night I made what I think was a significant milestone: I successfully ordered a pizza for pickup, in Portuguese, over the telephone. For anyone learning a foreign language, the telephone can be a communication nemesis. When talking to someone in person, you have lots of body language cues in addition to the words being spoken, so even if you don’t understand exactly what is being said, when paired with gestures and facial expressions, you can often understand the message. The telephone, of course, does not offer this additional communication channel and it can be very difficult, at times, to communicate effectively. In addition, the audio quality is not as good as being in person, which doesn’t help the situation.
You might be wondering about the pizza? Well, I can say it was very good, but different. In Brazil (at least up here in the north), pizzas don’t come with sauce. Actually, the pizza reminded me of the way we use focaccia bread in the United States, especially because the crust is very thick and bread-like. To add further interest to the meal, it came with little packets of ketchup and mayonnaise. I suppose the goal is to apply these items to the pizza, but I admit that I did not partake.