I really enjoyed the first few classes, I guess it was a bit of a honeymoon period. The classes are centred around a book, O Viagem Do Elefante (The Elephant's Journey), by José Saramago.
I'm at a loss as to why this has become such a struggle. True, the level is high - C2! - but I can follow the book and the discussion in class just fine. I even contribute. Maybe not as much or as eloquently as I'd like to, but it's a small class (6-10 people), so there's room for everyone to chip in.
I like the teacher, she's warm and friendly and very knowledgeable - and from Lisbon, I think. My classmates are nice people as well as interesting - there's an American woman, a French woman, someone who spent his childhood years in Lisbon, a son of Portuguese immigrants, and a guy who has a house in Portugal and spends half the year over there. And I do love books. I'm really enjoying "The Elephant," it's clever and witty and am thinking of reading more by this Nobel-Prize-winning author.
So, what don't I like about this class?
- Having to read out loud. In any language. It's a foible of mine... but I can do it, and everyone is really patient with me.
- Schlepping into town on these cold, dark evenings is the pits.
- Being the worst in class. My level of Portuguese is noticeably lower than everyone else's. But I expected that when I signed up - it's a C2, after all, and that's the highest level there is. I get frustrated with my incompetence and can't stop thinking that, if it were Spanish, I'd be sailing through this and contributing lots and lots.
- For some reason, I'm not connecting with my classmates. I expected to be making friends, but it just isn't happening. The fault, I fear, lies with me, not them. I can feel myself shutting down, isolating myself. It feels like I've got some kind of wall around me while I'm there. Not sure why this is happening or how I can get over myself. I'm worried that, since I've now set up this unfortunate dynamic, it's going to be hard to change it.
The class runs till 24th January, and I've not yet signed up for the next semester. I wish there was something closer to where I live, but there just isn't. There's another class in town, a C1 conversation class. I might try that one for the coming semester. Oh, I just don't know...
I love Portuguese with a passion and not only do I want to keep up my level, but I want to improve! I feel I need a new strategy, and I'm currently ruminating over it.