冠状病毒 – The Coronavirus :-(

It is strange to think that about three or four weeks ago most people in countries like Portugal still did not think the coronavirus was a big deal. Most of us (including me) thought it was mostly the media feeding the flames of panic and hysteria. However, within a week, most people went from not worrying about it to not wanting to leave the house, and demanding the government to take stronger measures.

I wrote the first text below on March 8th. A few days before I had started to get a bit worried about the virus because a conference I was going to attend in May was cancelled. At the time, I was not convinced that it was necessary to cancel the conference, although it would be attended by hundreds of people from all over the world. However, only a few days after, I wrote the first text, and it is clear that I was already concerned about the virus, but not yet seeing what the situation would be like. Less than one week after that, my thoughts about the virus and the whole situation had completely changed. The second text was written two weeks after the first one.

Below are the texts I wrote in Chinese, corrected by my online teacher on Italki. It seems that the text was written by a child, but that is because my Chinese is still weak 😀

March 8th 2020


Coronavirus has arrived in Portugal. Coronavirus is not welcome! There have been more than a dozen infected people, and in my city there are sick people alredy.


I don’t think the virus is too dangerous, but if many people have the virus, maybe Portuguese hospitals can’t treat everyone. Besides, I take the bus every day, and I also work at a university. Because I have contact with many people every day, it gets more dangerous.

[…] 我讨厌这个病毒。我五月在一个其他的城市会有一个很大的会议,但是他们已经决定不会有会议,因为有病毒。 我希望在夏天的时候不会有病毒,因为我想要到荷兰旅行!

I hate this virus. I was going to attend a big in another city in May, but they have decided to cancel the conference because of the virus. I hope there will be no viruses in the summer, because I want to travel to the Netherlands!

March 22nd, 2020

外面天气很好,太阳很大,温度比较高。小鸟也在唱歌。看起来今天是完美的! 但是今天不是那么完美。所有的人应该在家里,不应该出去。从三月二号在葡萄牙有冠状病毒。 感染者越来越快速增加。 感染者已经增加到一千多人,已经有十四人死了。我觉得这样的情况会持续很久。

The weather is beautiful, the sun is shining, and it is warm. The birds are singing. It seems like the perfect day! But it is not perfect, because everyone has to stay home, they cannot go out. The coronavirus has been in Portugal since March 3rd. The number of infected people is increasing rapidly. The number of infected people has increased to more than a thousand, and 14 people have died. I think this situation will last for a long time.

幸好我不是一个人。而且我有一些目标,比如,提高我的中文。现在我有比较多时间学汉语,上网课,所以我可以开始准备, 然后考HSK 4。而且我有很多书。在圣诞节的时候,我的朋友和家里人送给我很多外语的书。现在我终于有空看这些书。我也有很多外国的朋友,现在我有机会跟他们聊天。我有空用skype跟他们交流。我跟我的男朋友也玩游戏。幸好我们在家里有阳台,我可以坐那里看街道或者一边晒太阳,一边写这篇文章。

Fortunately, I am not alone. Besides, I have some goals, such as improving my Chinese. Now I have more time to learn Chinese and take online courses, so I can start prepare for HSK 4. I also have many books. On Christmas, my friends and family gave me many foreign language books. Now I finally have time to read them. I also have many foreign friends, and now it is the opportunity to chat with them. I have time to Skype with them. I also play games with my boyfriend. Fortunately, we have a balcony at home. I can sit there and watch the street, or write this article while sunbathing.

April 3rd, 2020

The number of cases keeps on escalating all around the world. In Portugal, we are soon reaching 10,000 cases. I am sending virtual hugs to anyone out there who needs them, and wishing for the world to be over this crisis as soon as possible. I’m not really a Star Wars fan but… “May the force be with you”.

Swedish B2-C1: Därför reser vi (That’s why we travel)

Inês Carvalho – Text written while I was living in Sweden for the B2/C1 course that I was (kind of ) attending at the time (2014). Reading this text really makes me want to go back to improving my Swedish 🙂 (Translation into English below the Swedish text)

Det finns många anledningar till att människor reser: resor kan göras för nöjes skull, för att lära sig, för att fly eller för att upptäcka.

Stämmer det att resa ökar förståelsen från andra kulturer? Forskaren Per Lundberg hävdar att fördomarna kan ibland bli ännu starkare om man är oförberedd på den kulturen man möter. Enligt honom tolkar vi andras beteende utifrån vår egen kultur och egna värderingar och vi uppmärksammar det som stämmer med den bild vi redan har.

För att undvika etnocentrism behöver man känna till sin egen kultur. Det är bra om man är medveten om kultursskillnader så att man kan acceptera kulturkrocken, eftersom det ibland kan vara svårt att acceptera oerhört stora kulturskillnader. Vissa människor ser kulturskillnader som en ”evolutionsprocess”, men detta sätt att tänka kan leda till en överlägsen syn och elitistisk attityd till människor till exempel i tredje världen som kan ses som ”gulliga men dumma”. Bästa sättet att resa är att acceptera att man inte alltid kan förstå andras beteenden eller värderingar, dessutom är det viktigt att undvika att värdera och döma.

Jag är fascinerad av andra kulturer och älskar att träffa nya människor. Jag har intresse för olika samhällen och språk. Att tala språket som man pratar i landet man besöker är viktigt för att man lyckas ta sig bortom fasader och också för att närma sig lokalinvånare. Jag behöver bara ha råd så att jag kan resa mer.

Nantes (or some place close to it), 2012

Jag skulle vilja resa till Asien i sällskap med endast mig själv och mina tänkar – jag kallar det min ”odyssée” i Asien. Jag drömmer om att bara gå ut och låta mig uppslukas av atmosfären… att lunka och spana på gatan… allt är nytt och det finns så mycket som jag inte kan förstå! Men vad min hjärna inte kan förstå, kan jag kanske uppfatta med mitt hjärta. Man måste öppna sitt hjärta när man resar och ha förståelse för det främmande.

Jag har inte rest så mycket. Jag har vara rest till Sverige, Tyskland, Englad, Spanien, Frankrike, Kroatien, Denmark och Estland. Jag har aldrig varit utanför Europa, trots att jag har brasilianskt medborgarskap och är av brasiliansk nationalitet. Den viktigaste erfarenheten för mig var min första resa till Tyskland. Jag vara bara 17 år gammal och jag förändrades mycket som person. Jag fick möjligheten att vara utbytesstudent i gymnasiet med fler än 200 studenter från hela världen. Jag hade aldrig varit utanför Portugal och det var inte lätt att umgås med andra unga människor som var så annorlunda och ”konstiga” för mig.

Estonia (Tallinn) 2013

Nu, mer än tretton år senare, är jag doktorand i Turism, och har lärt mig många språk och bott i Tyskland och Sverige. Hade jag aldrig upplevt denna erfarenhet i Tyskland när jag var tonårig, skulle jag ha valt ett annat ämne.

Men… jag tycker att jag borde resa mycket mer… jag är doktorand i Turism… och väskan är färdigpackad!!

TRANSLATION INTO (LAZY) ENGLISH – thanks Google for translating 95% of this text!

That’s why we travel
There are many reasons why people travel: you can travel for fun, to learn, to escape or to discover.

Is it true that traveling increases understanding of other cultures? The researcher Per Lundberg claims that prejudice can sometimes become even stronger if one is unprepared for the culture one meets. According to him, we interpret the behavior of others based on our own culture and our own values, ​​and we pay attention to what corresponds to the image we already have.
In order to avoid ethnocentrism, you need to know your own culture. It is great if you are aware of cultural differences so that you can accept the cultural shock, because sometimes it can be difficult to accept extremely large cultural differences. Some people see cultural differences as an “evolutionary process”, but this way of thinking can lead to a superior vision and elitist attitude towards people, for example in the Third World, which can be seen as “sweet but stupid”. The best way to travel is to accept that one cannot always understand the behavior or values ​​of others, and it is important to avoid valuing and judging.
I am fascinated by other cultures and love to meet new people. I have an interest in various societies and languages. Speaking the language that is spoken in the country you visit is important because you manage to get past façades and can approach local residents more easily. I just need the money so that I can travel more.
I would like to travel to Asia by myself only with my thoughts – I call it my “odyssey” in Asia. I dream of just going out and allowing myself to be swallowed up by the atmosphere … walking and scouting around the streets … everything is new and there is so much that I cannot understand! But what my brain can’t understand, I may perhaps perceive with my heart. You have to open your heart when traveling and have an understanding of the foreign.
I haven’t traveled so much. I have traveled to Sweden, Germany, Englad, Spain, France, Croatia, Denmark and Estonia. I have never been outside of Europe, even though I have Brazilian citizenship and am of Brazilian nationality. The most important experience for me was my first trip to Germany. I was only 17 years old and I changed a lot as a person. I had the opportunity to be an exchange student in high school with more than 200 students from all over the world. I had never been outside Portugal and it was not easy to hang out with other young people who were so different and “weird” for me.
Now, more than thirteen years later, I am a PhD student in Tourism, and have learned many languages ​​and lived in Germany and Sweden. Had never had this experience in Germany when I was a teenager, I would have chosen another subject.
But … I think I should travel a lot more … I am a PhD student in Tourism … and the bag is packed!

PS – I would like to thank Patrícia Coutinho for the corrections!

DELF B2 – Une lettre au maire (A letter to the mayor)

Author: Inês Carvalho

While practicing French last year, I decided to solve one of the writing tasks for DELF B2 (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Français). Writing is a great exercise, especially when someone corrects you afterwards and you learn more about your mistakes 🙂 Although this text was corrected by a native French teacher, beware that it may still not be “perfect” French! By the way, the text is completely fictional: I have no house, no kids and I don’t live in France 😀 Below the description of the task (copied from the mock exam) and my text:

Vous vivez en France dans une zone piétonne du centre-ville. Le maire de votre ville a décider d’ouvrir certaines des rues de cette zone à la circulation des autobus pendant la journée. Comme représentant(e) de votre immeuble, vous écrives une lettre au maire pour contester cette décision en justifiant votre point de vue.

Cher maire de la ville B,

Je vous écris parce que j’ai lu que vous avez décidé d’ouvrir la rue X, dans laquelle j’habite, à la circulation des autobus. J’habite dans cette rue depuis 25 ans et j’ai décidé d’acheter cet immeuble parce que la circulation des voitures était interdite ici. Il y avait beaucoup d’autres rues que je pouvais avoir choisi, mais j’avais déjà une préférence pour cette zone piétonne, malgré les hauts prix des maisons ici.

Vingt-cinq ans plus tard, j’ai des enfants qui jouent toujours après l’école en dehors de la maison avec leurs amis. Si cette rue devient ouverte à la circulation des autobus, les enfants ne pourront plus faire du foot, et ça aura des conséquences graves pour leur santé physique et mentale.

Aujourd’hui, il y a de plus en plus d’enfants et de jeunes qui sont toujours à la maison devant la télévision ou l’ordinateur. Ça porte des graves conséquences à leur santé. Même les personnes âgées ont besoin d’un endroit où ils peuvent se promener et socialiser sois avec les gens du même âge, sois avec les enfants.

À mon avis, cette zone piétonne a besoin d’infrastructures pour que les enfants et les jeunes puissent jouer et s’amuser. De plus, on a besoin d’un jardin pour élever la qualité de vie de tout le monde. Ce type de changements serait plus positif pour les habitants de notre ville.

Merci pour votre attention.

Je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur, l’expression de mes salutations distinguées,


Learn with my mistakes!

  • avoir une préférence POUR
  • EN dehors de la maison
  • ils jouent avec LEURS amis
  • la rue, DANS LAQUELLE j’habite

Ma vie à Lisbonne

Inês Carvalho

Je suis venue à Lisbonne pour travailler ici. Je travaille dans une université comme professeure de tourisme et gestion hôtelière. J’ai toujours voulu devenir professeure. Enfant, je jouais avec mes poupées et je leur enseignais toutes les matières. Maintenant mes étudiants ont dix-huit ou dix-neuf ans et ils sont tous plus grands que moi. Mais ce n’est pas inhabituel parce que je suis très petite.

 Quand je suis venue à Lisbonne il y a déjà presqu’un an, je me suis sentie un peu seule. Je n’avais pas beaucoup d’amis à Lisbonne et c’était difficile pour moi de rencontrer de nouvelles personnes. Mais maintenant je me suis déjà fait des amis et je me sens plus heureuse. En outre, maintenant il fait beau à Lisbonne et on peut faire des promenades et on peut s’asseoir sur une terrasse et prendre quelque chose à boire. La plage est juste au côté de Lisbonne et c’est facile d’y aller avec le train.


Lisbonne est une ville très belle. C’est la capitale du Portugal et la plus grande ville du pays. On peut s’amuser ici parce qu’il y a toujours beaucoup d’évènements. Moi, je viens d’une ville qui est comparativement très petite, et où on n’a pas beaucoup à faire pendant la fin de semaine.

(Crazy) Language learning goals – July 2017

Since for now one of the purposes of this blog is to make me post texts in different languages, I was searching in my attic for texts that I had written in several languages (probably several years ago) and that had been corrected by a native speaker or a teacher, so that I could have right away something to post.

I really loved seeing all my old notebooks and reading my texts, but I also felt somewhat disappointed because I noticed how much I have forgotten in many languages. Dutch is the worst case, followed by Mandarin. But even in Spanish, which is a language that I use on a frequent basis, I think I might have lost some of the grammar accuracy I had in the past (though I have definitely improved my fluency).

This made me realise that I really don’t want to forget the languages that I’ve learnt so far and that I need to do something about that. I’m not sure what the best approach is, but I’m going to explain below what I’ll try to do (do e-mail me if you have further ideas, the comments below are still not working, I need to find a way to fix this grrr).

1. Main target language: Italianooo!

I’m deeply in love with Italian right now, I’ll spend my holidays in Italy, I have made Italian language buddies and I have found the right resources. My goal is to do or listen to something in Italian at least 30 minutes per day, write a text once a week and have a weekly language exchange.

I threw a coin to the Trevi Fountain, and only four months later I’ll be back. Well, it worked really fast!

2. Second target language: Français

French was one of my targets this year and I wanted to reach B2. I’m now thinking of doing DELF B2 but I won’t think too seriously about it until after coming back from Italy. Until then, some YouTube videos a few times per week, regular language exchanges (between 2 to 4 times in July) and finishing La femme rompue – now I’m really enjoying the book.

3. Third target language: all the languages 😛

I don’t want to forget the other languages that I’ve started. So my plan is besides Italian and French, pick two other languages weekly and either listen to a YouTube video or pick some grammar detail and revise it for about half an hour. I have no idea if this is enough or if I’ll be spreading myself across too many languages… My point is not to learn new things here (except for English), but not to forget.

Side languages by week

So for instance this week I’ll do something in German and Japanese, and next week in Mandarin and Swedish.

[week 1] Spanish: I listened to some videos on Sunday (yes, it’s “listened”, not “watched”, I’m usually doing other things at the same time)

[week 1] Dutch: well I read some of my old notes on Sunday…  and copied this text in Dutch to post it on the blog.

[week 2] German: maybe just listening to some videos or podcasts. I can’t come up with something specific that I’d like to review in German.

[week 2] Japanese: revising numbers and writing down some hiragana.

[week 3] Swedish: listening to videos and posting some of my old texts on the blog (like these ones here and here).

[week 3] Mandarin: writing down some words in a semi-artistic way and post them with simple illustrations on Instagram. I’m afraid of how many characters I might have forgotten.

[week 4] Esperanto: though I’ve only studies it for two days in total, I loved it. I’m going to re-read my notes and practise pronunciation.

[week 4] English: I used it every day and I don’t think I’ll forget it. Still, I think that I can improve it. I write a lot of academic papers in English, but I’m far from being an expert in idioms, for instance. There’s definitely room for improvement.

I’m afraid that this plan might be unrealistic once September arrives… but maybe I’ll find a way to squeeze all of this into my schedule and still get to sleep, eat, and have a life 😀



Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste, Lindsay Dow of Lindsay Does Languages, Angel Pretot of French Lover, and Kris Broholm of Actual Fluency