Dill or Deli

“Pastor Meeeshael?” inquired the voice on the other end of my cell phone.

“Michael, sim.” I declared, wondering exactly who was calling and why.

And, like a racehorse, she was off. Marilena (I found out her name at the very end of the conversation) with full force began winding me a story about family members and friends in need of assistance that quickly had me twisted like a pretzel.

The worst part about it was that she was calling from Brazil.

In case you don’t know this already, Brazilian Portuguese and Continental Portuguese are like fraternal twins. They don’t have as much in common as you think they should.

The syntax is different. The vocabulary is different. The accents are extremely different.

It’s the same language…but it’s not.

As she kept turning and twisting like a rabbit down its hole, my mind flew to the alternate universe called who-is-this-and-where-did-she-get-my-number?. There, I came to a very simple conclusion. I had no idea. I still don’t.

But, since I was driving down the road, I politely asked her if she might be able to send me the information in the form of an email. I should have known better than to ask, but I didn’t.

Photo credit - taken by Renato Ganoza from flickr.com

Photo credit – taken by Renato Ganoza from flickr.com

It’s all my fault for thinking that maybe she would respond by saying, “Sure,” or “No,” or even, “I would rather not…” What she said was,

I don’t know how to put in all of the characters. I don’t have any way to put in all of those characters.”

Huh? Come again?

Characters? What characters? My email contains letters from the Portuguese alphabet. It’s not in Hebrew. We’re not talking about Mandarin, here. It’s in Portuguese, her native language. It’s email. You don’t need a doctorate from MIT to put those characters in.

Exactly what does that mean? That’s right. I’m asking you, because right about now, I’m in the dark.

So, I decide to change my strategy just a little bit. I tell her that I’ll get my wife to write down the information and guess what…

Like a racehorse, she was off, again. This time with names and numbers mixed together. The way Nina wrote everything down, it looks like she was keeping score for a Yahtzee tournament.

Incredible. Really incredible.

So, against my better judgment, one more time I try to ask her another question. In Portuguese I say,

Qual é o nome dele?

Photo credit - Taken by magpiebride from Flickr.com

Photo credit – Taken by magpiebride from Flickr.com

Word for word that would be translated, “Which is the name of him?” and the word “dele” in northern Portugal is pronounced pretty much like an Alabamian saying dill as in “dill pickle.”

When I said that, it threw her for a loop. Now it was her turn to have no idea.

So, pushed against the wall, after repeating “dele” (dill) 4-5 times, I finally climbed down off of my high horse and said with my best Brazilian pronunciation,

Qual é o nome dele?

Only this time instead of saying it like, dill, I said it like deli.

OHHH!! Dele? (saying it like deli)….and once again, Marilena was off…like a racehorse.

So, which is it? Dill or deli?

Enhanced by Zemanta
  • Mom

    This is hilarious but sad too. Were you able to help her chase the rabbits?

    • http://cbcpm.net Michael

      We’re about to find out. I’m calling her nephew (I think) right now. I have no idea about his name. After I finally got across the thought with, “deli” I asked her his name. I didn’t understand her, so I asked her to spell it. That’s was so bad, that I finally said, “OK. I’ll take care of it.” A new adventure every day.

  • Ms. June

    I have actually cried tears that messed up my pretty mascara as I laughed so hard at this!! You had me in stitches, my Bro M…..I think maybe it’s because usually what I get is conviction, deep new thoughts to ponder, something to pray about…etc. from your clever presentations …..and this was actually soooo funny that I forgot I was suppose to be concerned about her family that needed your help…..I LOVE YOU!!!….and you are as crazy and Nina, we just don’t get to see that side as much…..sorta like your friend….Ms. June….huh?

    • http://cbcpm.net Michael

      A merry heart doeth good, right? We all love you too, ma’am! I hope you have another good day with GrandRyan soon. Praying.

  • William Harper


    • http://cbcpm.net Michael

      I’m glad you could get a good laugh at my expense, bro. The whole time I was saying what sounds like “dill” Nina was in the car beside me whispering “deli” but it was soooo hard for me to get there. She laughed too hearing me speak Brazilian.

  • http://cbcpm.net Nina

    Is it Dill or Deli?

    I guess the 200 million folks in Brazil would win this debate. The mere 11 million here, however, like you, would hold on to their argument of Dill.

    I could go either way…..speaking Brazilian Portuguese to me is sort of like a comfortable southern drawl……when continental Portuguese is more formal like British English. – I have fun with both.

    Bom ‘Chia’, my love!
    Nina recently posted..Dill or DeliMy Profile

    • http://cbcpm.net Michael


%d bloggers like this: