As I parrot my way through Rosetta Stone Portuguese, Level 1 (the women is eating rice; the man is eating rice); as I lament that some Portuguese pronouns agree in gender with the thing possessed while others agree with the possessor; and as I face my fear that I will remember none of this when it’s needed, I try to remember maçã. Actually, it’s: uma maçã, which sounds like the samba, and feels like it rolling around in my mouth, strutting its stuff like a curvy lady. Maçã sounds like the beginning of the line in that Michael Jackson song: mama-say mama-sah ma-ma-coo-sah.
Maçã means apple. That’s it. Uma maçã está vermelha. The apple is red.
That, I think, is why I’m doing this to myself: why I have created a new adventure, one that does not entail finding a parking spot or jogging on the beach or negotiating a crowded mall—it’s the promise of asking for an apple in a different way, in a more, if I may, amazing way. Apparently—my mother is reading a book about the brain, and she told me this, so this is now third-hand information being passed around—apparently, every time you do or experience something new, your brain re-wires itself.
Thus, I’m learning Rosetta Stone Portuguese. Thus, I am going to Brazil for two months—to live and wander and be frustrated and re-wire my brain in all sorts of ways. I suddenly now have the freedom to go to Brazil for two months because I was accepted to graduate school, and thus (last one) I’m moving to Tucson in August. It’s a bit unreal still, this acceptance, this jolt forward in my life, and I’m thrilled and reeling. The MFA, the master’s in writing… it’s what’s next, and it’s daunting and right and many things that I can’t articulate, and this inarticulateness comes, ironically, in the moment when someone has finally told me: ‘oh yes, now you can go be a writer.’
I’ve given my two weeks at the LA Times, and my two weeks to the moving truck that will come move my things out of my apartment in Santa Monica, and my two weeks to this love-hate of a city. So, in the face of all these changes, I’m practicing how to say “there are five apples in the bowl” or, perhaps more usefully, Olá, meu nome é Megan, eu sou dos Estados Unidos.