Dreaming in Portuguese

Dreams are wonderful things, they’re like your own private movie; you are the writer, director and lead part. The actors are usually people you know, although they don’t even know they’re there!, unless of course you tell them, but that’s the gift of them, they’re yours, so you don’t have to. You could be killing your boss a million times in a million different gruesome ways, while you smile and laugh, and he would never know anything!. It can be a perfect way to spend a night, and you don’t have to pay a penny.

You have to give you brain credit where credit is due, dreams are simply wonderful. They can make you rich, poor, amazingly attractive, or ugly to the point of being deformed. They can transport you to the future or the past or to a distant planet full of chocolate, apples or sewing machines. They can make you laugh (out loud sometimes as I do) but they can also break your heart. They can magically resurrect people, or just as easily kill them off.

Last night I had one of those dreams that was scary and exciting at the same time. I was transported to the future, to my up and coming 40th birthday party. So, obviously the scary part being actually hitting the big 4 0 mark. The part of the dream that was nice was where I was and who I was with. The venue for the approaching event / party of the year was situated in one of my personal favourite Belo diversions.  Picture an old one storey house with garden and terrace area. Imagine a menu of tasty Brazilian food. Imagine the biggest mojitos you have ever seen, and enough beer on tap that would supply Dublin folk on a busy Friday night. Picture happy punters, and happy staff, then lastly, picture a live Samba Band, it’s a Saturday afternoon, and what you have is Estabelecimento in the Serra neighbourhood of Belo Horizonte.  A perfect way to spend an afternoon or a “Jaysus Christ, you’re not 40 are ya?” birthday party.

In my dream, we were in bar Estabelecimento, but it was beside the ocean!, one of the bonuses about dreams, you can invent your own private world and make it perfect.  Everyone that I would want was there. My gorgeous Brazilian wife, my Brazilian friends and students. My family and friends had flown all the way from Dublin and Barcelona to be here. My birthday is in January, so its summer time, therefore everyone is in shorts, shirts, flip-flops and bikinis. (Hey!, I could have said everyone was stark naked chasing each other with whips and candle wax, but that would be mixing up my dreams, which can also happen, but not this time..shame though!). Then I noticed that everyone was speaking Portuguese, even my brother and the kids, I asked them about this; “you have to speak Portuguese if you’re going to be in Brazil”, said my 10-year-old niece crossing her arms and putting that I know it very well look on her face, that only kids can manage to pull off. Muito bem Shauna, I said, Muito bem, i.e. very good. The very good thing was that not only were they were speaking Portuguese, but they were speaking the kind of Portuguese that I can speak, i.e. the not so good kind!, hence I could understand everyone!. Oh the feeling of not being confused anymore was simply otímo! i.e. great, what a marvellous dream, I could stay here forever!. This point of my own private movie was surely the result of desperately trying to remember new vocabulary and old age…i.e. not being able to remember new vocabulary.

Then came the icing on the birthday cake; I could hear a familiar song being played, I followed the sound and  started to weave in and out of my friends and family who were still all speaking the local lingo, my new phrases and expressions randomly popping up into bubble talks, floating up in the hot summer air as my mind granted my brain a favour and logged them into its database. But some of the others just slowly faded and became blank, the database was full…or old!.

I followed the familiar tune, and eventually found myself standing in front of the band and the singer, Chico Buarque.  Now, for non-Brazilians, Chico (as I called him in my dream) is a legend in the Brazilian music industry, and I’ve been listening to his music as I walk around the streets of Belo, he has become one of my favourite artists. A singer, writer, poet, a true intellect, and there he was playing especially for me on my 40th birthday, “Jaysus, I hadn’t paid a penny!”.

Now the peculiar thing was; I had never seen a picture of Chico Buarque before, so dreams being dreams, I created a face and a body for him, and the image I attached to his voice was Jorge Ben, the face of my other favourite Brazilian singer!, dreams are boundless and without rules, I was delighted, but I’m not sure either of them would have shared my opinion. The song he was singing my favourite from him, Quem te viu, quem te vê. Now gente, I’m afraid to translate this, as the direct translation wouldn’t make sense in English, but I think it roughly translates to “Who saw you, who sees you now”.  It tells the story of him and a women dancing samba together.  It’s one of those tunes, in that you don’t need to understand the lyrics, it’s just a beautiful song.

He smiled at me and winked. I looked around at everybody, all my friends and family were singing along, and dancing in the sand.  Everybody was happy. If dreams are meant to come true, well, this one one would be nearly perfect.


chico buarque

chico buarque




2 Responses to “Dreaming in Portuguese”
  1. Kevin says:

    Great dream Keith, and a great description of it too. I could picture it too.
    I know what you mean about the language frustrations, and of course it’s always nice to imagine friends and family being close.
    Totalmente otímo sonho meu amigo!
    Keep up the great writing.

  2. Clarissa says:

    hey, what a perfect dream!! I simply adore Chico Buarque, his music, his art. “Quem te viu, quem te vê” is really a beautiful song, you chose well. I´d love to have him singing in my birthday party, even if it´s just a dream…

    if this dream comes true, would you please invite me to the party? 🙂

    oh, by the way: not only they make great mojitos at Estabelecimento, but once, when I was leaving the place, we got a few for the road! mojitos to go, it was great! I love that place!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: