Summer break report (week 2) – exceeding expectations

pastel_de_nata76 Bilingualism, Blog, Family, Portuguese Leave a Comment



I can’t believe we’re halfway through our time in Portugal already! In week 2 we’ve been leisurely enjoying life in Lisbon. See what we’ve been up to and how the girls have been getting on in relation to their language learning.

Party time 

We had a 5th birthday party for Sophia in London before we left and promised her another one in Portugal. It was lovely! The kids had a fantastic time. They all played nicely, everyone helped put the decorations up and Sophia helped her big cousin bake and decorate the cake.


Sophia baking her birthday cake

Sophia baking her own birthday cake


Life as usual

We’re trying to take it easy and not try to fit too much in. We go out but also try to chill out, stay at home doing crafts, playing with the random toys and other objects Vovo (granny) has at home, and watching Portuguese cartoons. We also go to the local park and shops. Sophia said something the other day that indicated she thought she was ‘living’ in Portugal. I think it was the first time she realised she was both Portuguese and British.


local playground merry go round

Amelia at a local playground


Chatter Chatter Chatter

Apparently, my mum and I talk a lot! That’s what Sophia says: “ah, you just chatter chatter chatter!”. Its’ true, when my mum and I get together we just cannot stop talking.  I’m certain that, incidentally, all this ‘chatter’ has been helpful in their language development. That’s one of the many reasons why I miss my mum and wish she lived with us – the girls would have far more exposure to the minority language back in the UK!

Ah, the Beach…  

The girls love the beach but for me, I can’t deny how stressful I find going with them. I just can’t relax. They’re only 3 and 5 years old. One wants to jump the waves while the other one wants to make sand castles. When I try to lie down, I see one leaving my eyesight from the corner of my eye and the other jumps on me as if I was a bouncy castle.  So, I’m afraid we’re not going to do the beach as much as we’d like. There’s so much more we can do anyway. It’s going to be an extra year or two until we can do many more beach days


Sophia on the beach


Amelia on the beach


Science Museum

This week we visited Pavilhao do Conhecimento, a science museum in Lisbon. This place is fantastic!  Plenty of interactive exhibits and games for children. We had been before but this time there was an Angry Birds temporary exhibition which the girls totally and utterly loved!


Science Museum in Lisbon

Building routes with magnetic pieces to test equilibrium


Science Museum in Lisbon

Comparing the real size of different birds.


We spent three hours there and could have spent more. On the way out, we had artisanal ice cream from the Oficina do Gelado nearby. The flavours were so natural and intense and the small cones were gigantic! So big that we had to tip half the girl’s ice cream into a cup.



Ice cream from Oficina do gelado in Parque das Nacoes

Ice cream from Oficina do gelado in Parque das Nacoes


If you’re visiting, I recommend you make a day of it and also include the Oceanario which is just next to the Pavilhao do Conhecimento. Do one in the morning, have lunch – lots of options around there or take a picnic to eat in the lovely garden around it – and then visit the other attraction. Don’t forget to have an ice cream to top it up!

What about the language?

As mentioned in previous posts, positive interactions help to learn the language and culture. The girls have been having a great time and, of course, if you’re having fun you learn better.

What we’ve observed in Sophia (5 years old):

  • She’s now talking even more of the time in Portuguese
  • She’s building more complex sentences by herself, not just copying stock sentences
  • She has a larger vocabulary
  • She’s more curious and asks questions when she doesn’t know a word
  • She takes part in conversations and rarely says she doesn’t understand anything or asks for things to be said in English instead (as it used to be the case)


Sophia enjoying time with her portuguese cousins

Sophia enjoying time with her Portuguese cousins


She mixes up grammatical gender and verb tenses but I’m not at all worried about that – it will come in time. The Portuguese language is notoriously difficult because of its many grammatical variations.

Amelia is only 3 years old and I know that if we keep the Portuguese exposure up and Sophia keeps her enthusiasm, Amelia will follow.



See how we got on in week 1


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