One time I asked a Brazilian woman when she was due to deliver her baby.

She was not pregnant.

This is the story.

A few years ago I was eating at my favorite little restaurant in Rocinha, the biggest favela in South America.

Every day at 9 AM sharp, I would get out of bed and walk to Claudia’s Pensão. It was a 30 second walk from my tiny shack.

I would stroll into the restaurant and ask for the usual – Prato Feito.

(Prato Freito)

Prato Feito is a meal consisting of rice, farofa, beans, salad and a meat. Many places include french fries or noodles in it too.

I would be full for hours and it costed a whopping R$4. McDonald prices but the food was actually – food.

Anyways, I walked in Claudia’s Pensão one morning and sat down.

Claudia saw me and waved. I noticed something round underneath her apron and thought to myself:


I didn’t know Claudia was pregnant


I stood up from my seat and walked over to her. I asked her the question.

She laughed out loud, covered her face and peeked at me between her fingers.

“This is not a baby, this is fat”


My mistake.

Tip #1 – Don’t ask a woman when she is due unless you know for sure she is pregnant.

I made a lot of mistakes in Brazil. Still do.

And that’s why I love having a blog – I can share mistakes I make so you can avoid them.

Especially when it comes to learning Brazilian Portuguese. I wasted almost two years of my language learning journey using the wrong materials.

Let me explain.

I thought going to Portuguese class and doing the homework was enough.


Tip #2 – Don’t waste years of your life using the wrong study materials when learning Portuguese.

You are probably learning Portuguese or you plan to. Smart move.

But make sure you use the right materials or you will end up like me back in 2012 – Two years in and wondering why you don’t understand what anyone is saying in Rio.

It’s frustrating not being able to communicate with people you want to talk to. It feels like a waste of a trip.

Also, if you are looking for interesting items prior to your Brazil trip, shop here.

After my first trip to Brazil, a miracle happened.


I discovered Semantica Portuguese. It’s an online video course that teaches:

Modern Brazilian Portuguese

Learn Portuguese The Fun Way

The videos are split in different sections based on your Portuguese level:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

So when you get better in Portuguese, you can move up.

And the videos aren’t BS conversations you won’t have in Brazil – they are based on real-life situations you are GOING to have in Rio, Salvador or São Paulo.

And they are fun to watch.

I learned more Portuguese in three months of Semantica than I did in two semesters of Brazilian Portuguese in school.

Two semesters = 9 months of classes

Basically Semantica taught me more Portuguese in 1/3 of the time my college course did (still love ya professor).

If you want to 3x your rate of learning Portuguese while having fun doing it, check out Semantica below.

Semantica Portuguese

Thank me later – after you learn Portuguese.

– Shad

P.S. In the latest Rio In A Week survey, 94% of you said you were interested in more Portuguese learning resources. I will always recommend quality resources I have personally used and can vouch for. Semantica is definitely one of them. Learn Portuguese right now!