Reflecting on my exam experience, I had another idea that might be of use to potential CAPLE candidates: Lie.
Lie through your teeth!
Lie like a lying liar who lies!
Embrace your inner Jeffrey Archer!
What do I mean by this? Well, sometimes questions come up about issues in life that are tricky to explain. Sometimes it’s better to not explain those things and instead just simplify the whole answer. For example, I had already decided that if they asked me “Tem animais de estimação?” I was going to say no. OK, I can talk about the guinea pigs (“A minha família e eu tínhamos alguns porquinhos da Índia. Eram muito fofinhos, mas só viveram até aos cinco anos.” etc) but there was no way I was going to tell them that hoje em dia we have stick insects. Every time I’ve mentioned stick insects in Portuguese it has resulted in bafflement and me needing send pictures and explain that, no, I’m not talking about termites or locusts or anything else. It’s a guaranteed recipe for confusion and it’s just not worth the hassle.
During the exam today, I mentioned that I was born in Edimburgo. The invigilator asked did I ever go back there to visit. Now, as it happens, we are planning to go back quite soon. Why? Well, the truth is that A Minha Esposa had intended to do the Edinburgh Marathon but she had a cold during peak training times and then some other things came up and all in all, she wasn’t fully prepared, so she dropped out, but we’d already booked accommodation at mate’s rates so we decided to…
Now, do I want to start explaining this, off the cuff in an exam? If it were a lesson, I might have a go. I could probably pull it off but it’s a complicated sentence with far too much potential for getting snookered by grammar, so I just lied and said she was going to do the Marathon. That’s a much easier sentence. I can do that, easily. Go!
As I was leaving, she offered these words of encouragement
Verificaremos que a sua esposa terminou a maratona. Se não, o Senhor Colin está desclassificado.
I’m not sure what it means, but I think she was wishing us a happy holiday.