I feel like my personality changes depending on what language I’m speaking.
In English, I’m funnier and more articulate…. in Portuguese I can’t really make jokes or be subtle; I have to say everything in a more straightforward, clear way.
In English, I’m much more articulate and personable, and I can generally make conversation with anyone… in Portuguese I’m substantially more awkward when it comes to small talk.
In English, I tend towards the talkative/silly/loud side… in Portuguese, I’m more reserved and it annoys me because sometimes I feel like I’ve reverted to shy middle-school mode.
In English I’m far more confident… in Portuguese I’m far more hesitant; I shy away from making phone calls since I have so much difficulty understanding on the phone.
It’s not all bad though; I do think I’m a nicer person in Portuguese: in English I tend to tease and make fun of people and I often go too far, to the point of meanness; in Portuguese, I don’t have the language ability to do this.
However, yesterday was a small accomplishment: I went to a party at which I knew no one except my capoeira instructor and successfully socialize for six hours. Normally something like that is really tough, because 1) The aforementioned difficulty with small talk; also I find speaking in groups challenging: understanding when multiple people are talking at once, and speaking when everyone’s paying attention to me; and 2) Usually after a couple hours my mind gets tired of Portuguese – since it takes a small mental effort to communicate; my brain has to be engaged – and my ability to understand diminishes. But last night I did well. I was still shyer than I am in English, but I wasn’t a total wallflower: I met and talked to a lot of people.
Thus, I’m walking passo a passo towards being bilingual. I already find that some things are simply better expressed in Portuguese porque nao ha um jeito equivalente em ingles.