So when people tell you that “everyone in country X speaks English”? That’s not really true. And, also, only having one language in your bag of tricks while Cristoph from Switzerland effortlessly switches between four? That’s not cool, dude. By the way, what is he laughing about with the taxi driver? Are they laughing at YOU?

Be it so resolved that I left Costa Rica determined to rekindle the Spanish I once spoke comfortably, if not fluently, and started looking for ways to work regular Spanish practice into my days, 10 or 20 minutes at a time.

Since then I picked up a free app called Duolingo that works on my phone and computer. Some of the phrases are a bit peculiar (“los hombres comen la fresa”) but overall it’s a solid refresher course for new or lapsed language learners. They also have French and German options I might try out when I’m feeling more solid with the Spanish.

I thought it would be hard to remember to practice every day, but the app makes it fun and tough to put down. Points and leveling is also addictive (I’m halfway to level eight, stuck on the “occupations” lesson).

I’m hoping to find other good “brush up your Spanish” resources and a practice buddy this spring, so my boyfriend and I can start planning our trip to Andorra.

Next trip: I’ll be the one laughing with the taxi driver.