On Monday, July 31, I flew down to Miami, Florida.

Long story short, I had left a vehicle there when my family flew to Athens, Greece.  We were going to pick it up on the way home.

But, on April 13, my son ended up in the emergency room in Aurora, Colorado.  We flew from Athens to Denver.  We skipped Miami.   We left our van there.

I went to get it this week.  The van never made it home.  Broke down near Cocoa Beach, Florida.  After towing the van to a salvage yard, I rented a car and drove home.

Now, to the point.  On the way home, I finished season one of Coffee Break Italian.   You can listen to a lot when you are alone on the road for 16 hours.

I have enjoyed the Coffee Break language series for years.

The idea is a simple one.  If you have a fifteen, or twenty-minute coffee break, you could learn a lot.  As Mark, the author of the series often says, you can turn your “down time” into “do time”.

Those of you who know me, know that this appeals to me immensely.  Much of what I have learned in life, I learned in short moments snatched during the daily hustle.  For example, I listened to the first 25 lessons of Coffee Break Italian while shaving every morning.

The long trip home from Miami gave me the opportunity to finish season one.

In the Coffee Break series, polyglot Mark Pentleton takes learners from zero knowledge of the target language to proficiency.

In most episodes, we find Mark, the teacher, a student, and a native speaker.  This is a brilliant structure.  From Mark, we learn the grammar, and often the vocabulary, of the language.  From the student, we learn to practice the language.   We can imitate the student.  As she learns, we learn.  And, finally, from the native speaker, we learn the correct pronunciation of the language.  We also learn bonus vocabulary.  The native speaker will also bring cultural insights into the lesson.

I have listened to all of Coffee Break Spanish, much of Coffee Break French, some of Coffee Break German, and half of Coffee Break Italian.  The structure really does not change.  This actually makes it easy to jump from language to language.  The familiarity makes the material even more accessible.

Really, I cannot say enough good things about the series.  Start listening.  It will be worth your time.  A year from now, you just might speak French, or Italian, or Spanish. or German.

It’s worth it.  Turn off sports radio.  Turn off NPR.  You can get sports stats later.  You can learn about trouble in the Middle East later.  Both will be available in 2018.  Promise.  Some things don’t change.

But, you can change.  You can improve your mind.  You can improve your life.  You can learn another language.  The Coffee Break Series can help.

One last thing.  There are free lessons and there is a premium subscription.  Test your resolve.  Go through the free lessons before signing up for the premium subscription.  No reason to waste money if you aren’t going to stick with it.