With the exception of my very tight circle of friends, I have been an expert at this "social distancing" thing since I was a kid. I have no issues with being a hermit.

I rarely find myself feeling or even thinking, "I'm bored" because there is always a room or closet that needs cleaning, a floor that needs vacuuming, a piece of clothing that needs mending, a book that needs reading, a podcast that should be listened to, a pet desperately needing to be cuddled with, or a TV series to be binged.

Not to mention the fact, that of the "7 Deadly Sins", sloth is perhaps my favorite. I don't need an excuse to do nothing, because I'm an expert at it. All of that being said, I'm also a person who believes it is important to learn at least one new thing every day. It is with a great deal of pride that I say, I don't think a day in my life has gone by without that happening.

Of course, sometimes I try harder than others. Last year I decided that I needed to spruce up my foreign language skills. So I checked out a number of options and being the cheapskate that I am, I went with Duolingo. It is a language app that purveys itself as being free, but you get stuck with a lot of ads.

You can go ad-free, but then the course is not free. I've been using it for so long now, I don't even notice the ads anymore. It has allowed me to improve my Spanish skills, as well as delve a bit deeper into other languages I've studied before.

After studying Spanish for 6 years, I switched to French, when I was a junior in college. I had always loved the sound of it, but I hadn't realized how hard it was! Spanish, for me, is a breeze. I never had to study for an exam - - ever, and always got straight A's.

I had to study my rear off in French and could only achieve B-pluses! It is still difficult, but no one is grading my efforts, so it seems easier.

Italian has always been a part of my life because my father was 100% Italian and had the thick accent to prove it! He always wanted us to learn more Italian, so now, I am.

Is Duolingo the best language app? Absolutely not! The mascot is an annoying little owl, named Duo, who pops up constantly. (Again, I've been using it so long, I barely notice this anymore). There are very few explanations for why something is conjugated a certain way. There is no dictionary or language guide, and the worst thing, (in my opinion) is that it is presented as a game, a competition between learners.

If you've got the money, splurge on one of the bona fide language-learning courses like Babbel, Rosetta Stone, or Pimsleur, among others.

However, if you're a skinflint, like me, and you already have a grasp on the basics of the language you're interested in improving, this might work for you too.  I'm enjoying the experience and now have even more time to devote to it. So, way to go - - me! Or, bien hecho, yo!

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