Zapato de Perro

Who steals just one shoe? And an old, smelly one at that?

Puppies in Costa Rica do.

I have a pair of sandals that I’m trying to eek through some last travels before breaking out their replacements. In reality, they are disposable at this point but I’m hoping they will survive just four more weeks.


Sandals Sig

My well-loved and well-worn Tevas


We leave our shoes outside the door especially when we are near a sandy beach. Never had a problem before but one morning in Costa Rica, a sandal had gone missing. Huh? One and not both?

Search through the bushes. Search through the hotel room. Let the owner know, just in case it shows up.

A ha! Turns out there is a little dog that loves to collect shoes. This culprit is known to the staff but he’s found a new hiding place for his purloined footwear.

Our suspect is known but without evidence we can’t arrest!


Yo habló español muy poco

Skip ahead to check out time. The staff on duty don’t speak English and I am only 9% fluent in Spanish according to my online coach – the owl from duoLingo.



I’ve been using the free duoLingo site and app to learn Spanish. Dabbling a little last fall before my Spain trip, I could recall a few words. For Costa Rica though, I’ve been trying to be more diligent in my prep.

duoLingo turns language study into a game. Working through four different types of exercises each completed module gains 10 points toward my daily goal of 20 points. The app tracks your consistency – my longest streak has been 30 days in a row completing two modules. Each day the app encourages me to keep the owl happy by working towards my goal.

The vocabulary and sample sentences sometime seem very random but I’m surprised how much I’ve been able to comprehend when reading Spanish in a variety of contexts while traveling through Costa Rica.


Back at the hotel checkout, I was trying to convey that we would still be in the area for a few days and I’d like to leave an email address just in case they found my other sandal. Failing miserably at that, here is my Spanish hack that worked:

“Yo tengo un zapato y perro tiene un zapato.” translating to “I have a shoe and dog has a shoe.”


These workers had found my other sandal and set it aside. After much rejoicing, I was once again in possession of a pair of smelly, raggedy old sandals. Looks like they’ll be joining me in Mexico for whale watching after all!

Reunited Sig

Reunited with my favorite dog shoe


Can’t say I am anywhere near proficient in Spanish but my sandals have given new life to my daily learning!

Adiós amigos!