My dream was always to find a book of short stories in simple Spanish that I could slowly make head or tail from and thus absorb the lengua de Espania.
I ended up learning short phrases important in the workplace, “Manejar con cuidado!” etc. But here we are with books as simple as a walk in the park that literally pave the way to learning real Spanish.
I imported thousands and thousands of dollars worth of curios from Mexico without knowing a single word in Spanish and dealing with people who spoke no English. I have negotiated in Japan, Korea, Germany, UK, Holland, etc. under similar inadequacies. Mexico and Japan gave me every break in the world to help me get the deals done. The others were nice beyond belief, but Mexico and Japan were top of every list.
As I acquired more fluency I used fewer hand signals and the deals came easier, but I maintain, the best way to learn a language is get in there and dig for it. Use what you have learned last time to communicate with this time. Simple stories in real Spanish will help you get started.