Slowly but surely, Italians are beginning to make a little bit more sense to me. Per esempio, ho fato i biscotti per una classe in italiano, and became absolutely ADORED. Italians who had viewed me with some amount of suspicion (WHY was an American taking classes in Italian when she could take them in ENGLISH? Is she cRaZy!?!) all semester plumped firmly onto my side once they realized that the "American cookies" I had made (not bought - MADE - that fact quite impressed them) signaled that I was not so bad for an American.
Really, given the way most Americans conduct themselves - even in Pontifical Universities - I cannot blame anyone for considering us (Americans as a whole) brutish, crude, and, even, a disgrace. Many Americans come to tour and believe that *paying* for something gives them the right to act however they want - on the bus, they shout, they swear, they carry on indecent conversations because they believe that Italians are SO IGNORANT that they cannot understand what the Americans are saying. We dress in ways that are truly appalling (I'm not talking mismatched patterns, here, but revealing clothing -- it stands out a lot more in the sea of higher necklines and covered shoulders). We're ignorant of culture, history, and etiquette., etc., etc. Truly, we do not present well at all!
Whereas, I've discovered, many Italians are extraordinarily fluent in American culture and language, to the point that it's almost unusual to come across an Italian without a rudimentary knowledge of English (granted, English is one of those universal languages, but, still...) and certainly without a knowledge of some American culture!
Le sigh. 'mericans! At least pretend to be civilized!