One of the things my Italian professor stresses is for us to try to speak Italian everyday. It's not difficult for me since there are three Italians in my shop. I'm always exchanging pleasantries with them, and asking them to check my homework.
Other places, it's not so easy, though. For instance, there are usually Italian guards checking IDs at the gate. I try to chat with them as much as possible, but it's a little dysfunctional. An exchange this morning went like this:
CurrtDawg: Buon giorno! (Good day!)
Italian Gate Guard: Hello, sir. How are you?
CD: Bene, bene. E tu? (Very well. And you?)
IGG: Oh, okay.
CD: Fa bel tempo. (The weather is beautiful.)
IGG: Yeah, and I wish I didn't have to work today.
CD: Anch'io. Buon giornata. (Me, too. Have a good day.)
IGG: You, too!
I don't know if he thinks my Italian is so bad that he'd rather save himself the trouble of saying things twice, or if he just likes to practice his English. It happens all the time, and I don't know why, but it's a little humiliating. It's like they're thinking, "Silly American. You'll never really understand what I say, so I'll just talk at your level." Thanks, man.