by Bryan Doscher (Loyola College)
OUT OF TWENTY-FOUR STUDENTS on this trip there are only three guys. We get treated very well because we go everywhere with a ton of American girls. Three people that I seem to spend the most time with outside of the American group are Seven, Alesandro, and Michele (Michele is a boy's name here). A few nights ago we were at the bar talking about what exactly I was doing here in Cagli, and after a few drinks we had become a little less concerned with language barriers and a little more concerned with universal antics.

At the end of the night, I bought a round to thank them: Alessandro for helping me with my story, and Michele and Seven for playing basketball with me earlier the day before. We clinked glasses, said 'cheers' and 'salute', but before I could put the drink up to my lips, Michele grabbed it and shook his finger at me.

In Italy, he said, it is impolite to drink after a toast if you are not looking at the person directly in the eyes. Seven and Alessandro agreed with him and had told me that they let it go because of their experience with Americans in the past. I was shocked. Not only did I feel horrible that I had insulted him, I was worried that every time someone had been gracious enough to raise their glass and drink with me I had been considerably rude in return.