When I am not an "American"
One of the interesting things that is different here in the Cilento area concerns our nationality. In other parts of Italy when people hear our accent they will ask where we are from and we usually reply “Siamo americani” and the follow-up question is usually what state we are from, whereby they usually have some relative who lives in New York or another major metropolitan area.
Here the conversation goes more along the lines of…
Where are you from?
Really, are you from Argentina (or some other South American country)?
No, we are from The United States.
On each occasion when we have said we are “americani” the response has been similar. We have inquired why; when citizens of The United States of America tend to consider themselves “Americans”? Wouldn’t someone from Argentina be “un argentino”? This may be solely a national pride issue but my experience is that those from the United States consider themselves “Americans” and such a label differentiates us from other nationalities.
The explanation we have garnered is that a lot of people from this area have family who have migrated to other parts of Italy, Europe and the world in search of job opportunities. Many of these emigrants have settled in South America so it is common for us to meet someone who has an aunt in Brazil or a brother in Argentina, more so than a cousin in New York.