Hi Gen. I have learned English as a secondary language sine I was in the 1st Grade. It is not my native language. But when I reached my 4th Grade, our English teacher was very fluent and good with grammars...not to mention, my dad spoke English better than the native American speakers. My father always encourage me to broaden my vocabulary by reading and understanding a couple of English word from the dictionary day by day. And if I don't understand what the word meant, he guides me through the Thesaurus and another Dictionary. Whenever I would ask him about a word or a statement that is confusing or foreign, he wouldn't spoon feed me the answers but instead, my dad tells me to ask the Dictionary. Even the pronunciation guide is there. When I was 7 years old, I was eager to befriend foreigners that visit our Country and I converse with them. It helped though when you mingle and hear how they speak and communicate with them verbally as well as in written.
I am now working as a Customer Service Agent in a Call Center based here in New York. Through experience, hearing people from different states in America, like Texas, Montana, Virginia, Utah, California and so on...well, daily exposure in communication with different people with variety of regional accents helped improved my listening skills.
I would be very willing to help you out. Keep in touch.
P.S. One of the famous words i love in Italian is linguini, spaghetti,fusilli,farfalle,lasagne, penne,ravilli and tagliatelle and vermicelli..hahahaha!! oh, and pizza,too!