Recently a Maltese friend was visiting and he said "wow you really learnt spanish eh?". This is the same friend/colleague who was one of the few people in Malta who tried to speak to me only in Maltese in the hope that I would pick up Maltese. And I guess I did. After a decade I got to the point where I could follow a conversation but for the love of God, I could never speak and believe me I have tried, and failed so many times while with Spanish, knowing a bit of Italian [learnt from school in Malta no less] helped a bit. Grasping for words I would just throw in the italian word and hope the poor spaniard trying to undrestand me catches it.
I blame you the Maltese. A foriegner trying to talk in Maltese will get:
The spanish on the other hand do not care if you say something in the wrong grammar. And they do not find a foreigner trying to learn spanish being stupid. They understand that not knowking thier language has no bearing whatsoever to one's intellegence. The conversation does not turn into a grammar lesson. At the very most, the person will repeat what you said in the correct way to make sure he or she has understood you.