Hi, first time here. I'll try to be brief. A girl in my university class was making it obvious she was interested in me throughout this semester. I've walked up and talked to her a few times in past, but other times I only said hi to her. She always looks for me and smiles at me. She and her friend sat behind us in class and I avoided making a move because I was scared and I am not used to these situations, and if I messed things up I didn't want things to be awkward since I would not be able to avoid her. Class is out for a month or two and I got in touch with her on facebook a few days into the break and asked her out. She gave good signals and she accepted right away. Aside: I'm completely new to all of this stuff, and I will read everything on the site, but for now I need a quick hand to interpret the situation. We meet around 3 pm in the town and go out for a walk. She seems a little nervous and shy but it feels slightly more than what I think might be normal. She doesn't hold eye contact, she sometimes walks faster than normal, etc. But she is also giving some good signals like we walk closely together and she laughs a lot and smiles a lot. I am doing most of the talking. I'm just telling stories to make her laugh or impress her. After a while she asks my age and she finds out that I am 8 years older than her (she is 20). I think this is an important bit of information, so that is why I mention it, but I did not get the feeling she was put off by it, just very surprised (I look much younger).

After about 1-2 hours we are tired of walking and go back to the stop and she gets a ride home and I pick another ride to my place. I send her a msg to let me know when she gets home, and she gives a good response. After a while she did not send anything so I ask her if she got home ok and she replies that she forgot and that she's fine and everything (her reply was natural sounding).

Now to the recent stuff:
We maintain light contact for a few days but I am noticing that her replies are taking longer. I ask her out again a few days later for a drink and a snack and she tells me that she can't because she is meeting another "guy", that "isn't quite a friend", she hadn't told me before because "there wasn't a good opportunity" to do so and that she is in a "mess" with another guy. The use of the word "mess" is not clear because this was actually not in english, it's in another language so I am trying to figure out what exactly is meant by that term... the original word she used was italian "impiccio" meaning (colloquial, situation) fix, tight corner, mess etc

I will try to capture the nuances of my final reply and hers after translating from italian:
me: ahaha don't worry about it
me: we'll stay in touch
her: okok we'll stay in touch

* In general I am looking to learn as much as I can from this since I have very little dating experience.
* her replies, except on the last day, often include smileys, exclamation marks, and "ahahah" laughs
* I want to understand if I win her over. I don't know what kind of situation she is in with this guy, if she is "starting" or "leaving" with him, or how serious she is with him. The way she said it leaves me in the dark about what my next move should be.
* I like her but we only went on 1 date and she is not drop-dead gorgeous. I just wanted to have a casual relationship and see where things went. I was not expecting there to be problems with other guys since she had made it clear she was interested.
* I don't want to just give up, I want to focus and do some research and be competitive. If there is another guy that she has started seeing as well I want to place myself in the race and see where that takes me.
* I'm not convinced that my age is the reason she went cold, since that evening we chatted normally and she said she enjoyed herself and sent me some random pic of her snack she was eating. (but I am not the expert here, you guys are)
* it's entirely possible that I simply waited too long to make a move and someone else moved in. Even so I want to attempt a comeback.

This got longer than I expected but I want to hear some advice about my next moves or if I should just let her go because there is nothing I can do to make her come back around.

thanks all

I'm reposting since the other thread I made didn't go through

edit: Also on second thought that friend of hers is a friend of a friend of mine and I could theoretically do some recon that way but I will sit tight until I hear from you guys