Informal Get-Together at a Starbucks

Role Dialog
Narrator Teacher Lee is in Beijing, China, visiting James, a Chinese friend of his.  Two of James’s friends heard about Teacher Lee’s visit and asked James if they could meet with him and Teacher Lee at a local Starbucks so they could practice their English conversation skills with a real, live, native English speaker.  James agreed.  James and Teacher Lee have just arrived at the Starbucks store.  James’s two friends have not arrived yet.
James Okay, Lee.  Go find us a table for four, and I’ll get us some beverages.  What would you like?  It’s my treat.
Lee Thanks.  Get me a medium vanilla latte with a piece of banana nut bread.
James You got it!
Barista (speaking in Chinese)  Good evening.  What would you like?
James (speaking in Chinese)  Give me a medium vanilla latte, a slice of banana nut bread, and a large cappuccino.
Barista Would you like that banana bread warmed up?
James Um, yes, why not?
Narrator James picks up his order and takes a moment to look around to see where Lee is sitting.  He doesn’t see Lee inside, so he heads out the front door to an outside seating area facing a lake.  He sees Lee sitting outside at a table for four.
Lee Over here, James!  (James approaches and sits down.)  It was such a pleasant evening, I thought sitting outside in the fresh air and the cool breeze would be nice.
James Well, as fresh as the air can get in Beijing, but I understand your point.  We can also spot my friends easier when they arrive.  Here’s your latte and banana nut bread.  I had your bread warmed up, is that okay?
Lee Perfect(Sips his latte.)  Ah, that hits the spot.  And nothing completes the experience of a nice hot latte like a warm slice of banana nut bread.  Mmm mm(sound of a delicious culinary experience)
Narrator Suddenly two Chinese ladies approach James, smiling broadly.  They chatter in Chinese for a couple of minutes, with the ladies stealing a glance at Teacher Lee once in a while.  Finally, the chatter dies down.
James Teacher Lee, may I introduce my two friends, Sammi and Raven.  Sammi, Raven, this is my American friend Teacher Lee.
Lee Good evening, Sammi, Raven.  It’s very nice to meet you.  James has told me a lot about you.  He holds you both in very high regard.
Narrator James looks down at his feet and blushes.
Sammi Good evening, Teacher Lee.  It’s nice to meet you too.  Raven and I have known James for over ten years.  We all work together at the same university.
Raven We don’t have much opportunity to speak with foreigners, so when James told us you were coming to visit, we jumped at the chance to meet with you for a half-hour for some conversation practice.  I hope you don’t mind?
Lee No, not at all.  In fact, it’s my pleasure to be in the company of such lovely ladies for an evening.  Please sit.
James I’ll go get your refreshments.  What would you like?
Raven Get me a skinny vanilla latte and a piece of pound cake.
Sammi And get me a white chocolate mocha with some crème cookies.
James Two orders coming up(James leaves to get their orders.)
Lee So tell me about yourselves.  What do you do at the university?
Narrator Raven looks at Sammi to see who wants to speak first.  Sammi nods to her to go first.
Raven I teach organic chemistry to sophomores.  Sometimes I have to attend seminars abroad that are conducted in English.
Sammi And I teach Calculus to freshmen.  Occasionally, we’ll have some foreign students in that class, so I need to be able to speak English to communicate with them as our lingua franca, as it were.
Lee No easy subjects for you two, I see.  Those are challenging topics for first- and second-year college students.  Do your students do well?
Sammi Mine do much better than Raven’s.  Organic chemistry kicks her students’ butts!
Raven (Laughs.)  Well, it’s not quite that bad, but lazy students won’t have an easy time of it, that’s for sure.
James Okay, ladies.  Here’re your beverages and snacks.  Did I miss anything?
Lee Not at all.  I was just asking them what courses they taught at the university.
James Bah, they teach wimpy courses.  Now me, I teach advanced English to juniors and seniors.  They need to pass my class, and an English exam pursuant to my class, in order to get their real diploma.
Lee “Real diploma”?
Raven Yes, the university gives out two kinds of diplomas –one for those who can’t pass the English exam and one for those who can.
Lee And I assume the one that signifies a passed English exam is the more prestigious of the two?
James Exactly!  Which is why I say that my course is more important than their courses.
Sammi James, ai-yaa!  Get off your high horse.  Our courses are just as important as yours.  What does it matter anyway?  It’s not like we’re competing with each other.  We all serve specific needs, don’t we?
Raven Sammi’s right.  We all contribute to the students’ successes, one way or the other.
Lee Agreed.  A toast, if I may.  To the students’ success! 
Narrator Everyone raises their cups in a toast and drinks a swallow from their drinks.
James Well, Lee, what do you think of my two friends and colleagues?
Lee Very distinguished guests, and I’m delighted you allowed them to come and spend some time with us.  Raven, you’ve chosen an unusual English name.  I take it you’re an Edgar Allan Poe fan?
Raven (Laughs.)  Absolutely!  I love his macabre poetry.  It sends chill bumps down my spine.  Sometimes I even have to sleep with the light on, but I simply adore his poetry!
Lee Sammi, what about you?  What made you choose “Sammi” as your English name?
Sammi Well, I’m a romantic.  When I was small, I heard some old songs by an American singer named Sammi Smith, so I decided that would be as good a name as any for me. 
Lee Haha!  You two ladies are intriguing… and very knowledgeable about American culture.
James Another toast.  To diverse cultures and friends abroad!
Narrator Everyone raises their cups in a toast and drinks a swallow from their drinks.
Raven Well, it’s getting late.  Sammi and I had better be leaving.  We have to get up early tomorrow to teach classes.  It was very nice meeting you, Teacher Lee.
Lee Same here, ladies.  I’ll be in town for a week.  Please feel free to meet with us again if your schedule allows.

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