OK, now for some light-hearted, fun writing. I love Starbucks. People tease me for that, often saying, “But it’s so expensive! You pay $6 for a cup of coffee.”
I try explaining that I do “star dashes” and gather little gold stars on my smartphone that count toward free coffee and food. Plus, I get anything I want to order on my birthday! People usually roll their eyes or shake their heads, not believing that it could be fun and not-so-horribly expensive to frequent a designer coffee business. I don’t go out to dinner at restaurants, I argue. Doesn’t that count for something?
When my kids were teenagers, we often went to Starbucks in Southern California, sitting together outside under a green umbrella, wearing our summer t-shirts, shorts, and sandals, squinting in the sun. We talked and planned together, ate the Best in the World Lemon Cake, and got free house brew coffee refills because I have a Starbucks Gold Card.
When I was teaching English in China, Starbucks was very important to me. It was a SAFE, something-like-America place where I could hide away from crowded foreign streets. I got a cute keychain with dangling golden stars from the Starbucks near Shanghai (my favorite Chinese city). I took my high school students on a field trip to the Starbucks closest to their private school. We rode a bus and walked together, practicing English all the way. They ordered their food and drinks in English. We sat at connecting tables and laughed and joked in English. What better way to practice speaking like an American than in our own native coffee store?