Mei: Hello, Jiang. Are you missing me? I'm missing you. It would be nice to have someone to talk to. And I'm tired of speaking English all the time. We thought our English was so good, didn't we? Well, it's a lot harder than I thought. People say things that I don't understand, things we didn't learn. There's a language school near my flat, so I went in to ask about lessons, just to ask, you know ...
Receptionist: (Speaking to a student) Yes, yes, you can sign up for another two weeks if that's what you want to do. Here are the prices and timetables. (Turning to Mei) Can I help you?
Mei: Um, yes. I'm interested in English lessons.
Receptionist: OK. What kind of thing are you looking for? Exam preparation? We do all the Cambridge exams, IELTS .... the brochures are all here, look. English for Academic Purposes?
Mei: I'm more interested in speaking – conversation classes maybe. I want to learn more natural English, how people really speak. I need more vocabulary and ... idioms, I think. More practice. Do you have those classes?
Receptionist: Yes, we've got some conversation classes in the mornings. Have a look at the noticeboard over there – you can see the times and prices. Up there, at the top, the blue papers ... that's it.
Mei: It wasn't really what I wanted. I can't do classes in the morning when I start work, and the school was very busy and crowded – and everybody was really young. I think it's a place for students, really – people who come to London to study. But I did see something interesting ...
Milton: Hello, Mei.
Mei: Hello, Milton. How's it going?
Milton: OK, thanks. What's up? I mean, do you need something? Milk? Can't get the IKEA furniture together?
Mei: Funny. I went to the language school today – the one around the corner.
Milton: Oh yeah. You don't need lessons, Mei. You speak really good English.
Mei: Well, hmm. I'm not going to have lessons, not there anyway. But I saw this ... on the noticeboard ... I took a photo ... Here, look.
Milton: 'Wanted: Portuguese lessons. Complete beginner. Six hours per week. Times and price to be agreed. Please call Robert Mac-lach … Mac-lach ...' – it's a Scottish name, I think ... 'Mac' … but it's strange ... 'mobile number 913734869.' Hmmm.
Mei: You speak Portuguese – you're Brazilian, aren't you?
Milton: Well, yes, but I'm not a teacher.
Mei: It can't be that difficult – he's a complete beginner. You just have to teach him 'My name is Robert Mac ... blah blah', 'How are you?' and things like that.
Milton: I don't know anything about grammar though.
Mei: I'm sure you can say 'I am, you are, he is' in Portuguese. Think of the money you can earn.
Milton: Oh, I don't know ...
Mei: It's good money, Milton. There were other advertisements on the board from teachers. They ask £25 or £30 for an hour's lesson.
Milton: Thirty pounds an hour ... How many hours does he want?
Mei: Six. That's £180 a week.
Mei: You could offer a cheaper price because you're not a qualified teacher – it's still a lot of money.
Milton: OK, Mei. Thanks! Thanks for thinking of me. I'm not sure I can do it, though.
Mei: Take the number and phone Mr Robert Mac-something. Phone him tonight before you go to work ...
Mei: So, I've done Milton another big, big favour – I am being a very good neighbour, Jiang. You can meet him when you come and visit. Have to go to sleep now – first day at work on Monday and I'm very nervous, so wish me lots of luck! I'll be taking your jade frog in my bag. Love you! Mei.