Mirror, Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash
You may be wondering what is going on in my little life? Australia has had its shares of happiness and its shares of harder times, what about now.
After Brisbane, I was determined to get out of town, move to Noosa, enjoy the sea and try to make some money.
And as a result, I experienced being on the other side of the mirror. No more 5-star hotels on business trips, here I am cleaning rooms of the same ilk as the ones that housed me in China. Restaurants, oh yes, I know well, but here I am not tasting a good piece of beef, but serving wine with a smile.
A failed start
The first week was rough. While I was thrilled to see the sea again, I had this nasty feeling of homesickness. The sea seemed to me less beautiful, much less interesting than in Western Australia, less blue. Warmer on the other hand.
I was still in the throes of homesickness. Before I arrived, I had signed up to work for a month in a hostel, cleaning 4 days a week, 3 hours, in exchange for free housing. Yes, it seemed like a good exchange to me…
Except that the hostel was horrible. Dirty, extremely noisy, in just one week, my nerves were on edge. When on Sunday, I started crying in the middle of the night, I decided to leave.
In contrast to Brisbane, my job search was successful right away. I hand-delivered 5 resumes to restaurants and was called back for tryouts at three of them… Not bad.
Besides, I got a job as a housekeeper, a maid basically, in a hotel in the morning.
Trying out at Boathouse, successful! Here I am with two jobs, and a super full life.
50 hours of work a week at least…
Every morning at the hotel, from 9am to 1pm-2pm, and at least 5 evenings a week, and half days on the weekends, at the restaurant. Yes, it’s intense, and leaves me with little time to go out and especially little time to spend.
However, as the weeks go by, I am bonding with people in my hostel, becoming part of the group and feeling good. A fair balance, unfortunately I am somewhat neglecting writing.
Finally, I am happy with this life that leaves me little time to think.
So job-wise, housekeeping is maid in a hotel. It’s not as bad as it sounds. We clean the room every day, so it’s not really dirty after all.
We get paid per room, and per type of service. The rates are really not great, so you have to go fast, and as a result, the good thing is that the time passes super fast.
My favorite part is making the beds, squared away please!!! When I get back, watch out, I’m going to make all your beds! In teams of 2 or 3 people, we share the room: kitchen, bathroom or dust, each has his role. If at the beginning, I am slow as anything, at the end, I become a warrior of the household !
Okay, it’s definitely not the job of the century, but the team is really nice, I work with my roommate, and we have a lot of laughs…Especially when I yell Housekeeeeeping while knocking on the door.
You asked for a waitress?
This was one of the jobs I definitely wanted to do in Australia: waitress. Well I could see myself being more of a bartender, but you take what you can get…
Well, you know me well, and let’s just say that skill is not particularly a quality of mine. So carrying three hot dishes with my little hands..
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never dropped any dishes… Just a whole tray of champagne glasses and a common glass of Coke… Honestly, in two months, I’m doing pretty well!!
I loved the contact with the customers, advising them, making them laugh, anticipating their request, being genuinely kind and smiling! Besides, my tips were more than substantial! Except that tips in Australia are shared… and not really fairly!
And then a little personal lament, the plates weigh a ton, and to add difficulty, hop we put little rocks in with a dozen oysters…
Weddings and events
Here I am also on the other side of the mirror at weddings, goodbye flute of champagne that I used to get served and re-served, hello bottle of prosecco (ah it’s not the same standing) that I carry around looking for a glass to fill.
On the second floor of the restaurant, we host weddings and events. It’s a cool part of the job, the crews are downright nicer, we have a good laugh. We get bored a lot too.
The weddings follow one another but are not alike. The dresses are not always in the best taste. Strangely enough, the bridesmaids are also in white, and their dresses look very similar to the bride’s. Same for the groom and his witnesses. Strange.
It’s funny to see people dressed up (we don’t have the same sense of good taste) in the late afternoon (weddings start very very early), holding on, refusing the second glass of champagne, keeping a composure, and watching them slowly tumble into first tenuous and then completely inappropriate drunkenness.
As far from my world as these weddings are, the emotion is the same and it makes me want to attend one of my friend’s… So, who is dedicated??
Here I’ve played catering waitress at least a good ten times, trying to remember the faces of those people who served us at Titi’s, Aurore’s, or Marguerite’s wedding, but nothing, they were just the ghosts of a happy time. For someone who likes to be in the spotlight like me, it’s frustrating to play the role of a ghost, but that’s the other side of the mirror.
Positive point, we can nibble on the leftovers of the meals, and in particular the famous wedding cakes, hummm… or yuck it depends on the times!!
Among the highlights, I’d remember the Women’s Day breakfast, 7am start, with inspirational speech about this exceptional genre. But I would also remember the Beef Party… With a hanging cow carcass cut up throughout the evening, and the 6 courses around the beef. Note to budding chefs, the beef caramel brownie… Not exactly a success.
The downside of events…
Ah it should be noted that for events, I didn’t just do the serving. Setting up the room, lifting chairs, carrying tables, ironing tablecloths, vacuuming, setting the table… And all this sometimes, at the end of an event at 1am… The dream…
The people in charge of the events are just super stressed!!! They make a world of nothing. We were trained teams, the guests were always thrilled, and yet it didn’t feel like the earth was going to cave in… In short, stress management and management is not the specialty of Australians.
Oh, and the moment I hated the most in the events: putting the towel on the guests’ lap. Yes because it’s too complicated for people to unfold their napkin and put it on their lap, it has to be us little waitresses, who unfold the napkin, and by a trick, without touching the guests too much, try to wedge it on their lap… A dance of some awkwardness, and for us and for the guests…
I’ll tell you about Noosa, activity and fun-wise in another post! It’s time for me to get back on the right side of the mirror! So is that glass of wine coming?!!!!