Sunday, February 28, 2010

Welcome to the Metropolitan, my name is Hannah...

After 80 resumes, weeks of searching, interviews and trials, I have a found a job as a waitress at the Metropolitan Hotel. It’s not a real hotel, that's just the name of it. There is the bar side and the dining side, which is where I primarily work. They are trying to make it a high class dining area with an Ala Carte menu and top service so I really have to pay a lot of attention to detail. Some of the things I have to do are so ridiculous that it makes you really think if the customers would even know the difference. I really have to bite my tongue sometimes with the things they ask me do so sometimes it’s not really that enjoyable. And their service style is different than in the states, which I guess is something you would expect. Instead of everyone having their own section of tables, we all share the tables and potentially serve each table in one way or another whether its taking orders, serving food and drinks or clearing off the plates. To me, even after 2 weeks of working there, it seems disorganized and frustrating. It’s definitely an adjustment that I'm slowly making and something I need to work a little harder at. One thing I do like though is that here, you don’t need to rely on tips for your income. Some people will tip here so its not totally unheard of but not everyone does it. And because we all share tables, we divide the tips evenly between the people that worked that particular shift. Hospitality gets paid minimum wage here and I believe that is around $17.55 AUD an hour. Not bad eh? And because hospitality gets paid minimum wage and doesn’t have to rely on tips, we don’t rely on a high turnover of customers. There have been tables that come in and stay for 3 hours and it won’t matter, as long as they are satisfied and granted they usually go through a multiple course dinner so you kind of need that long to eat everything. We have recently changed our menu and I was lucky enough to attend the tasting of the new entrees and mains. They are absolutely delicious (and pricy might I ad) and I myself would love to sit there for a few hours and get the full Ala Carte experience that these customers receive. Oh, and the dessert looks amazing!!! Unfortunately I did not get a tasting of that. I will have to try at least one of the dessert plates before I go home though.

I did apply and interview at a realty agency and it actually went really well and they said they would hire me if I was going to be in Australia longer (they were looking for at least 2 years) and didn't have a working visa that limited my ability to work somewhere longer than 6 months. So I gave up on receptionist jobs and looked primarily at service and retail jobs.

I'm only working at the restaurant about 15-20 hours a week at the moment, hopefully more soon. So I have a lot of free time and I honestly don't know how I spend it some days. I've gone to the beach a couple times, walked around the city hundreds of times and tried new cafes that pore out of lane ways. They have tons of free music and art festivals located about the city that are always fun to explore. Hannah and I have been lost countless times and have sometimes ended up in cute suburbs and in other times ended up in bad suburbs, with misleading names such as sunshine, where we have to take a taxi to get home. The past couple of days I have spent exploring Flemington and seeing what’s available. Hannah and I have stumbled upon many Thai restaurants, a couple bars, a gym that I have now joined and a discounted food warehouse. As we were piling up on all of these different food items and just amazed on how cheap they are, we started reading the labels. Hannah starts laughing and tells me that the corn nuts she had just purchased were expired in Jan ’10. Aha….that’s why they are cheap. So then I start looking at my items and discovered that this curry ramen thing that I wanted to try (it was only $.40) had an expiration date of August….August of 2009. Haha…oh good. After that interesting experience we made our way to McDonalds to enjoy free wifi because the internet in our place will not work for whatever reason. I cannot believe that I go to McDonalds for free wifi. It makes me feel like a stereotypical American, even if I don’t get anything to eat. This internet problem better be solved sooner than later. They employees might start recognizing me, which something I do not want at all.

Needless to say, there is never a boring day. Hannah and I seem to always make everything interesting and exciting, even if we don't mean to. Some days are really hard and I get a little homesick and just get this feeling of being lost and confused about what I'm doing here but most of the time I enjoy every second of it. I love learning about new things in the city, new quirks about the australian culture and new things about myself that I don't think I would discover if I didn't embark on this journey.

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