Saturday, November 22, 2014

Recap of the week

What a busy week!  I worked in reception Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, taught at Nova on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, then last night (Friday) I also had my first shift with Signature Staff!  The students this week were great, not that I’ve had a bad one yet.  We had three students, Rei (23), Yuika (27), and Tazuko (71).  Rei and Yuika had their lessons together and Tazuko had lessons by herself because her English level was higher than the other two girls; I taught Rei & Yui twice and had Taz once.  Yet again, despite the age difference the three of them got along famously.  I think it's in large part due to their culture of respect for your elders coupled with the fact that any women over the age of 60 willing to travel alone, to a foreign country to study English, has got some spunk.  And who doesn't love spunk? The girls called her Mom all the time and made sure to look after her when they did tours together.  Taz told me that she probably would have been too nervous to do some of the tours on her own, but the girls took such good care of her that she was having a great time and making so many memories.  When they did the night tour of Paronella Park, she told me they were careful to make sure she didn't trip on anything in the dark.  Taz has a great sense of humor and is very chatty; we rarely did the lessons the usual way because most of the subject matter was too basic for her; we often just went off on rabbit-trails and talked about whatever subject came up.  I figured as long as she was speaking English it was good practice for her.  She learned to speak English from American & Canadian teachers so she liked my pronunciation of words since that’s the way she learned.   Yuika and Tazuko left today to go back home to Japan, but Rei is staying for another 3 weeks, so I’ll be teaching her again next Thursday.  Her final two weeks are special one-on-one lessons and only Anne has been trained for that, so, unfortunately, I’ll have another month off.
 After lessons yesterday we all headed to Rusty’s Market and sampled some of the fruits and veggies.  It’s coming into mango season, so we definitely took advantage of those samples.

Last night was also my first night as Food & Beverage Staff with the temp agency that hired me.  Despite the crazy heat and humidity, our uniform is black pants and a long-sleeve black shirt.  Luckily for me, and to my great delight, Louis texted me to say he’d drop me off at the Cruise Liner Terminal (where the event was being held) so that I wouldn’t have to walk there in the heat.  We were serving at the Tropical Tourism North Queensland Awards Banquet, so there were about 300 guests there and everyone was quite dressed up – someone said it was about $165/person to attend.  I was lucky to meet up with a nice woman named Tash when I first arrived and we quickly bonded as we were both completely inexperienced and this was our first shift with Signature Staff.  Fortunately, we got put on the same side of the room and were both put on beverage service since neither of us had experience carrying 3 plates at a time without a tray.  They had shown us how when we were hired, but I’d never actually done it.  When they were splitting us up between food and beverage service they asked if any of us weren’t comfortable with the 3-plate carry and I quickly raised my hand.  They’d already stressed how big of an event this was for them (they were actually up for an award so wanted to be extra impressive) and I just didn’t want the pressure.  I found out later from another guy on our side of the room, who had done this many times, that beverage service is a lot less work, so it seems I made a good choice.  By the time they cut us it was 11pm and my feet were killing me.  I thought I’d bought a decent pair of shoes, but knowing how much I hate wearing shoes (and how infrequently I actually wear shoes), I probably wouldn’t have been happy no matter what shoes I wore.  But all in all, the night went pretty well; I didn’t drop or spill anything and I only mixed up drink orders a couple times (that I know of anyway).

This morning I got a lesson from Tusa (the Samoan gentleman at my hostel who randomly gives me meals) on precision cutting.  He's taking a course on hospitality management, or something like that, and I had helped him with his homework one morning last week.  The assignment was to write up a plan for giving a coworker additional training in something.  So he wrote out the things he need to do and used me as the employee he was going to train.  By the end of the assignment I realized he thought he actually had to do the training (not just write an assignment proving to the teacher that you knew how to prepare and plan a training), so I explained (or so I thought) that he didn't have to actually do the training, just write up a plan for giving the training.  Then on Thursday he asked me if I was free Saturday morning, he was going to buy the vegetables and show me how to do the "precision cutting."  At this point I decided to just go with it.  He's so sweet and it was actually interesting to learn how to do it - looked pretty impressive as well.

Other than volleyball evenings and dinner with Louis, that's about the jist of my week.  Another muggy day here in Cairns, so I think I'm gonna go jump in the pool....

No comments:

Post a Comment