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Published: March 22nd 2011
Yes, it has been a while. It has also been a very busy while.
Last week was my busiest week yet. It was the start of my training at De Vooruitgang as well as plenty of weekend work for JMW (the catering company). I had 1 day free and it was all a bit hectic. The three days working at De Vooruitgang did take their toll. I started on Monday (14/03/2011) full of confidence and was taken for a tour of the establishment. Immediately thereafter I was given a section outside to serve and it seemed the manager’s plan revolved largely around baptism and fire.
It was all a bit of a shock, lots of things to remember and pressure, pressure, pressure. Along with comments from the manager and his watchful eye the other waiters had no problem pointing out everything I did wrong. Thank goodness the customers could smell how new I was and were uncharacteristically relaxed. So Mon, Tues and Wed were De-V and it was a bit of a change compared to the S.A. restaurant scene. Tuesday (15/03/2011) I just ran with trays full of drinks to the furthest tables the manager could find. This was
a result of me not being able to carry a full tray plus 2 plates. Wednesday (16/03/2011) I did the whole of the outside section and apparently managed fine; once I had un-tucked my testicles and tail from between my legs and gathered the confidence I needed I made it through the evening. But, these balls-of-steel are hardening up and I've said to myself that if I just can't cope, that's that. The guys I'm working with all have a lot of experience and I learn a lot from them.
It is irritating to deal with the condescending looks and remarks from people due to being an outsider. You first get treated like an idiot and then once they realize I can understand Dutch and have my own personality it changes a bit. Some of the other waiters are really cool, but I have to admit the waitresses are harder to please. It just got me thinking; although I do want to earn some cash and a bit of European hospitality experience, I wasn't meant to come here, work 7 days a week and poop myself every day. The fact that this isn't permanent will always play a role
in making dissatisfaction easier.
However, I think the homesickness that was setting-in was largely a by-product of me having no real goal at the moment. It is a bit change coming from University where you have tests, projects (both personal and University-orientated) and other goals to work towards. The last year of University was already a change, being given your own project and time frame. With nothing really to work towards I was feeling a bit lost. So, I’ve set myself a certain amount of Euro’s to obtain and thereafter aim to travel and make my way up to England/ other European contacts.
I have made a few friends and now am playing hockey at the EMHC club every Tues and Thurs if I’m free. The training on Thursday (17/03/2011) with the second team was intense and I had kak shoes which have given me nice open knees, knuckles and elbows. But they liked me and gave me the go-ahead to come train again. This Sunday I’m going to go and watch their match. What has taken its toll on me is no longboarding; one of my biggest passions. I’ve bought myself my first downhill board, with no real hills around. Haha. It’s a black-beauty and riding it on the super-smooth cycle paths is fantastic.
Friday (18/03/2011) was the build-up for the match on Sunday at the PSV stadium. It was an eye-opener as to the inner-workings of the catering industry. We set all the tables and bars. The plates, glasses and cutlery were all left to collect dust until Sunday when the VIP’s arrive and think it has all just been set for them.
Saturday (19/03/2011) consisted of working at NAC Breda and me carrying amounts of beer I never thought possible. The afternoon started with me getting a lift from the Eindhoven JMW offices to Breda. A slick Moroccan was behind the wheel and the G’s we pulled along the highway made sure my gelled hair was as flat as possible. We had to serving the guests their meal before the match, which meant 320 plates by 3 guys in one hour. This meant running back-and-forth from the kitchen with as many plates as possible at one time. I could carry 4 starters, but the main course was a different story. Although the portions on the plates were tiny, the crockery weighed a bloody ton and was as hot as my blazing feet. My pinky could actually no longer function in its supportive role halfway through the evening and I had to resign myself to the fact two plates would be the max.
Once the guests had eaten we were sent to the beer-stands in the stadium to serve the hoards. Thereafter we were allowed to eat the leftovers not consumed by the NAC farmer community we had served earlier. This consisted of salmon, tartar and any other starter than the soup. Soup was apparently all the farmers could relate to and we therefore feasted on the intimidating salmon.
When the match ended the farmers and sons came to do what they did best; babble and drink copious amount of beer. Us waiters were each handed a contraption that looked like an adapted medieval crossbow. A handle in the middle of the U-shaped contraption was what allowed us waiters to transport liters of golden deliciousness encircled around our forearm. Around 20 beers could fit in one and my ribs felt it the next day after having to lift the tray above my head to get through the dance-floor all night.
After all the glasses were washed, polished and stacked in crates we were all allowed to enjoy the leftover wine. The Moroccan once-again re-aligned my bowels and made sure we got back to Eindhoven quickly. I still had a long, cold cycle home from Eindhoven at 3am in the morning which seemed to take forever after the speeds I had just previously been a part of.
I got up at 11am after climbing into bed at 4am. 12h00 was the start of working at PSV for the day. I had just enough time to gulp a coffee and a peanut-butter sandwich on the way to the stadium. This time I was placed in the west-wing. It wasn’t, as you might think, filled with lawyers, but with Philips employees. I was in the Philips box behind the buffet telling the high-and-mighty what tasted the best . I obviously didn’t do my job well enough, because the amount of food thrown away afterwards was ridiculous. Sorry Ethiopia.
I tried to scoff as much as I could in-between off-loading trays of empty beer, champagne and wine glasses. The inner-African really came out of me. After all was cleaned and the dustbin full of waste dragged across a couple storey’s to the waste disposal area I met up with N.F.F and some of the others I’d worked with last time. We went for drinks to De-V and had a lekker long chat. Another cold cycle home accompanied by scattering bunnies and mist ensured for another lie-in on the Monday.
Monday and Tuesday (21-22/03/2011) have been rest days and blog-writing. Tonight I work once again at De-V and it’s my last training day. After this the manager will decide when/ where he needs me. Thursday is a wine-tasting course with the JMW crew and Friday I’ll be working for them at some random location.
The cash is rolling in, and the new people I have met are slowly stepping over the barrier of me being a ‘buitenlander’. The sun is shining more and more and we even had coffee outside with Rummikub today. I think I’m going to go for a bit of a cruise on my black beauty.
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