Wednesday, 22 January 2020

My Season So Far at Boca West Country Club

By Tyler Magalhaes

To say that my season so far has been a whirlwind of activity is an understatement. From the second I touched down it's been go go go. After a grueling two days of travelling I finally arrived at my apartment on the 7th of November in Boca Raton, Florida. The next day I had orientation and from then to the 28th of November I had an intensive training period which forged me into the server I am today. I work in the ultra-fine dining restaurant, Prime Cut. Whilst the service is extravagant, it’s ultimately the most fun I've ever had in a restaurant. We serve all food tableside which includes sharing and slicing steak, deboning fish and deshelling lobsters. Our presentation is largely extra to say the least. The Prime Cut team is one functional family – I love each and every staff member in Prime Cut and they have made the transition to the US smooth like clockwork. My newfound family got me through the insanity that was Christmas Week (s) as we went three weeks without a day off. They motivated me, pushed me, lifted me up and comforted me when I needed it and I, them.

Some pieces of advice for all prospective candidates:

·         Get. Your. Rest. Especially during the Christmas season.
·         Put money away with every pay check. It's easy to overspend.
·      Keep your apartment clean and tidy, you'll appreciate your consistent efforts at the   end of a long day at work.
·    Watch how you speak, and say please and thank you always. Misunderstandings   happen and when tensions are high it's easy for people to take offense.
·     Always have fun with whatever you're doing. I can honestly say that whilst we work hard, I manage to enjoy myself everyday (even on my worst days) even if it's not all day.

However, it hasn't been all work and no play. I've had wonderful adventures whilst being here. I've gone out until 6 in the morning, I've spent warm days in the sun on the beautiful beaches of Deerfield, I've explored Boca Raton and most recently I took a two-day trip down to Key West which is a definite item to add to anyone's bucket list. Some definite sites to see down in Key West: The southernmost point of the Continental US, the Ernest Hemingway house and museum, the oldest legal rum distillery in the Keys, the lighthouse and keepers museum, the Better than Sex Dessert shop, the Old Town Tavern and Beer Garden and the Dogs Bar are but just a few. Obviously get yourselves to a beach or aquatic centre so that you can soak up some sun, go snorkeling and definitely try and catch a sunset cruise.

This experience so far has made me far more independent, stronger and has given me new life experiences that I never even considered having. I look forward to what lays ahead and the new challenges that await me – which I plan to tackle head on.

Monday, 20 January 2020

When strangers become family

By Dylan Mavakla

Arriving in Florida was defiantly an experience. Stepping out of the airport and having your breath taken away... because of how hot and humid it was and just to give some prospective I landed at around 10pm. Luckily on my ride to my new home I had my travel buddies with me, driving in this new town and not being able to see anything was pretty sad so I couldn’t wait for the sun to rise and to start experiencing Florida’s true beauty and palm trees.

Now I was under the impression I would have a roommate and house mates. But this wasn’t new to me since I spent two years in a residence at university, however I never had to share a room so this was going to be an experience. Then arriving to my house and finding out that I have a whole entire room to myself was, I’m not going to lie, music to my ears.

So imagine this your first day of orientation and you surrounded by 40 strangers and don’t realize that some of them will become your closest friends and even family. Soon that became true and I met people who I could see stay in my life for a long time.

The best feeling was once I truly opened my eyes and realized where I was... the land of opportunities and to be working at one of the most prestigious country clubs in the world and the amount of valuable information I’ve been granted, it overwhelmed me and gratitude became my most frequent feeling and emotion.

I just have a feeling this season is going to be a great one.

Instagram handle: @dylan_mavakla

A traveller’s joyride

By Maruschka Otto                         
It’s been 4 months since I left my “home” in Cape Town and I finally feel compelled to share the rollercoaster of emotions that any traveler goes through when moving abroad.

#1 You don’t understand anything:
Moving to a foreign country sounds fun, but it is exhausting (and I’m not talking about the jet lag).New beginnings are unpredictable, thrilling. Just like a rollercoaster - taking off, thousands of questions overwhelmingly fry your brain. The language, culture, currency and taste of food is different, but you’re learning at a phenomenal rate whilst you are constantly tired, but it’s so rewarding…When you start to understand the culture and the language you are exposed to a beautiful new way of living and everything thing feels exciting- ALL THE TIME!

#2 You want to give up and go home:
It’s so traditional yet natural to be with family and loved ones during the festive season or going into the new year, to be with people that you appreciate and value most, as a highlight for the dear memories we treasure! Being away from home and out of your comfort zone, will leave you hanging upside down on this ride, frustrated because you just want it to end. It’s hard living abroad, until you get used to it. Your world becomes richer, your friendship circle will expand. You learn so many new things and realize how BIG the world is. Later you will laugh at yourself for ever doubting your move.
If we were meant to live in one place we would have roots instead of feet. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. Growth is uncomfortable, messy and full of feelings. As humans, we are designed to move, explore and improve.

#3 Expectations feeds frustrations:
The travelling road is full of bumps and barriers, but don’t let it deter you from proceeding in that direction. It's hard because you are no longer settling for what is easy, but rather going after what you deserve! Remember that there are no shortcuts to extraordinary places and experiences.
Enjoy the amazing view from the top and enjoy the ride.

My rollercoaster is reaching new highs on a daily basis, forcing me to realize that I am not the only person on this ride. New friendship’s lead to secret Santa Christmas dinners, pizza dinner’s with other South Africans and facing some of my own adrenaline inducing fears.

       Be brave enough to travel the unknown.
       Open yourself to something new.
       Strive to see extraordinary places and meet extraordinary people.
       Dream big and Do what you once thought was impossible.

       Do not let fear be your map.
       Do not let comfort determine where you stay.
       Be eager for adventure, diversity.
       Let curiosity guide you!

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

And so the Season begins…

By Sonia Marques

We are in the full swing of things at Addison Reserve right now, as we enter into the Holiday Season. The families of members are visiting for Hanukkah (a Jewish holiday), Christmas and New Years; this means a higher number of reservations that, in turn, means more hours of work for us in the Hospitality Industry. The positive aspect of working overtime is that we get paid time and a half, so this time of the year is the best time to put in the hours so we can earn more money which we can either save or use to travel.

It is important to look after yourself during these demanding times as stress can lower your immune system and because we work in a place where we are in close proximity to each other, it is vital that you practice some self-care. This includes taking your vitamins, washing your hands regularly and taking some time to relax on your off days in order to recuperate for the next couple of days. 

However, keep in mind that this time of the year may also be sentimental to you and thus you should take the time to enjoy it too. For my family and myself Christmas is an important holiday and we usually have a big family gathering during this time. Spending Christmas away from home is by far the hardest part of this program for me. Therefore, I try my best to make the most out of Christmas here in Florida with the friends I have made over the seasons. My housemates and I have bought a real Christmas tree and are planning a nice Christmas get-together. This may not be as special as Christmas is with your family but at least we are celebrating the holidays with the family that we have made here, in our home away from home.  It’s all about making the most of the situation you find yourself in, so embrace the moment and allow yourself to enjoy this festive time.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
~ Anais Nin

With Love,

Monday, 6 January 2020

Christmas at Boca West

By Nondumiso Sibanda

A Christmas party at Boca West has got to be one of the best year end parties l have ever attended. We were welcomed by the banquet guys standing on each side of the entrance, clapping as everybody walked inside to their tables. It was such a great atmosphere seeing everyone out of their uniforms looking all beautiful.

The decor was amazingly good, it absolutely felt like Christmas Day. On the stage was our PROMISE banner which represents what our service is all about. The food stations were top notch, from the lamb rack & tenderloin station to the pizza station, the salads and the desserts. A whole buffet and not forgetting the ice cream scoop station with all my favorite toppings. They added a South African flavor to the menu which was the Malva pudding and koeksisters. It was reminder of home.

The main event began which was the prize giving ceremony.Cash prizes ranging from $100 to a whooping $3000.Gift cards and trips for two to a chosen destination were also prizes to be won.They randomly pick out names from a box like a raffle and my name was not feeling lucky l guess.As usual l walked away with zero dollars but fingers crossed next season is definitely my season..

There is a tradition of secret Santa that happens in most if not all of the restaurants at Boca and l am so excited to see what everybody surprises each other with, and the gifting is done on Christmas Eve. I can’t wait!

Instagram: Noni.14081407

Monday, 23 December 2019

Working in the US of A!

By Regine Stubbs


After a long process and a long flight! I finally made it to America! All Thanks to the amazing team of Workaway International of course!

Well I have been in Florida for almost a month now! Seeing that I want to work abroad and gain international experience it was the perfect opportunity. Had a few obstacles before I could get here but hey, I’m here now and like my mom always says everything happens for a reason!

You definitely come here to work! It’s hard work and long hours but it’s definitely worth it and on your off days you can explore! And there is so much to do!

But I have to say hunters Run Country Club has been amazing since day 1! Everyone is friendly and never hesitates to help when you ask!
Looking forward to the season ahead!

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Back to Boca!

By Tara Clampett

It was time to move back to sunny Florida with temperatures in New York getting closer and closer to zero near the end of October!

Although it was emotional leaving my managers and friends in NY, it was also bittersweet as I looked forward to seeing my friends and managers at Boca West after not seeing them for the past six months.

My flight out of New York was delayed TWICE and all I wanted was to get back to my apartment in sunny Florida! After a bumpy flight I was finally in back on Floridian soil – however the sun decided to disappear and the rainstorm started just as I was dragging my overweight suitcases up to our third floor apartment! Needless to say I was so relieved when I finally made it through our front door.

Coming back to Boca West the next day for our returner orientation and it felt like I had never left. While many of us had come from a successful season Up North, we were also so happy to be back and the energy and excitement between the new staff and returners was infectious!

Shortly after I arrived back in Florida my roommate from Up North and I went to see The Chainsmokers live in Miami – I have always dreamed of seeing them live since I heard their debut song ‘Closer’ back when I first came to the USA in 2015 and sharing this experience with her was incredible!

Another highlight of the season is the Boca West Holiday Party and this year was another great night when us employees felt like members for the night! There were loads of prizes to be won and I was so happy to see employees who work so hard and such long hours win some of the prizes!

Here’s to another great season at the number one private Country Club in Florida!