Monday, 30 April 2012

South Beach.....and Farewells!

I am no stranger to South Beach, Miami. It’s one of those places that you’ve got to go to when here in Florida. Over the many seasons that I have been here, I have made every effort to at least go once a season.
South Beach is where the world comes to party and the party never stops.

I was off for a Tuesday, in fact the Tuesday after the Winter Music Conference (WMC), which is where all the worlds top dj’s come and perform for a 3-day event. I haven’t been to the WMC, but have only heard amazing things about it from those that have been.

So back to Tuesday… My housemate, Sam and I headed down to SoBe (South Beach) for the day. We started off with breakfast at the Bal Harbour Shops, which is just outside of SoBe. I would only shop there if I were a billionaire as it is just one after another the top designer brands in the world including a De Beers Jewelry store.

After sightseeing we headed down to SoBe and the famous Lincoln Road of shops. The weather had turned very hot, so we had to shed out long pants for shorts. A little bit of retail therapy, well actually a lot, we were on our way again.

The streets we packed with tourists and leftovers from the WMC. We ended up at The Clevelander Hotel, a famous hotel/bar on the strip for a few cocktails which was still in full swing of the after after parties of the WMC. The vibe was great and so was the music. Spent the rest of the afternoon people watching and sipping down margaritas. I LOVE spending time there. It reminds me that I am in a foreign country.

The last few days of work have been very busy with Easter, Hanukah and some really amazing over-the-top private events. The sad part is that the season is drawing to an end and a few of our teammates including two of my housemates have already departed. Michelle has returned to South Africa to resume her duties at the Workaway Office in Cape Town, where I’ll be joining her in 2 weeks and Sam, who left on Friday evening for NYC.

I look forward to returning home and starting another recruitment season with Workaway International and seeing all the new applicants that are eager to have the opportunity of a lifetime. If you are wondering whether you should do this program, just attend one of our presentations and that is the first step to what could be a VERY exciting new adventure and part of your life.
Author: Andre Smith

Friday, 20 April 2012

As time grows shorter!

Its 3 weeks to the day until I leave a place that I have called home for the past 6 months...

It’s quite overwhelming, all the packing, I'm not quite sure how I managed it back home.

But, in true Boca fashion we are ending the season we are ending the season with a bang!

Yesterday morning (and I mean crack of dawn sort of morning) we embarked on our 4 hour trip to Key West. To say it was mind blowing would be a mild understatement.

A day filled with junk food, frozen cocktails, jet skiing, laughing, parasailing, swimming and camaraderie.

Out at sea, waiting to be hoisted 600ft in the air, a manager of ours said that moments like this are why we are with Workaway.

Even though sometimes the job has its ups and downs, the members can be demanding, the hours long and that the gym at Cypress isn't as cool as the one at the Grove, we have been given an amazing opportunity.

We have been given the chance to meet amazing people, see amazing things and in all honesty a lot of the members here are really amazing people. There was a member that flew fighter planes in World War 2 and another
that worked on the Manhattan Project. (Take my word for it that in itself is pretty amazing).

As time grows shorter we are realizing just how lucky we are to have gotten this opportunity.

I for one am unbelievably grateful...and I cannot wait to see where the journey takes me next.

Author: Melissa Rauch

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Working in the US!

Hey guys, so it's been a long time since I've been able to give an update. I do apologise about that, but times have been pretty busy up to now. Things seem to be slowing down a little now at BallenIsles, and perhaps Florida in general. A few of my seasonal friends have already begun to depart, starting their new journeys up north" respectively. I refer to it as "up north" because everyone has their own idea of where their next season destination will be. Many friends going to North Carolina , a few going to Virginia, some to Philadelphia, and several heading out to New York. This, in fact, is my destination too. This season has gone so quickly. I've gone through an array of emotions, none of which I regret.

Working in the US has been a very enlightening experience. The culture is similar to that of South Africa, and yet there's so much different. Obviously the public transportation is not as great as Europe or the UK but it's still pretty decent, with a very technologically inclined culture. One of the funniest things I've seen, was a drive though ATM. I don't know why I found it so amusing. Perhaps just because I've never seen anything like that in South Africa. The season has been an interesting one. I've definitely learn a lot about both hospitality but also myself.

There have been both ups and downs, but such is life, and it's how we deal with it that counts. My fellow servers have been a very friendly bunch, with a huge variety of different social groups, ranging from South African, to British, to Filipino, all the way down to a mix of South Americans and Europeans. I have enjoyed meeting these new people I would probably have never been exposed to in my normal every day environment back in SA. I am grateful for the staff I was placed with, both the managers and other servers have been very helpful and most times very entertaining. We have attempted to keep high spirits, even during some of the long nights where we had to prepare for major functions the next day, but we got through it all.

In fact, recently - just last Saturday - we threw the "Bon Voyage" party for many of the members, as they return on their way to their respective Northern clubs. I've attempted to save as much money as possible, and I was so happy when I got the call informing me I had the opportunity to go up north, to New York specifically. This will obviously
extend my stay in the United States by another 6 months, with hopefully a lot more amazing experiences and great people to meet along the way. It's actually quite saddening now, getting to the end of it. It's difficult to develop
relationships with other people that you see and work with, and even live with, on a daily basis, and then have to say goodbye after the season. I'm still waiting on visa extension approval, but if all goes to plan I have been informed I will be heading up to New York in the next 2 weeks or so.

In closing I'd just like to thank some of the guys I've worked with. There may have been tension at certain stages, perhaps even the odd arguments, however at the end of the day we always had a good laugh and kept solid. The best way to relieve stress was to work it out on the football field (or as they call it here, soccer field - with a good swim
afterwards and then lay about till the sun goes down. I've attached a photo with some of us guys just after one of our famous Monday football practices. Even though some of these guys are gone, and that we may never even cross paths again, I will always appreciate the time we had, and the laughs we shared together. Keep well guys, and I wish every single well of you the best of luck in your future endevours! All I can say, is that if you're reading this and you're still unsure about whether you wish to venture out into the scary world, namely the United States, I can only say - do it! Whatever happens, you won't regret it, and it'll make you so much stronger and wiser for your future. Stay tuned folks, I'll be blogging relatively soon again, just letting you guys know how my move to New
York is, and once I've settled down I'll give you the inside scoop.

Author: Michael Elliot

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Where dreams come true!!!

SO it has been 3 exciting weeks…

I got to go visit New York with two friends, Michelle and Paul. Michelle has wanted to travel and see New York for
many years and finally her dream became a reality :-)

Leaving at 4am on Sunday we headed to the airport… arriving in New York at 10am we got on a LLRR (Long Island Rail Road) and headed in to PENN STATION. Going through traffic we walked down to Time Square where we were staying. The streets were crazy people everywhere. .. Booked in at the hotel and time to head down to 5th avenue and Central park, off to the Brooklyn bridge and what a sight at night with the city light, Breath taking!

Early up the next morning to Staten Island to see the statue of Liberty and Wall street to Ground zero, Brooklyn Bridge in the day to China Town and little Italy to Madibas (South African) Restaurant in Brooklyn and to end off the day a night at Broadway – “Mamma Mia”.

Day 3 we headed to Madam Tusads to meet celebrities for our photo shoots, lol. Next the Empire state building for a
spectacular view of the Big Apple, then to Top of the Rock and the museum of natural history to Grand Central station…

What an experience in the City that never sleeps.

... And the dreams continue…

Gillian’s dream was to go to Disney world so we decided to go to Disney for her Birthday.

Heading off for two days we got to share in the adventure of meeting Mickey and the gang, enjoying the magic of “the Magic Kingdom” to around the world at “Epcot” to the “MGM” studio Hollywood to a day in the sun at “Blizzard Beach” to end it all off with a magical fire work display, that left us speechless to say the least. Increasable how everything is so big and indescribable …

And all this was possible with the great opportunity provided through Workaway International.

…. Where Dreams come true…

Author: Lucille Earle