Monday, 25 March 2013

And the countdown begins...

By Andre Smith

So since my last blog, I’ve been completely absorbed in work as it’s been one of our busiest times of the season. However, the season is starting to wind down and we’re just a few weeks away from Easter, the end of the winter season in Florida.

This weekend has been super busy with an even more grueling week ahead. Tomorrow is one of the biggest events that almost every Florida club hosts… that is Passover. We’re expecting about 450 people to come for dinner, but some of the bigger country clubs like Boca West, Polo and Woodfield will serve between 1200 to 1500 people for dinner. Whew! That is a lot!
The setup is huge and the service is fast. So looking forward to a busy day.

Something I am looking forward to is our end of season event for the members. The theme is Wizard of Oz. There are some very funny crazy ideas going around as we brainstorm and plan this extravaganza. There will be some pics to follow…

The weather is starting to heat up. The past few days, well since the start of spring have been very hot and humid. Our average nighttime temp is about 24°C and day time around 32°C with high humidity. It definitely takes some getting used to. I’ve got a feeling that the summer is going to be brutal.
Also, going on at the moment is the search for my own apartment. I’ve been on the lookout and have narrowed the search down to two finalists. The downside is that both communities are full and there is no availability at this time. As I mentioned in a previous blog, it is very hard to find a great apartment, since the economic collapse of 2008 more people have opted to rent than purchase a new home, therefore the demand exceeds the supply. I am hoping to hear some good news at the beginning of April whether I’m in, so hold thumbs.
So the next few weeks will see the season start to wind down and everyone is getting ready to start their new adventure… going up north for the summer, going back to South Africa or starting a life in a new country. I look forward to sharing the next part of my adventure and hope that if you are reading this and wondering whether you should take the leap and apply to come work in the US for six months… I would highly recommend it as I never guessed that I would be doing what I m doing now and living in the USA and Florida of all places. Who knows were this opportunity will take you…

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Well over due!!!

By Kenan Manthe

So on the 17th of October 2012 I left South Africa coming to America expecting to experience some new things in life!!! Well I got a lot more than what I bargained for! Firstly sitting on my quite eventful flight from Johannesburg international to JFK international I had a nice comfy isle seat and next to me was a very informative lady from South Africa who had immigrated to America in 1994 she was quite helpful in giving me a few tips for my journey to the USA! The flight was quite long but meeting fellow Workaway people on the flight made it go by fast then once landing at JFK it was quite weird how all us Workaway people grouped up and we found our way through the monstrous airport to check in for our flights to FT Lauderdale! Upon arrival at FT Lauderdale we met people from Workaway who ushered us on to a bus to take us to do our first lot of shopping and to our apartments where we met our housing managers Annie Snell and Angela Herrington the 2 ladies who will go out their way to help anyone! The following day was orientation at Boca West where we got to meet all our colleagues and our managers and our GM Mr D "aka Pappa D"! And so our season was under way first few weeks was training for all departments! In the catering department during our training we had functions to serve and attend to where we had to rely on everything we had learnt the days before but mainly one another and this then created the unbreakable bound of the famous Boca West banquet crew! We are the smallest department at Boca West but there is no set up or serving or even a brake down too big for us! We have done banquets for all sorts of events from community meetings, weddings to cancer awareness groups and from 12 people to 700 people in one single seating!

It wasn't long before most of us who are on our first season had to experience Christmas away from our families and friends and especially from HOME! But we all made the best of it and pulled each other through it and in turn we all had quite a good Christmas and New Years some experiencing it at their apartments while most did the whole Miami South Beach excursion for New Years! LIFE IN AMERICA is good! Experiencing life on a different side seeing how easily everything works!

Boca West has taught me several things and opened my eyes as to how broad the hospitality industry is and I have a background in the hospitality industry and here I felt like an utter new bee with lots of place to grow and learn new things! 

Charlotte and team make it very clear in presentations that this is not a working holiday! Which is so true but if you work hard you can play hard like South Beach or Key West are not TOOOOO far they still far but worth a day visit or longer if you have the off days! And these ladies on this program love Sawgrass every time you see someone and ask them what they doing their off day most common answers are either Delray Beach or Sawgrass mall hahaha LIFE'S EASY if hard work is put in!

As our winter season slowly draws to an end many of the Workaway participants are either planning their trips up north for the summer season or the ones that are returning home to SA are savouring every moment here in sunny Florida and loving life!