Thursday, 21 December 2017

Seasons greetings from the USA

By Claire Smith

We're gearing up to Christmas time, some of the members at Mirasol have welcomed their families in earlier for the festive season.



We have all been busy getting the club and all our events ready to go. It takes real team work at these times during the season.


We have also decided to do a secret Santa amongst our houses to get in the festive spirit. 


We may be far from our families over this time, but we definitely have a family away from home here in the USA.

I can just see the New Year is going to bring soooo many more amazing times...


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Making The Most Of Your Days Off

By Catherine Lindebaum

Days off are gold, especially during peak season. And by all means sleep in and catch up on those Z’s, but be careful not to sleep the sunny days away. Off days should be you out and about, exploring and enjoying Florida as much as you possibly can.

Recently I was lucky to get a couple whole days off with my partner, Gideon. Since we’re in different departments, our schedules are completely opposite most of the time.

So on the first day off, we decided to get a train through to West Palm to walk the streets and take photos. West Palm is a great part of Florida. It’s got vibey restaurants and a really great promenade harbor area to walk along and watch the sunset.




We were late for the first train, and got so caught up taking photos that we missed the second one. Instead of waiting around for an hour at the train station, we made use of the free tram service running from the Delray Beach Tri-Rail to the end of Atlantic Avenue. We killed some time there taking photos and then caught the tram back to the train station where we were 3rd time lucky.


On the 2nd day we got up early, made breakfast and then headed out to catch the next train through to Miami to spend the day roaming the streets of the Miami Art District – Wynwood. This is my absolute favorite part of Miami!



Some art stays, some art gets painted over, but there is always something new to look at whenever you go to inspire creativity. The vibe is great and there are people from all around the world making their mark on the walls, or just visiting.



I’d definitely recommend you visiting the Art District before you leave. And when you’re there, look out for the free tram service that takes you on a round trip of the District.


Instead of staying home and watching series each day off, go out and make the most of your days off! They’re limited and so is your time here.

’Tis the Season

By Catherine Lindebaum

I’m nearly 2 months back and it has been go go go ever since our Season Opening Party and Thanksgiving. With the Hanukkah and Christmas season just around the corner, the families are filling up Addison and we aren’t about to get a break until the New Year. Not that I’m complaining, I’m actually really excited for the fast work pace and to be filled with adrenaline.


Even though it’s the festive season, it also happens to be the flu season. So remember to look after yourself. Drink loads of water, get your rest, and take your vitamins.

Also, remember to have your medical insurance card printed out and handy in case of any emergencies. I recently had an ER visit and it saved a lot of time having it handy.


My household is getting ready for the festive season and recently put up our Christmas tree. We still have a lot to add to it, but at least this is a start. We’re planning a Secret Santa game and also a Christmas bring and share dinner. Which I highly suggest. It’s so much fun to be around the friends you’ve made so far - they really are your family away from home, which will help make you feel less homesick.


I hope you all have a merry and safe holiday season!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Compliments Of The Season

By Arthur Petersen

That's Me Standing Next To The Best Boss I've Ever Had!!! We reap what we sow and this man is a true testament to that! I believe we should always follow our dreams and our hearts will take us there..."



Wow what a month it has been since my last blog!!! It's extremely hard to believe that we are in the thick of the festive season. Yet, being here before Halloween and Thanksgiving has been the perfect preparation for Christmas and New Years on the way. It's amazing to see the American culture in the present moment how it's celebrated. I'm truly grateful to be here. 

Although it's not all work and no play, I was fortunate enough to experience my birthday right here in Florida, Boca West Country Club and Workaway International have also planned outings for us like an evening in South Beach Miami, which is absolutely gorgeous I must say and I'm sure all recruits and returners had great time too!



Of course, Boca West Country Club   hosted all their staff at their "Annual Employee Holiday Extravaganza" and that's one night I will never forget! We have the most awesome Directors and COO & General Manager Matthew Linderman taking care of us and giving us a chance to grow and be more for the Club and I can't thank them enough...



I love this place...



Tuesday, 12 December 2017

5 Ways To Save Money This Florida Season

By Catherine Lindebaum

Many of us come over to the States with the main goal of saving money. And to some it’s quite easy, but others can find it a bit difficult, especially when things around you are so easily accessible. But with a little bit of self-discipline, you can save up quite a bit either to take home, buy that particular thing you’ve wanted for a while, or to go on that well-deserved holiday at the end of the season.

Check out the following ways I make use of to save dollars here and there, some with little effort, and some without even realising I’m saving.

1.    This is the most straightforward one: put money aside into a savings pocket that you can create in your bank account. And then do (try) not touch it until the end of the season or in case of an emergency.

2.    You know all those adverts you find in your post box? Instead of throwing them out straightaway, sift through them quickly and look for the grocery coupons & discounts that could save you a few dollars on your next shop. Think of those savings in the long run.


3.    In my first season, I used to get so confused with the coins in America that I used to chuck them out. My second season, one of my roommates kept all his spare coins in a money jar and towards the end of the season, he cashed them all in and was given back a whopping $50. I rate that’s a pretty great bonus for one! You can cash those coins in by finding a Coinstar near you.


4.    Instead of taking an Uber for long distances, make use of Florida’s commuter rail - the Tri-Rail. It takes a bit longer to get to your destination, but it really is a fun experience and you pay a quarter of the price. You can get the train schedules at www.tri-rail.com or you can download the Tri-Rail app.



5.    As is anywhere in the world, takeout & going out to eat is quite pricey compared to if you buy all the ingredients and make it yourself. You are paying for the convenience. However, if you make plans to cook with your roommates once a week and each one pitches in, you can all save 4 dinners in a month, probably have leftovers and more of the ingredients to cook another meal.
  
Do you have a different way of saving money? Let me and others know in the comments.

Monday, 11 December 2017

The adventure actually begins...

By Damon Green

Upon arrival at Fort Lauderdale Airport after many long hours of air travel and layover, myself and the rest of the Workawayers were greeted by a smiling representative from Workaway. The excitement had started getting more and more uncontrollable.
We all hopped onto a bus and drove for, what seemed like forever, was only an hour, to the place that I would be living for the next 6 months, a little neighbourhood called Midtown Delray. Beautiful houses, quiet neighbourhood, greeted with smiles from the neighbours, a beautiful pool and sunbathing area, as well as a braai (BBQ) area and a gym. 

We were given our house keys and told that we would be 6 people staying in each house, like a little family. Once I found the house that I was living in, 2312 Bloods Grove Circle, I was amazed. A 3 storey house with a large garage, garage side room, 4 balconies, a very spacious lounge, dining area, open plan kitchen fitted with all the necessities as well as a few luxuries like a dishwasher and ice maker as well as a coffee machine. 3 bathrooms and 3 bedrooms in the house, 1 being an ensuite to the main bedroom, which I was just too late to call dibs on. The house had air-conditioning and ceiling fans in every room, which I soon realised to be a necessity in Sunny Florida. We were stocked with a little welcome package of noodles, coffee, sugar salt and a bunch of other small things to help us get through the first few days before we could get to Wallmart or Target to do some grocery shopping. Once we did go to the shops though, it was quite the interesting place. Now I didn’t exactly see people wearing strange clothing or people doing funny things at Wallmart, listening to all the different accents. By the way, American tax is very annoying. If something says $1 on the price tag, you don’t pay $1… you forget about the tax that they add on, back home, they do that for you at the shops, so you don’t have to take a calculator with you to make sure that you don’t get to the till looking around for extra change because you slightly miscalculated.

4 of 6 people in my house had arrived at this point, as the 2 Durban guys we were waiting for were held up because of flooding at the Durban embassy and a whole series of unfortunate events. The 4 that were in the house, including myself were all from Cape Town, South Africa, so I never really feel too far from home. We all instantly get on like a house on fire. But it was almost time to start training at Addison Reserve, the whole reason for being in the US of A.

Picked up in a kombi (small bus), organised by Addison Reserve, from the Leasing Office of Midtown Delray and take on the 15 minute drive to work, which would become my daily routine. The bus was buzzing with excitement. We drove through the main entrance, greeted by a giant “AR” logo which was The Addison Reserve logo, obviously. Passing the hundreds of glamorous homes on the massive estate made me realise how important this job actually is. Heading towards the Clubhouse we passed perfectly manicured lawns and hedges, gorgeous fountains and the 3 beautiful golf courses; Redemption, Salvation and Trepidation. “Excellence is our standard”, the club’s motto, was definitely not to be taken lightly.

We were met at the staff break room by a bubbly Addison employee, and then taken to the Bistro, where we were going to be trained to meet the expectations of Addison Reserve and the member base that we were to serve. Walking into the Bistro I met 20 Austrians, Germans and Dutch young people, which I didn’t know at the time, but I would befriend and end up working with every day. The next week and a half was spent perfecting our serving skills, Point Of Sale (POS) system skills and essentially preparing us to dive head first into the work that awaited us. In that time of training, however, we all got together and became friends, learning different things about each other, forming friendships that will last a lifetime. All of the international employees of Addison Reserve brought over by Workaway (South Africans and Irish) and the J1 program (the Austrians, Germans and Dutch) were all living in Midtown Delray, so our friends were all walking distance away, which made things a lot easier.


During our training time all of the clubhouse managers and restaurant managers discussed where we, as new employees, would be placed to work based on the way we responded to certain aspects of the training. The different outlets that we would be put into would be a Server in the Dining Room (a formal dining room that focuses on making the member have a perfect dinner with their friends and family with a full a la carte menu), StYr (a bar/cocktail lounge that is slightly more casual but still pretty formal that allows tapas and sushi orders on lounge seating but a la carte at the bar, on the high tops and outside on the covered terrace), Bistro (a casual grill style restaurant that has outdoor seating near the pool that offers a la carte menus and fast service), Patio (a small area outside the Men’s and Ladies’ Card Rooms where many golfers and card players will go for a quick meal, often cooked by the chef outside on his braai or a sandwich or salad that will be brought from the main kitchen by a food runner) or lastly, being a Food Runner, Server Assistant Hostess or Point Host at any of the aforementioned outlets. I was drafted to StYr to serve on the high tops and terrace. I was very happy with the decision made by management.

During normal service in StYr, on the high tops, I would serve between 50 and 80 covers a night, depending on the night, and events happening in the club. So, I would spin around myself trying to get everything done, but we have a saying that we would constantly say to each other, that has almost become a joke, but we all love the saying that goes “teamwork makes the dream work”. That saying helps us push through double shifts and shifts where it seems like everything is going wrong. We work together and make sure that everything works out while the members stay happy. Fast forward a few weeks and it was time for the season opening party. The theme was Passage to India. The party ran through the entire clubhouse, from the foyer all through the different dining rooms and eating outlets all the way downstairs to the patio. Everything was decorated in bright colours with silk and chiffon drapes. Really was a gorgeous evening. As staff we were even more proud of the way things had turned out because we had spent the entire day before all the way to 4am turning the clubhouse to the Indian Palace that it was by the time the party started.


The next event was the Thanksgiving Party, where similarly, we spent hours, as a team, making the entire clubhouse Thanksgiving themed. We had pumpkins everywhere with hay bales and corn. We put out lots of bright red and orange leaves everywhere to help make the members feel nice and cozy with their families. That day we had just short of 800 people coming in to the different outlets. By the time it was time to break down everything and set up the rooms for the next day we were all exhausted, but “teamwork makes the dream work” so we pushed through and got everything done the Addison way.


In the short amount of time that I have been here in the States I have met some amazing people. From my roommate who has existential discussions with himself in his sleep to an Austrian that has almost exactly the same taste as me for everything. And all the strange people in between. I haven’t been here for a very long time but I have still had many unforgettable experiences. And I know that with this group of people around me there are more to come.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

THE BEAUTY THAT IS OUR HOUSING – HUNTERS RUN CLUB!

By Nasiphi Sobahle

Please allow me to gloat, Six seasons into the Workaway Program and I have never been accommodated in such a beautiful area, let alone a beautiful apartment complex and to think that this is the place I call home for the next five months gives me a euphoric sense of fulfillment. It makes me deliriously happy!!


I relocated to One Boynton (Apartment Complex) in October with the assistance of our Housing Manager, Angela Herrington and up to this day, I still cannot believe the accommodation upgrade for the Hunters Run Club candidates this season, this place is Ah-Mazing, Breath Taking actually.


I remember walking into my apartment the first day of moving in and I had a jubilant feeling in my heart, I could not believe that we would be housed here for this winter season, I got carried away with the excitement and motivation of making my apartment look and feel like HOME, as comfortable as I could make it for my housemates and myself even though we spend most of our days at work because of the long hours we are scheduled for, but having said that, nothing beats coming home, after a long day to a house that is filled with Peace and Calmness.  Did I mention that my amazing housemates have made it so easy to achieve this. 


You are probably wondering what it is that I love so much about this place, where do I even begin actually when there is so much to say. I am a caffeine junkie, One Boynton offers us complimentary coffee at the clubhouse on a daily basis, I know I speak for many when I say this is a beautiful gesture as most of us grab a cup of cappuccino every morning just before boarding the shuttle to work. For the most part, I am considered a thalassophile and you can only imagine how happy I was when I found out that we are just a mile away from the beach.


This is just to mention a few of my highlights about this neighbourhood. I must also admit that the only unfortunate part about living here is the fact that we are right by the train station, so I will let you use your imagination on how unsettling that can be but I guess we can’t have it all right.


Sunday, 3 December 2017

Hans Christian Anderson once said, "To travel is to Live." I couldn't agree with this more.

By Mario de Carvalho

I have spent my first month here in the USA, and what an experience it has been so far. Since departing O.R Tambo in South Africa to catching connecting flights in J.F.K Airport in New York, to arriving in Fort Lauderdale. We were greeted by a friendly and enthusiastic Workaway representative who made sure we arrived at our apartments safely. Where I met my new housemates for this season. We have already had an awesome time together.


Within this short period of time I have made friendships that would last a lifetime, from various countries which include Romania, Ireland and America.


Working for a country club as prestige as Boca West has only been a true learning experience. From orientation day we were greeted with open arms, friendliness and excited up for this season. We were told about Boca West Country Club and how important every single staff member is to them. They informed us that as long as we give our best, they would too. Hard work was waiting upon me, but luckily as a Workaway representative I knew this already and ready for the challenge.



This amazing opportunity that Workaway International has provided me with has not only given me the chance to meet new people but also to explore and visit destinations I could only dream of. Miami South Beach was one of my favourites so far, spending the day relaxing on a world renowned beach with friends, what could be better?



I am grateful and thankful for Workaway, for helping me realize my wildest dreams. Until next time...



Monday, 27 November 2017

Living Life through Workaway

By Vasti Fourie

My adventure began on the 12th of October 2017 when I landed in Fort Lauderdale. The nervous, exciting feeling kept me awake even though I was so tired after the long flight. From that moment, my life changed.  I've always had family, friends and loved ones surrounding me. In that moment I realized this is my time, from this day onward I have to look after myself, make my own decisions deal with situations. Since that day I have never doubt my decision. YES I miss home, my loved ones, my dogs, my life in SA but this "life schooling" is the best experience you'll get.


The best advice I can give is to GO AND EXPLORE as much as you can. I haven't even been here for 2 months and I already had the privilege to experience Miami, Key West,  the most beautiful beach - Hollywood, the best food etc. etc. etc. Next on my list is Orlando, then Disney World and end with a bang in the Bahamas.


I am fortunate enough to have met the most beautiful American friend who show's me all the ins and outs about Florida, in exchange for some Afrikaans tutoring.


Girls/ guys the people you meet on this trip will become your family. Appreciate them, respect them. I have met some amazing friends that have taught me so much about myself.  You will celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, perhaps your birthday with them. If you feel "homesick” just know that they're also going through the exact same feelings. Support each other. The housing is really exclusive and based in a central area where everything you'll need is, within walking distance from you.


If you have second thoughts about joining this program, please don't. Just go all in and do it!!!




Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Florida: Round Two

By Emma Seager

So it's been one month since I landed back in South Florida... I can't even believe the time has gone so FAST! 


Everything is exciting when working at a new club, I love that I have made such amazing friends already and meeting a new team is always great and interesting.


So far I'm getting back into the swing of things and learning about the Polo Club, which is amazing by the way... we just had our welcome back party for the members and the event was sensational. The event was done outside with tables set up amongst fairy lights and palm trees!! It was a lot of fun seeing old members that I have got to know through my previous seasons.



Polo in general is a beautiful club, it's not as big at Boca West however it is exquisite and more intimate when it comes to dining. 


Christmas week is slowly approaching which I know is going to be extremely busy with maximum sleep deprivation (not fun)...however the overtime pay will make all the hard work worth it! The best part about it is the amazing team work that you experience during this time because everyone is in the same boat, you are never alone and always have others to help get you through the rush. I'm looking forward to the challenge and having lots of work to keep me busy. 


First though- thanksgiving holiday party!!! I love the Christmas season because there are so many holidays and events to celebrate which makes work so much fun, especially when you always have a new theme and a new venue to work in! I'll keep you posted on what goes on in the next few weeks 🙂