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 🙂


Monday, 20 November 2017

The Adventure Has Began!

By Megan Volker

Where do I even start...the few days building up to leaving I was nervous, excited and had all kinds of mixed emotions.


Arriving at the airport and saying goodbye to my loved ones was the most daunting feeling. But once I went through security and got to the other side I felt a bit relieved. 

We were all chatting and super excited to get on that plane. It was a long flight but better than expected as we were all starting to get to know one another.


Arriving at my apartment complex and walking through those doors to meet my new housemates was a bit nerve wracking but I honestly felt at home the minute we started talking.

Training was tough and settling down into my work routine has been tough but I absolutely love every minute of it and what comes along with it.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Great being back

By Claire Smith

So it's been around 3 weeks since I left home sweet home SA. It was so much fun flying with all the new and returning Workaway recruits. Everyone from different provinces flocks to each other in OR Tambo when they see the red Workaway flight folder. It's great having these it's a definite ice breaker when getting to know one another.



This was my 6th flight back to The US and by far the easiest! I was lucky enough to Sleep majority of the way! Many of us got rows to ourselves as the flight wasn't full. I saw many recruits from all different Workaway country clubs on the plane.




It's been great being back at work, getting into the swing of things. All our new recruits at Mirasol are fitting in well and working hard.


I can't wait to see what other events and adventures we get up to in the season.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Florida is a beautiful State...


  
By Arthur Petersen

I left South Africa just over 2 weeks ago and made my way to sunny Florida in the USA. Where I have made new friends along the way, reconnecting with old friends from home who also have been working with the program and making new friends from various countries such as Ireland, Portugal, Romania and of course our host America.


My flight was long from O.R. Tambo connecting to JFK International and then Fort Lauderdale, but it was probably one of the more memorable and enjoyable ones I've had in a long time. We were greeted warmly by our Workaway International hosts in the USA, who took us to our new homes for the next 6 months, which I must say I am impressed with. Our living quarters are spacious and comfortable and I have no complaints on this matter. My housemates are awesome people and we're already bonding well together as a unit I have no doubt we'll all have a great season for the next 6 months. 


Boca West Country Club Is So Amazing. On our first day of orientation we took a general tour of the Country Club and we were acquainted with all the heads of departments where everyone introduced themselves and told us a little more about the Country Club and where we would fit in the bigger picture. The next day, our 2 week training program began. This wasn't as easy as it seemed but I already knew this, as the training we were given by the restaurant managers is simply world class and could equate to studying in a hotel school. 



After many tests, quizzes and practical’s, we find ourselves working the floor in the number 1 Country Club in the State of Florida and the USA. I'm proud of how far I have come, I miss my family and friends back home, but my journey has only begun and I'm grateful for every day I get to spend on the other side of the world. I see room for growth and have re-imagined a future for myself that I wouldn't have seen before. So I'd like to say once more and probably won't stop saying thank you Workaway International for this life changing opportunity! Till next time, stay blessed, and wishing everyone back home peace love and happiness!



Monday, 6 November 2017

It’s Good To Be Back

By Catherine Lindebaum

Hi everyone!

So I’ve been back in the States for about 2 weeks now, and I must just say, it’s like I never left. It’s a very special feeling coming back to a place where you’ve made amazing memories with the best people. We also got put into different housing this season and I’m loving it!




Tip: There’s been a couple of random rainstorms happen when we least expected them, so make sure to always have an umbrella and/or a raincoat handy for when you may need it.

Soon after I arrived, did I begin work again, and it was super great to get back into the swing of things, to see both the members and my colleagues. We have a super great team of interns from Austria, Ireland, America and of course, South Africa. They have just completed their training with flying colours and I am really excited to work alongside and get to know them all.




With most of the members back from up North, Team Addison is getting ready for our season opening party and our next big holiday Thanksgiving - which is my absolute favourite American holiday!


Anyways, I wish you all the very best and a happy season in the Sunshine State.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Finally

By Damian Green

After months of waiting in anticipation, long-winded interviews and numerous visits to the Workaway International offices, it is finally time to depart to the USA!


I cannot believe I will be flying halfway across the globe to sunny Florida to work as a Server at the gorgeous Addison Reserve Country Club for the next six months. My family is visibly nervous by the thought of me leaving the nest to fend for myself in the USA.

To be honest, I am feeling quite intimidated and slightly scared of what the future holds. I do know, however, that with the help of my fellow Workaway recruits and the amazing staff at Workaway International, I will be very happy in my new home. 


I am leaving behind my family and friends who I will miss terribly. My sister says she will not miss me but I know for a fact that she is going to miss me the most. My first flight from Cape Town is looming. The day is growing closer.

It is definitely going to be an experience of a lifetime. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The wait before the wait...

By Arthur Devon Petersen 

This has been by far one of the most humbling experiences I have ever endured. From receiving confirmation of employment and the completion of various medical examinations to a successful visa application and booked flight to the USA. 


Workaway International has made this process so easy for first time applicants.  I can only imagine how stressful it must be to not only do this procedure for one person, but for over 600 other applicants from across the country.  I thank you for all your time and effort in making sure we are always updated on the status of our applications. I also would like to thank everyone at Workaway International for providing us with the opportunity to chase and achieve our dreams. You guys are the real stars of the show.


Now that I am packed and ready, it is time to say my goodbye’s and begin a new chapter in my life. As always, it is good to stay humble and uphold my values and principles. I thank God every day and pray He guides and protects us all throughout our journeys in the USA.