Tag Archives: Work

Half Baked: Lessons Learned From a Dead End Career In Hospitality – Part 1.

Pappas Kitchen

I’d go on to associate 3:00am on a Sunday morning with stumbling home drunk from town: eighty quid down, my trainers scuffed to bits and guided by streams of piss and the stench of Joop to the nearest 24 hour bakery. Before those bleary years, there was a time that I’d be ‘working’ at this god awful hour, before I would notice what laborious road I was hurtling down; and about eleven hours before your mum had the dinner on. I’d go on to work in many restaurants, cafes and bars. But it all began in my dad’s small bakery in Torry at the unsullied age of twelve. This was work experience. An introduction to the working world and a literal awakening by a tinny cheap alarm clock picked up from the cash and carry.

My dad always worked in the industry. A baker by trade and a grafter. Growing up, I have memories of him dotting about the city from A to B, looking to pick something up or sort something out. I would be given the choice of coming in or waiting in the car, as he went down some unspecified stairwell or chap on the back door. I would usually pick the latter as these visits tended to be lengthy, despite the assurance of “just popping in”. As he would talk about…whatever the hell bakers talked about, I’d get to try the cakes or be shown how something is done or how a machine works. For example, he worked in a little shop that specialized in wedding cakes. I remember being given a blank cake board and a piping bag with various coloured icing to play with. This was the equivalent of pencils and paper to keep me busy and kept me out of the way. I didn’t mind. I found these experiences fascinating. I fondly remember meeting some local characters and learning how an industrial kitchen functioned.

My dad would go on to buy The Pantry: a small, no thrills bakery that catered mainly for the early morning trade. Initially, he ran the place single-handedly, although help would come in later in the morning to serve the public. I think he found the experience somewhat lonely. In my opinion, the best part of any kitchen job (bar, you know, actually cooking things and completing a successful service) is the social environment created by you and your colleagues. Working side by side with the right team can keep you going throughout a long day. Without that, you may only have the radio for company and the inner workings of a tired brain.

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On Saturday night, I’d go to bed fully clothed because…that’s what grown-ups do?..dreading the inevitable 3:00am wake up from my tinny pocket alarm clock; and my dad who would absurdly wake me up a minute or two before it went off. I often ignored his attempts to wake me in hope that I would get away with not going. This had limited success. I’d lumber into the car in pitch darkness and sleep for most of the journey, awakened as we approached the bakery, by the stench of fresh fish and the sound of screeching seagulls.

Opening up was always the worst part: lighting all the stoves, cranking them up full blast to get some heat into the kitchen; waiting for hot water to boil and counting the minutes and seconds until you could take your jacket off. Front of house was basic but practical: brightly coloured price tags peppered the walls and the display cabinets lay dark and bare. Between the hours of three and six, my dad would systematically work through producing pies, cakes, pancakes, etc. I’d be tasked with putting them on display, cleaning and other odd jobs. We’d also get deliveries during this time. I’d find myself making cups of teas and bacon rolls for the tradesman either ending or beginning their shift. You could usually tell which, by the dirtiness of their overalls and the level of weariness in their voice when they ordered.

As the morning went on and darkness fell to light, the bakery would get busier and I would get chirpier, knowing that the arrival of day come with my departure. I’d either get a lift home from my grandfather who would often help out; or from some indistinguishable woman who would do the sandwich run around local offices and drop me off on the way back. Before leaving, I would walk up to Blockbuster Video to rent a couple of Mega Drive games – this is how I would spend the rest of my weekend.

These sporadic shifts would indicate who I would become in the working world. My dad would go on to sell The Pantry and I dodged diabetes as a result. His next acquisition would be something far more exciting…The tinny alarm clock never did ring again. Where as I, was just beginning to chime.


Glass Collecting: 8 Tools to Help You Survive Happy Hour.

The Exchange Hotel, Brisbane, Australia.

The Exchange Hotel, Brisbane, Australia.

Traveling the East Coast of Australia? Looking for work to fund onward travel? Enjoy cleaning up after drunk, drugged and dumb hipsters?

If you answered yes to all three of these questions, I have just the job for you!

Whilst living in Brisbane I worked at a night club, mostly as a waiter during sociable hours. To bump up my wage, I asked to do extra hours at the weekends, picking up glasses after my shift until the very small hours. As you can imagine, this kind of work is monotonous, soul-destroying and incredibly aggravating at times. But hey, it pays and if you need the cash, this can be a good little earner. Based purely on my experience, here are some tips to get you through happy hour. From sick to semen, I have it covered (figuratively of course.)

The Mop

Your induction will consist of a brief introduction of the tools you will need before going into battle. The first of which is the mop –  a 153classic time waster. Some girl has spewed all over the walls in the toilet? Take a break and go for a cigarette, as you’re going to need the fresh air before entering the stench pit. You know what awaits you and the only thing that will change between now and then, is the colour of her shoes and her level of dignity – yours diminished as soon as you signed up for the job. When you finally do arrive, usher drunks out of the cubicle like it’s a crime scene. Do not by any means interact with the culprit. She will have no remorse for her actions and tell you to leave  – which will anger you to no end – and she may be full of disease. Best form of action? Remind yourself at that moment why you need the money and get the cleaning over with as quickly as humanly possible.

Beside practical use, the mop can be used as a deterrent when cornered by jocks and hipsters. You will need to master two skills: The jab and the swing. When asked “Which part of Ireland are you from?” for the 10th time that evening, swing for his thick rimmed shades – he’s inside, it’s dark outside and they look fucking stupid anyway. Then follow-up with a straight jab to the voice box. That will protect your ears from his horribly bad accent.

The Sweeper

The sweeper consists of two items: a long-handled brush and a long-handled pan, both of which are designed to collect everything from cigarette butts to used condoms. At peak times, the sweeper may also be accompanied by a radio. This is to inform you of any breakages on the dance floor, (glass that is not noses) however at times you may feel somewhat patronized by the radio. The sign of a good ‘glassy’, (yes, this is what you will be called) is the ability to hear the sound of glass smashing from anywhere in the club, even over the load obnoxious reggaeton and electro. With practice, you will make it there in time to see some 18-year-old with skinny jeans and a vest, get tackled to the ground by the door staff for not doing much of anything. The entertainment value here is high, so it pays to be alert. Once you have followed the ruckus out the door, go for another cigarette before sweeping up the glass. By this point, nobody cares what you are doing, and neither do you.

Later, try heading out side to sweep. This will give you the opportunity to chat to the attractive door girl, tell the security about how much you hate your job and waste a good twenty minutes.

Top tip when actually sweeping: try using the side of the brush to knock in some butts. It creates more of a challenge and at times the odd butt will jump into the pan satisfyingly.

The Damp Cloth

138Similar to the mop, however the risk of coming in contact with bodily fluids is greater. If for any reason your cloth becomes dry during the evening, you may go behind the bar to damp it. This will give you the chance to engage in two second conversations to whomever is working, but be warned – there is a high chance no one will know your name. You could also use this time to grab a glass of water, marvel at the talent standing at the bar and act like you should  be serving. Be as nonchalant as possible. You’re not serving, but they don’t have to know that. Soon enough money will be shoved in your face and you’ll get screamed at. Walk out and carry on with your shift.

Damp cloth top tip: try wiping tables clockwise. Then anti clockwise. Mix it up and get creative!

The Tray

A classic tool used to stack glasses and the only part of your job that requires any sort of skill level. There is only one practical way to carry the tray and that is above your head, using one hand. There are two reasons for this.

  • In a packed club, absolutely no one will get out-of-the-way for you. Trying to maneuver around with a heavy tray by your side is near impossible. Plus you will end up slamming into people (which can be justified at times.)
  • People will try to add glasses to your tray. Keeping it balanced over your head will prevent this. Your tray is like a game of Jenga: perfectly poised, balanced and only fun if  drink is involved.

Add to your collection and go wild. Stack them; Place them side to side. The fun to be had is endless!

The will to live

Not a physical tool but just as important. You are going to need this. The shifts are long and boring and everyone around you is unbearable, but try to look at the bigger picture. Remember, you too are an obnoxious idiot when you are out. Remember, you won’t be doing this for long. Remember, that you probably will have to wait in McDonald’s for an hour with the same people after your shift as the first bus home hasn’t started yet. Remember, even with the extra shifts, you still can’t afford a taxi to the suburbs.

Becoming a  struggle? Try these games during your next shift to kill some time.

  • The 60 second game: When doing a lap around the club keep an eye on the clock. Feel the momentary satisfaction when you start a lap on the minute and get back to the same spot exactly a minute later. Challenging and there are many factors that could hold you up. Example: Guy comes up and asks you where the nearest cash machine is. You have ten seconds to spare. What do you do? Personally, I would ignore him. I have better things to do such as  beating my personal best. Girl asks the same question? Take as long as you need.
  • Guess the next song game: A stab in the dark but since the club only plays the same four songs, your chances for success is reasonably high.
  • The cock block game: Occasionally, girls will talk to you to escape the clutches of the rapey guy on the dance floor. You’re sober and he’s an asshole. Make her laugh, and watch him stress. Leave before he beats you up. Challenging but dangerous.

If you are heading over to Australia on a working visa my advice to you is to not be too picky. Take what comes your way and have fun with it. An experience – good or bad – is an experience none the less, to which you’ll learn from regard less. If you are willing to work all night and looking for a short term cash fix, glass collecting is at least an option, that – given the right club – could pay a decent wage.

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For All The Cows – One Step Forward.

Although the last few years have been beyond my expectations, It wasn’t until I opened up a little – to myself and to others – about where my life was going, that it began to finally sink in that I needed to readjust my focus. Travel has and will be a big part of my life from here on end, as long as I am fortunate enough to do so. But coming home from being on such a roll, to slowly jolting to a complete stop, wasn’t easy to get my head around – I enjoyed my freedom and I never wanted it to end. However, as the old cliché goes, all good things must come to an end and I can now officially say, with a heavy heart, that this stint of travel is now behind me but someday, I will be back for more. For now, I’m here to stay and, in truth, I’m okay with it.

Give or take a few months, I have been working in hospitality for ten years, most of which has been full-time. For someone in their thirties this is quite long, but for someone at the age of twenty Seven, this is far too long. Through a string of broken promises to myself, I have stalled on getting out for a long time. But to be fair, I can’t knock it: through hell and high water, minimum wage boosted with jars of coins, ‘DARREN’ marked tip bags and the money saved by getting my hands on as much free food I could handle, has gotten me round the world and back: fact. But since coming home, I’ve never been so cynical and dissatisfied with what I do and to some extent, what I don’t do. As the months have passed, I’ve found myself going backwards and to be honest, I have become somewhat unhappy. Alas, here I still am, serving tables, wasting time and becoming more and more impatient day by day, as the constant demand of tourists chops me down, down, down. This is not where I want to be.

As for my own personal development? I wish I could tell you the answer. I desperately need to do something different with my life, and I have to push that forward in the New Year as opposed to just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. It’s only a matter of time for me. However now, more than ever, it’s important I use that time wisely – December, 2012.

I spent the majority of January getting increasingly frustrated with myself. I ploughed through job sites for ten minutes then got lost in923 You-tube watching videos of drunk racists on public transport for the remainder of the hour. Add in wrestling, Gumtree and a thousand and one articles on ‘career changes’ and you can begin to build a picture of what 2013 had met me with. It wasn’t until the tail end of January that enough was enough: Petra had been carefully nudging me along but I was still somewhat hesitant. It wasn’t until we went out for dinner with my mother one evening that I received that final nudge that would help me progress forward. I mentioned at dinner that I thought about going into support work. I explained that I needed a job that would still involve working with people but wouldn’t be so thankless. Like a moth to a flame she zoned in, as herself and Petra began systematically breaking me down and building me back up with encouragement, praise and approval as I played with my sachet of brown sugar and listened intently as I stared into my coffee cup.

The following morning, I applied for a position as an ‘Assistant Support Worker’ at a local unit in Leith. The job would involve working with adults with difficulties ranging from homelessness to depression – every tenant is different in terms of their circumstances. This would be the first job out with hospitality that I’d have applied for in quite some time. I held out little hope, however  I was open and honest in my application, just as my company was at dinner the night before. Perhaps support work would be my calling. I didn’t know. But at least now I knew it was time to find out. I was finally ready.

Around a week or two later on a break from work, I came home for lunch and found myself standing in the usual scatter of mail. Amid the take away menus and bills, I found a brown envelope marked in my name. It was stamped from the job I applied for. I promptly opened it there and then and began to skim read. I was invited for an interview. Excitedly, I confirmed my attendance and looked forward to the day.

The interview soon came and went and all things considered, (lack of experience, the high amount of applicants and little knowledge of the line of work) I felt like it went well. In fact, I don’t think I could have done any better if I was to do it again today. A positive, encouraging experience but I didn’t hold out hope in getting the job.

I was setting up the restaurant on a Monday morning – as I do every Monday – when I got the call. I had gotten the job that I was so sure I didn’t get. I was overwhelmed by the news and unashamedly cried when I got off the phone. I felt flattered, shocked and grateful that someone had faith and was willing to take a punt on me. I’m a somewhat emotional and personal person (no shit I hear you saying…) and that phone call, really did mean the world to me. This would be the start of a potential career, the start of something new and the end of an era.

As I carried on half-heartedly aligning place mats with cutlery, I instantly felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders. I wanted a change so badly and I guess my reaction reaffirmed that. I was struggling with the idea of not traveling again for a while and although for now I may be grounded, in a strange way I felt like I was on the move. This was one step forward and the beginning of a whole new journey. A journey that was completely unexpected.


For All The Cows – An Update To The Update…

In case you’re still remotely interested in the revolving door that is my life, I’m back on the scene with blog number 100. Okay, so it’s not going to be the special entry I had planned but I’ve been away a long time! So folks this is simply a blog to say hello and a little catch up. I did say in my last entry that there is more writing to come from me and there will be; mostly spanning from my recent travels. But for now I’ll just fill you in on the news, trying not to make this too painful of a read.

Onwards…

For those of you that have lost track of exactly what I’m doing:

Firstly – I’m not in the slightest surprised.

And secondly – I have no fucking idea either.

Things haven’t changed that much since my last entry. I may not be in Germany any more but I knew then what I know now and everything is still going as planned. But Without wanting to add another week onto the months, I’ll crack on.

Much like opening the door to a cupboard that’s been used as storage for far too long; I have no fucking idea what’s going to come pouring out.

So where the hell am I now and how long am I here for?

Jesus Christ; Even I can’t conjure up interest any more…

Well I’m in Scotland! Edinburgh to be more specific. Literally with nowhere to live and no job. But I do smell relatively good and judging by the bounce of my beer gut when I stride down the stairs I still eat well.

I’ve been back in Scotland for two weeks and down at the capital for one of those looking for a place to live and shortly a job as I am very near to being out of money. Looking at flats has been a mixed bag of frustration, disappointment and time wasting. I’m living at a hostel at the moment, abusing the free morning coffee and killing time by feeling sorry for myself and willing for the phone to ring. My ‘refresh page’ finger is getting a good work out though and who says you can’t eat chips twice in a day?

Basically this is what my life has come down to; Talking to strange men in 8 bedroom dorms and listening to couples fucking in the shower. But it’s only temporary and it’s nothing I’m not used to. I have no doubt my life will come together but It could take weeks rather than days. I’m in dire need of some structure in my life and I’m not talking waiting in line for the shower.

Is this going the way of a ramble? Better get it out the way then…

These past three years have been the best of my life; Seeing the world and having experiences that I couldn’t of imagined before leaving Scotland. It’s hard to really put into words how much travel has done for me as a person. To put it simply: I’m a different person now then when I was before I left.

When I was on the road I was tested in so many different ways I hadn’t experienced back home that I soon developed a mental toughness in which I could call upon when needed. I began to realize that nothing is too hard to achieve with a bit of persistence, patience and drive. However I was also aware that all three of these things didn’t stick around with me for long. I secretly developed anxieties and fears about how I would adapt upon returning.I knew that the lifestyle I was living had to end somewhere and at sometime. But you know, I wouldn’t change that much of what I’ve done over the last three years and I’m happy with the majority of choices I made. But in a sense I’ve only been killing time and delaying the inevitable. I was happy with that for a long time but lately I have started to think of the future; something to which I’ve been so dismissive with in the past.

I’m putting some serious thought into career goals and earning real money. Money has never been that big of an issue for me. I have seen the world on minimum wage and had the most amazing of experiences. Experiences that people with double the income, of all ages and from all walks of life shared with me.

Fit's ah this shite for? JUST DEE IT!

Leaving was about getting the best out of myself and seeing where my strengths lied. And although It was a pretty unorthodox way of learning life lessons, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I have met some of my favourite people whilst being away and learned things I wouldn’t have If I had stayed in Aberdeen.

But it all boils down to this: I’m home and it’s now time to move forward in a completely different way to which I am used to.

I can still fuck up and I still have plenty of time, but I now have to make some important decisions.

For the third time in three years I am back to the very beginning. I may not have anything to show for it in the traditional sense. No career, no money, no further education, not even possessions apart from this laptop I’m typing on but I’ve still achieved.

I’ve worked hard at something you can’t touch, feel or see but Inside I have a lot to show for it. I feel personal achievement in that I know where my strengths lie. It’s just about using them.

You know, before I left I didn’t believe in myself or push myself hard enough. I was jealous of my friends for studying and hated students based purely on not being one.

I’m back to square one in another city but have I ever really been further? At this moment in time, this could quite possibly be the best place to be. Square one isn’t that scary. I can go in any direction.


How was your trip?

Great and went surprisingly well. As I said I’ll be writing all about over the coming months so I’ll just touch on it briefly. One of the reasons I’ve not been updating is because I didn’t have my laptop on the road. These thing’s tend to fall off of boats, go missing from trains and end up as 21st century coffee tables in a flat in Bangkok.

On the grand scale of things the trip was a success with only minor hiccups (not counting the Qantas strike fiasco we got stuck in the middle of) and even on the tight budget we had, we had a great and balanced experience.

I had always wondered how couples managed to get through spending 24 hours attached to each other whilst traveling and I still don’t have the answer. A lot of couples have fallen a part on the road but others have been brought closer together. I prepared for both scenarios by learning how to share my toys and studying how to cover up a murder. Fortunately I didn’t need the latter and we both came out of it unscaved.  The whole experience  can be quite intense and at times can really put a strain on your relationship. But to be honest I was fairly confident Petra and I would get on well otherwise I wouldn’t have even suggested the trip. I was concerned about us driving each other mental though. I can’t stand my own company most of the time so how was I going to deal with hers 24/7 and how the fuck could anyone put up with me for that long? But I needed not worry as it was perfectly fine and we got on great. Couple of minor tiffs due to the stresses of travel and what not but we are stronger now than we were before. Just to make you sick in your mouth a little here’s a picture of the annoying happy couple looking like a couple dildos from Ann Summers:

Proper Condom Use

Future Plans?

Well after some real thought and consideration, I have my heart set on studying. I just can’t do hospitality for much longer. My heart isn’t in it anymore. The reality is this: If you want to make real money you will have to become a qualified chef or own your own business and I want to do neither. You can get great tips though if you’re in the right place. I’ve made plenty over the years. But I can’t work like that forever. Hopping from place to place is incredibly tedious for me now but I will probably have to do it until I start studying. At the moment, I can’t afford to be picky. Based on my experiences, there is little reward in this business for a job you work very hard at. The bottom line is I can’t see my future involving hospitality even though I know I’d be damn good at it. It’s looked after me well but it’s time to move on.

I have to try my hand at something else.

I still want to be a writer in some shape or form but this is where I really need the help. I can’t be any more specific than the sentence I’ve just typed. Also I’m pretty naïve to the business and where I can fit in. I need all the advice I can get.

Hence why this morning I took a visit to the Careers advisor to assess my situation. And realistically, I’m going to end up doing either open university, an access course via the University Of Edinburgh or higher education at college with the option of Uni on completion. The woman was friendly and helpful enough for someone that must of seen all sorts of creatures sat in front of her desk. She tried to get me to partake in online personality tests and career assessments. I declined. I already know my strengths and weaknesses; For me it comes down to motivation and desire and not lack of ability. I just need to pin point what I want to learn.

Do you know what you’ll be doing ten years from now? Do any of us? I might even be back in Germany in a year or two so that blurs the lines even more.

You know what? Fuck it. I’ll just dig up dinosaurs like I said I’d do when Jurassic Park came out…

Dig up baby dinosaurs. That's my ten year plan.

Anyway folks I’m sorry for the ramblings but that’s all I can muster at the moment? As I said there will be some creative writing pieces coming up in the next few months as well as a travel blog. Keep an eye out.

A Sincere Thank You.

 Since I’m back in the country for the foreseeable future I’d like to thank a few people for their continued support over the past three years. It’s nice to know that I’m appreciated as a friend and a family member and I want to show my appreciation back.

Thank you to my parents for always thinking of me and being proud of whatever decision I’ve made.

My grandparents and especially my grandmother for her constant kind words and encouragement.

Petra for the way you are and continue to be. I love you.

My sister and the rest of my family for being proud of a brother/nephew they never see. We will spend some time together soon!

Holly for giving me a place to live when It was important I lived alone. Thank you for the room.

Paul for never changing, always keeping in touch and making time for me. Best buds min!

Stew for the constant laughs.

Andy and Wilson. You will always be my friends despite not seeing much of one another lately.

Josh for constantly being positive and a pleasure to be around. Thanks for the place to live and for always being a selfless friend.

The rest of the James family (and Merlin!) for your kindness and hospitality.

Rob for letting me crash on your couch when I literally had nowhere to go and no money. Nothing is ever a problem for you.

Scotty for keeping me company on the bench! 😉

Reno and the rest of Annerley football club for making me feel like a star when I can’t play football for shit. One of the greatest times of my life and I’ll never forget the club.

Mitch and Ainsley for helping me settle into Brisbane and being the reason I came there in the first place. Get off crutches mate!

Adam for giving me a job in Germany when I really needed it badly. I wasn’t going to go away otherwise!

And to everyone else I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, traveling and working with over the past three years.

The adventure ends now but another is about to begin.

Thank you all.

Darren.

Serious stuff? Time for the silly face.


The First: Job In Germany – ‘la Cucina’

“Guten Morgen…..erm……I was wondering if you require anyone for in the kitchen?”

The answer to this question was met with either confusion,rejection or just plain rudeness. Looking for a job is always a chore no matter which country you are in. I had doubts about hitting the Italian restaurant literally ten steps from my front door. Why? Well its ten steps from my front door and whatever I may end up doing in my own nest (possibly shitting) I didn’t want it on my doorstep. However after no luck in other places I didn’t see the harm in it. At least I wouldn’t have it on my conscience that I didn’t even try there.

I knocked back a coffee,shoved on my nicest clothes and put on my glasses. I headed across and entered with an extremely fake confidence.

“Hallo. I have just moved in across the street from Scotland and wondering if there was any work in the kitchen available?”

I was greeted by two Italian men who didn’t speak English very well.

“What do you do? What do you want?” replied the older of the two men.

“Well I am looking for work….erm…….Kuchen oder……..ermm…..” I said.

“I am the chef! I do the cooking” he replied. He had a half-hearted scan through my CV with a sense of formality.

“Ahhhhhh Pappagallos! That is us. Italian” he said.

“Ermm…..great!…..so i’ve just moved in across the street and……”

I got cut off.

“Ok.OK. Tomorrow you………emm………..Wednesday……..at emmm……halb sieben…..no no no!…..halb sechs…..you come here….and I see you……..I see you and if I like…..you work……but ehhhhhhhhhh here………….very good food.It is mine.I am the chef! You no the chef.You come,I see…..and………ok?”

I bit his hand off.

“Of course! tomorrow half five. Cool. No problem.Your name? Massimo.Great. I will wear?………………White. Ok danke. Tomorrow. See you then!”

As easy as that. After only two minutes of leaving the house I got something. I was happy. I hate looking for work and always feel like im asking people to sell me heroin or donate an organ for my dying child. I just never have an air of confidence and always feel like I sound desperate. I always seem to generate an air of interest though and ten to land on my feet one way or another.

Monday came. I bought a white polo from some expensive store,somehow missing ‘H & M’s’ around the corner. I had already brought over chef trousers from back home and a pair of old trainers.Which by the way never used to be old. My Adidas Forest Hills 72’s are the best pair of trainers I’ve ever bought. Perfect for all occasions and even after their prime are the best pair of flat football shoes I’ve ever had,and are still doing my well three years on.

I was ready to go and left the house early to show I was keen. As I left I bumped into Massimo carrying a box of fruit and veg.

“Ahhhhhh Darren! Good good.Emmm…..tonight is eh…..not so good…….no busy…..tommorow you come?”

Tomorrow was no good and neither was the following days. I had plans to go to Munich. I managed to barter for Monday and we had the same chat as we did before. I was pretty annoyed but I totally understood. The way of the industry is if you aren’t busy,then there isn’t much reason for you to be there. However I would have liked to of at least seen the kitchen and had a chat just to reaffirm my willingness to work.However – that didn’t happen and I went to Munich hoping on Monday being a banker.I left thinking if Wednesday wasn’t busy – then how will Monday be?

As I left the house on the Monday a spot of deja vu came along. I bumped into Massimo again carrying a box of fruit and veg.

“What do you want? You tell me” he said.

I gave him the same spiel as I did the following days. He  ushered me into the kitchen to drop off the box. We then went and bought more as he explained just how good these vegetables was and how good a chef he was.

Massimo lived up to the Italian stereotype but not in a bad way. He was cocky,confident –  full of charisma and hand gestures but very likeable.He was very confusing and contradicting with the information he was giving me. I did my best to follow his instructions but as his English was pretty bad and as was my German, I could see problems ahead. What I did know is that if I worked hard and did what I was told,I would be looked after.

“Soooooooo……….(he usually starts a sentence with this) I am the chef and you no. Ok? And emmm……you must respect me. I no want you to blah blah blah (he used a comical face and acted out me talking too much with his hands). You work…..ok…I will like….you no? Then I no need you. Ok? My food is the best in konstanz.Everything you see (he picks up a tomato) fresh.Everything! Fresh. Ok? Ok. Soooooooooooooo…..”

The first job he got me doing was moulding pizza dough into perfect balls. I didn’t have the  heart to tell him I’d be absolutely useless at this and he would be quicker doing it himself. I gave it my best shot. I thought I was doing pretty well untill I was interrupted by his brother (the other Italian on my first visit). He was a taller man with a constant smile upon his face and again – full of character. I had seen him everyday since being in Konstanz.He is always outside the restaurant smoking and since I came in for the job initially – always gave me a wave or a smile.

“Awwwwwwww no….You no make pizza the Italian way!” he laughed in a friendly manner.

He finished my batch with amazing flare and I appreciated the show and tell, as Massimo just left me to my devices presuming I was Gordon Ramsey.

The day went without a hitch.Most of it was spent doing dishes but Massimo showed me a few things. He didn’t ask me anything. He was more eager to see if I could do the job or not. I could tell he didn’t want to waste his time. I was worried I was slightly over my head but as the day went on I felt comfortable. I liked him.And that helps a lot.

As I was leaving his brother (whose name still escapes me) came up to me with a spring in his step. His English was very limited.

“My frau…ehhh….my wife…..she ehhh…..lost.You know? (I didn’t. I imagined his wife wandering around a dark forest looking for somewhere to make camp) She…..season six? She likes…..She needs lost. You see?Can you?……Do you?…….emm……”

“Ahhhh you would like me to get lost season six for you?” I said.

It was no problem.

“YES! Fablisimo!Thank you so much!” He said as he gave me a firm handshake and a packet of cigarettes for my troubles.

Massimo wanted me back the next day. He wanted another look at me. I didn’t mind the job. I feel ok in the kitchen. However it’s gotten to a stage with me that I know I could do something else and I desperately do. But with the language barrier I know I had to stick to what I know in order to get by. If it meant being a scrubber for another year then so be it. Afterall money is money – and untill I sort my shit out – it will have to do.

The following shift came and went and it and had the same theme as before.

‘You respect me – and I will respect you’. No bother. Even if I wanted to tell him to fuck himself I wouldn’t know the words too in German or Italian. I’ll just do what I’m told then. There was one cracker of a conversation I must share though that still has me chuckling to this day.Massimo had just finished telling me that he liked me and liked my work. I acknowledged the compliment and said thank you. He responded with a tirade of “I don’t give you compliments! I don’t tell you nice things ok? I speak you listen. No chat!”

Ok man. Thanks for kind words.

I’ve now completed my first week of work at ‘La Cucina’. It’s fine.The brother got his series of lost and i got another packet of ciggerettes for my effort. The only problem I have is it will only be part-time in the meantime but Massimo has already said that he will “see what I do” when it comes to extra hours. He already had me helping his wife out cleaning rooms in the hotel (he owns the restaurant and the hotel) By the way that was soul destroying.I make an ugly maid.Nothing like the hot Latinos you see on porn hub.On Saturday night he asked me if I liked it there. If he had asked me if I could put up with it, then I could have given him an honest answer but as it was I said “yes – of course”. He replied with “Well – i like your work. I see a future here for you. You are now apart of the family. Anything you need – we are your family now”

I thought that was very nice of him to say and I very much appreciated it. So as it stands I’ve went from a family run Italian restaurant back home to a family run Italian restaurant in Germany. Not the way to escape. But at least i feel comfortable in my surroundings in a short space of time which counts for a big part in moving to a new Country.

The ball continues to roll – albeit – in the same direction.