Since I last wrote, I got the job at The Beresford Hotel (!) and decided to take it over the fancy French restaurant, although I worked there a couple more times this week. (I moved up from simply napkin flourishing to water pouring, plate clearing, and cutlery replacing - all of which are painstakingly particular in the method, but I’ll save you the details.)
The Beresford is GREAT. It is pretty much the complete opposite of Guillaume’s. Rather than having a maximum capacity of 60 and only serving haute cuisine, The Beresford can hold 2,000+ people and serves pub food - burgers, fries, chicken wings, etc. and in huge portions. It has 3 different bars, a bistro area, an outdoor garden, and an upstairs nightclub. The staff is all really young and full of travelers and backpackers and the motto is extreme (almost excessive) friendliness. The most important rules of working there are to always smile and to strike up conversation with customers at any opportunity. For the first couple of shifts, they had me food running, but I managed to get behind the bar too, even though I have no bartending experience! I’m learning so much and so fast though. When there’s a huge line of people waiting to get drinks, it doesn’t take long at all to memories the top cocktail recipes and most popular draft beers. It is going to take a couple more shifts to master the over-the-should Martini – shake though J . The shifts are LONG and by the end I’m exhausted and my feet are numb wooden blocks, but the friendliness of everyone gets me through. Plus, it’s not like at Guillaume’s where I’m twiddling my thumbs to quiet classical music waiting for the next reservation to come in; Justin Bieber is blasting from the speakers as we dance our way over to tables, dodging drunken Aussies and girls in stiletto pumps. Yesterday, and every Sunday, is SunGay, a full day party specially devoted to the gay community. Omg it was so much fun. The whole place was full of beautiful, model-like guys, sporting tight ribbed tanks and asking me if my blonde hair color was natural and saying I looked like Mamma Mia. After my shift ended at 11pm, a bunch of other staff members and I took off our aprons to go dance upstairs and enjoy The Beresford from the other side. I’ve never been in a gay bar or club before and it is actually so amazing. Ah that was such a fun night, but I’m glad I’m not working today because I just can’t sustain that energy.
For more updates, art school is going really well. It is very intensive, rigorous and really tests my patience, but I know diligence is the only way to improve. The Julian Ashton Art School teaches the traditional figure drawing and painting techniques and focuses on absolute realism. Although I prefer to be more creative when I make art - using my imagination or trying to express some emotion – I know that learning the fundamentals is important. I’ve started a 10-week painting and a couple 3 - week ones, so we’ll see how that goes…
I’m also starting as a part-time graphic designer consultant at the Sydney Youth Food Movement. It is such a cool organization, and in line with my foodie/environmental passions, so I am going to try to get as involved with them as I can.
Although I am so excited about my job, school, and internship, I’m being extra careful to not overbook my schedule. My favorite part about traveling alone, and the most important aspect of this gap-year for me, is having free time to explore and be spontaneous. I went to Manly the other day, taking the ferry in the morning, and spent the whole day there, without any specific plan. I ended up meeting such a nice girl from England and she told me all about her travels in Australia over lunch. Or like the other day, I had time to kill before art class started so I sat next to the Harbor Bridge and drew the Sydney Opera House. A little girl from Singapore sat down next to me and watched me draw for about 10 minutes. When I finished, I gave her the drawing, and even though it was really nothing special, her smile made it seem like a thousand bucks. I also went to the Glebe Markets over the weekend with a friend and we spent hours roaming around the different stalls. I met this old man selling used books and I bought Sophie’s World, after he gave me a super-long, philosophical summary of it. It’s all about life’s “biggest questions” - I’m ready to get real deep on my self-discovering gap year ;)