My life in Florida so far

Hi everyone,

Sorry for my late post about beginning my life in Florida but that’s me after one month finally settled in after feeling homesick and I wanted to write the post once I was settled. I’ve been really homesick whereas no one else is yet.

 

I I moved into Mira Flores Apartment complex on the 3rd September with 5 others and love it – it still doesn’t feel like my first home away from my parents but it’ll sink in soon! Being an only child and never having to share a room it is difficult at times living with 5 others but to anyone in the same position- just remember they probably feel the same, everyone needs time alone and when it really matters your flatmates will be there for you. Whether that’s making you food when your drunk, giving you a hug or some well needed advice – they will be there for you. So you’re never alone ❤️

I began my Front Of House Internship as a J-1 BSG intern at Admirals Cove Country Club shortly after moving in to my apartment and to anyone working there in the future (for future BSG interns), the pictures on their website don’t do it justice. It is incredible. All the staff and members are so welcoming and wonderful. Two weeks of training is intense, I even started drinking coffee to get me through the day at times. But Kara does make it fun with games and a points system for prizes! A tip: study nightly!! There is an exam which you have to pass, as long as you study nightly and listen during training it will be easy. Training will tell you what is acceptable regarding hair and makeup- no fake eyelashes, fake nails, ‘dolled up’ makeup or messy buns. We’ve been fortunate as we’ve been able to pick our home departments within F&B, so I chose banquets as that’s where my experience and passion is and the opportunities you will be presented with are amazing. So far I have worked at a memorial and organised the storage for the season ahead but it’s only my first week in banquets. I also worked at a Friday night Bayside Grille dinner service which is the fine dining restaurant at Admirals Cove. I couldn’t recommend volunteering yourself for a shift whilst still in training enough. It put all our knowledge into practice, allowed us to meet the members, understand how Bayside Grille operates and build good working relationships with our colleagues. The person I was shadowing was an absolute pleasure to work with and even encouraged me to take orders and deal with tables myself when I was only there to shadow, clear plates and get sodas. My tip for anyone in the hospitality industry: smile, stay positive, drink coffee and stay professional even back of house. Hard work will pay off and the hospitality industry, especially events isn’t easy but it is rewarding.

I am finally adjusting to Florida life, I’m still a Glasgow girl at heart but America has so much to offer. If you have any questions please ask, I love to hear feedback!!

My next posts will be about Universal Studios and Fort Lauderdale.

The pictures below are: left – the harbour view from Upper Lounge, right – the J-1 BSG Interns for Admirals Cove 2016/2017.

 

New York City

Hi guys, some of you might know that I recently moved to Connecticut after completing my 8 months in Florida! So I decided to make my first trip to NYC to say my final goodbyes to two of my old roommates who were flying back to Austria.

I arrived in Grand Central station very intimated- big city and all that! – and someone grabbed me to try and steal my handbag. It was not a good way to start my trip so I wouldn’t recommend females to travel alone as I was a wee bit shook up by it!! But luckily my hotel was in Times Square and it was a lovely area to be in so I felt safe once I got to my hotel. New York City is such a big and beautiful place with so much to offer so two days really wasn’t long enough to see everything but it was so good to see my girls again! We went to the Brooklyn bridge, Little Italy, Chinatown, Times Square and Soho. I’m looking forward to doing more tourist things next time I go as I mainly shopped, ate and drank! I can’t wait to go back!

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So stay posted for more info on NYC 🗽🍎

Me, myself and I

Not to sound cliche but moving countries, states and living completely independently is massive and you do learn a lot about yourself and grow as a person.

There’s small things you learn like how to do your own laundry, grocery shopping etc. But I’ve learned how to book a holiday and travel by myself without the help of my parents – as we flew from Orlando airport to Newark after our vacation to Disneyworld! That to me was a big thing and stressful as I’ve always had my family to help me around the airport.

You also grow up a lot and realise some things aren’t worth getting hung up on. Don’t say anything and move on because if you get caught up on all the small things it will ruin your time in America. Unfortunately I had to learn this the hard way for a time. It can be irritating living, working and socialising with the same people every day for 8 months – everyone gets cranky eventually! So what helped me get through that is to make friends outside of work. They can also show you different places to hang out as in Florida everyone from all the local country clubs will go to the same place every week. For the clubs around West Palm Beach it’ll be Roxy’s, Dirty Martini, Pawn Shop and Renegades.

Personally I hate being grouped as a J-1 Butler kid as it means that if other people make mistakes your name is included through default. The best advice I can give is to stay professional, don’t gossip (it can be hard but trust me!) and stay true to yourself. I never do things I’m not comfortable with but it is good to push your boundaries and try new things because the culture here is so different to home. I’ve just moved to Connecticut and now listen to Latino music, I’ve tried salsa dancing and I’m trying to learn a little Spanish and French because it’s the languages my new colleagues speak. In Glasgow I wouldn’t have this opportunity so I’m trying to make the most out of this experience!

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America Vs UK

So this month it’s all about the American experience you have whilst completing your internship compared compared to that you would gain whilst doing placement within the Uk. Personally I can’t advise with this because I’m not at university I graduated college studying Events Management and instead of beginning 3rd year entry to uni I came out here to do an internship at Admirals Cove country club in the banquets department. So I never took part in a placement year as such or know of anyone else’s placement experience for this industry back home.

It is a big decision to move to America for a year with no family or long time friends and it isn’t something you should decide on impulse. It can be scary but you’re only young once and it’s best to experience it whilst you’re young! I’m so glad I came out to Jupiter to live and work I can’t imagine what it would be like at home instead of Florida. I love Glasgow and all my family and friends but it’s important to remember that’ll all still be there when you go home!

But I can tell you the benefits of doing an internship at a country club in America! The benefits are: Learning about new cultures, history, religion, and politics. An example of this would be that I live with four Austrian girls so I hear them speak German often and try to pick up little words. I’ve also learned about the different tribes and traditions in South Africa.

You learn how to be fully independent as you have to rely on yourself more as you have no more Mum and Dad doing everything for you! To me this is a bonus as it makes you appreciate them so much more!!

You have such amazing travelling opportunities on your doorstep with NYC, Cali, Bahamas, Key West, Cuba, Miami, Everglades, Mexico & South America as well as the Caribbean and Canada. Once I complete my internship in FL I’ve booked to go to Disneyworld for 4 days before going to NY and before flying home going to Cancun. These trips are far cheaper doing it from the states than the UK so it’s crazy not to tick some things off the bucket list!

You gain an understanding of how fortunate we are back home in terms of health care, education and in politics/legislation. I think one word sums up what I mean: Trump!!

You lea

 

Team Banquets

So this month’s blog post is all about what to expect from your country club! Every club is different of course but the responsibilities and duties will stay the same.

I work in banquets in Admirals Cove and I love it. It puts my knowledge and experience to use and I’m learning how to communicate with the members and guests. Due to working in banquets we have different events on all the time – from weddings, meetings, member events, golf events, bar + bat mitzvahs, memorials, internal training events, anniversary parties and birthday parties. Some weeks can be quiet – nature of the business don’t worry! – but our managers are great that they still give us our 40 hours every week.

I love the nature of events and the opportunity to experience new things and learn. I find restaurant work too routine. But it truly is the work force that makes the job what it is. Your duties such as side station work and ‘shopping’ for silverware (stealing from other departments) isn’t always very exciting but with my banquet girls there it’s always a laugh.

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Cultural trips

Hi guys,

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I’m going to make a list for you of the cultural trips I’ve been on and what I’ve still to do and give you some tips if I can!

So far I’ve been to Miami, Fort Lauderdale, the South Florida fair and Universal studios. Due to money and always working/friends with people mainly in the same department then it’s hard to do as many trips as I’d like so I’d recommend doing essentials before you begin work.

From my experience here’s some tips for you:

  • Have emergency funds cause Florida isn’t cheap especially the tourist destinations!!
  • Always leave early to make the most of the day
  • Don’t go light on the sun screen – as a Scot I found this out the hard way!
  • Bring two change of clothes and makeup/makeup wipes for Universal cause there are water rides – which you’ll go on a lot to cool down

Cultural things I’ve still to do are:

  • Florida keys day trip cruise
  • Disney world
  • Bahamas
  • Miami Heat basketball game
  • Different areas of Miami + Fort Lauderdale
  • Paddleboarding at Jupiter Inlet
  • Rapids water park

Once I’ve done these things then I’ll let you all know how I get on!

There is a lot of Latin culture in Florida – restaurants, bars and salsa clubs. I tried my first experience at salsa dancing and absolutely loved it and have tried Brazilian comfort food. In Scotland there isn’t much Latin culture so I really enjoyed getting to see something different and I’d definitely recommend it!

The holidays

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Happy holidays everyone! Spending Christmas in Florida- which was my first Christmas completely without my family- was really difficult. I always try to be as honest as I can in my blog so I’m going to tell you my honest opinion on how I found it.

Thanksgiving I had to work so I didn’t get to celebrate it but it was nice to see so many families coming together to celebrate. Work, however, was very busy! Thanksgiving wasn’t what I’d imagined: I pictured fall colours and winter vibes but I live in Florida so it was sunshine and palm trees.

For Christmas I found it – and am still finding it – really difficult being away from all my family and friends. I miss going Christmas shopping (postage costs a fortune to send to the uk!!), wearing winter clothes and getting into the festive spirit with my family and friends. In Florida it is always hot so it doesn’t feel like Christmas at all. My best friend and I decided to cook a roast chicken dinner and get as close to our traditional British dinner as we could! That really helped me to feel better as watching your friend remove giblets from a chicken whilst drinking a gin & tonic is the funniest/most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen. We never done a secret Santa as we left it too late and we were all working crazy schedules but I think it’s a nice idea. I got a Christmas parcel from home which was really lovely. Inside was a Scotland tshirt, Scotland coasters and keyring and a Glasgow teddy. See a theme here? As well as clothes, jewellery and my Gran’s Christmas tree fairy all the way from Scotland which she’s had since I was a baby. The parcel made me feel closer to home and I did struggle with the home sickness but everyone’s in the same position.

It really helped me being in a team with international managers as they understand how hard it is and can offer advice. Also team banquets are my American family and the patter and daily laughs with them make work so much easier!

 

Admirals Cove Country Club

I first started my employment at Admirals Cove on the 7th September and there are 5 departments within F&B you can choose to work in – banquets, Blu restaurant (fine dining), Marina Cafe (casual dining and bar), The Fairway Restaurant at Golf Village (fine dining) and the Card Rooms.

Banquets is my home department and I absolutely love it. There’s a different event daily and a great chance to broaden your banquets knowledge. It is more difficult to get to know the members as you don’t serve them weekly like in the other restaurants. Pro’s: free buffet food, working with Flavio + Claudia the banquets managers who will go out of their way to help and support you (they’re both internationals so they understand how difficult things can be), free flowers which is always nice! Con’s: don’t expect holidays off and you will work late nights.

Blu restaurant is the fine dining restaurant in the main clubhouse. The operations behind service are very organised and the managers are very supportive so never be afraid to ask for help. The menu changes weekly but members will always have their favourites and special requests.

Marina cafe is the restaurant facing the pool and the Marina – hence the name – it is extremely busy and the members are very challenging!! It is a much more casual style of service.

The Fairways is the golf village restaurant. It is fine dining but with a casual family atmosphere.

The Card Rooms responsibilities consist of being the attendant and ensuring snacks are stocked up – there is no service as such. Although you’ll have the pleasure of working with Nyaka who is the manager for both the male and female card rooms.

For anyone with hospitality experience Admirals Cove can be a little more challenging – even for me when my experience is in VIP service and hotels. There are rules of speech, greetings and behaviour to be followed which does take time to get used to but it is a really valuable thing for later in your career. Americans do things a little different to home but you just need to learn to adapt! I even had to learn to change my accent and tone down the Glaswegian accent a little as no one could understand me, it’ll change slightly naturally with time due to picking up American phrases. The members are absolutely lovely and so are the managers. Just stay out of trouble and you’ll have an amazing time at Admirals Cove. It is an incredible club and is not to be taken advantage of this great opportunity at one of America’s top 2% of country clubs!!

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