So I thought I should share some of my new experiences with you guys to let you know it’s not all just work and Netflix! Since living in Florida I’ve had new experiences from wee things like deep cleaning the kitchen, riding on a scooter and learning to live with other people to going salsa dancing and playing beer pong on the beach with locals.
Firstly I’m going to talk about the night life. Clematis street in West Palm Beach is the most popular place for young people to go as it’s the ‘strip’ filled with clubs, bars, shops, Starbucks and restaurants. Nico’s pizza is not to be missed after a night out! Roxy’s rooftop is the place to be on a Sunday with a chilled seating area overlooking West Palm Beach it’s a cool atmosphere or there’s a dance floor in the middle of the bar with a stage and DJ booth. Downstairs is Roxy’s Irish pub – if you’re Irish you’ll be disappointed but it’s a nice try! There is Pawn Shop if you are struggling with ID – we’ve all been there – then this is the place to be on the weekend! They often let girls in for free as well. If you don’t feel like clubbing then inbetween Roxy’s and Pawn Shop on Clematis Street is Duffy’s Sports Bar which is insane if there’s a Connor McGregor fight.
One of the amazing things about living and working with internationals is that you learn about different cultures. I live with Austrian girls who are trying to teach me German and one of my close friends here is Brazilian who taught me salsa! Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a dancer at all, but after some tequila I was having an absolute blast on the dance floor. There are a few South American restaurants/bars and salsa places in West Palm Beach.
Last night I went to Jumby Bay Island Grill for my friend’s birthday in Downtown Abacoa. They do great deals, on Wednesdays they have a flip a coin challenge for a free drink and the food was brilliant at decent prices. The bar and restaurant is Florida Keys themed so it’s a casual place with good dance music. Would definitely recommend. There was a beer brewery across the road with a bar which looked nice so I’ll let you know what it’s like once I’ve been!!
Another first experience was being robbed by the US Post Office!!! It cost me $72.00 to send a light weight parcel home for my cousin’s birthday back to Scotland – $22 for the box and tape alone. For Christmas I will be online shopping and have it delivered home instead. I’d 100% recommend this for any other internationals as I wish I’d knew this before I bought the presents.
Thought I’d fill you all in with moving to Floresta apartments and how I’m feeling about life in Florida.
I moved to Floresta less than a week ago and I feel more settled here than I did living in Mira Flores for nearly two months. Floresta apartments is in Jupiter- 5 minutes away from Admirals Cove Country Club- with a Starbucks, Publix, Chinese takeaway, beauticians etc 2 minutes walking distance with a Walmart 5 minutes driving distance also. It’s a safer more family-oriented area with a better gym and pool area than the old apartment complex which is amazing!! I’ve even deep cleaned the kitchen and became house proud – something my friends and family would never have believed before!
I’ve also experienced my first American Halloween in Roxy’s rooftop bar – anyone working at a county club in Palm Beach county will hear of Roxy’s! I’m not a big Halloween fan but it was a good night and a laugh with the banquets + Austrian fam.
I feel like I’m finally loving my life in Florida. I have friends out with the other interns, I’ve learned to put on the Scottish charm – the accent gets you out of a lot of difficult situations especially with fussy members in work, and I love my banquets family. It’s hard work being in banquets: you’ll be physically and mentally exhausted at times but there’s great opportunity to make contacts and I couldn’t ask to work with a better team.
I’ve always been an independent person but I finally feel like I’m ‘adulting’- people in their 20’s will understand… Moving internationally was a massive achievement for me, terrifying also but I couldn’t recommend it enough. Nothing good is ever going to come easy to you, it’s all about pushing yourself. At times I’ve asked myself what the hell am I doing here? Then you have to look at the bigger picture – your career, your life experiences and goals. The American Dream is real, it might be a little blurred right now but I’ve made friends who are living examples of the American Dream. To any interns like myself the biggest piece of advice I can give is to remember you’re only here for a year and to live it up as much as you.
So it’s coming up to the end of my second month living in Florida and I thought I’d write a little comparison blog post and share some of my new experiences with you guys.
All throughout my first month living here I was terribly homesick. I missed everything about Glasgow: the Pure Gym I was at, seeing similar faces, knowing the transport system, knowing the best restaurants/short cuts/and general way of life. Also not being able to legally drink over here was a big struggle for me. I’m a strong believer in ‘People Make Glasgow’, Glaswegians may laugh at it but when you’re taken out of the area it couldn’t be more accurate. Glaswegians are one of the friendliest people you’ll meet. However I’ve learned to realise that I’m so blessed to be living here in Palm Beach county and to be working at one of the top 2 country clubs in America and to fully take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Yeah it is scary but you’ll grow so much as a person and it is such an amazing learning experience.
This month I’ve settled so much more; I’ve made good friends with the new H-2B workers as there is a lot of them in the banquets department as well as with other J-1 interns and locals, I absolutely adore my work at Admirals Cove and I feel like I’m living my life in Florida as more of an individual now instead of just a ‘Butler kid’. We fortunately chose our own departments and I was placed in banquets and I can honestly say it was an absolute god send to work with such an amazing group of people who will be there for you professionally and outside of work because everyone 100% has your support and respect. Everyone is so happy to be working and I feel so blessed to be working in such an incredible environment.
To anyone looking to complete an internship on a J-1 visa like myself, or coming on a H-2B working visa: embrace it, be thankful and most importantly work hard. It is difficult at times but the reward and support you will receive is amazing. There is a lot of internationals so everyone is going through the same as you. Let’s face it I’m not going to have the opportunity to be working at a private party on a yacht worth over $3m in the Glasgow River Clyde am I? So network and build professional relationships and friendships and who knows what the future will hold.
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.
My American adventure began in Manchester for me – travelling down from Glasgow with my parents then the goodbyes. It hadn’t sunk in for me that I was leaving for a year – that part came later – so I wasn’t upset just excited!
We flew with Thomas Cook Airlines direct from Manchester to Miami which took 9 hours and 20 minutes along with 2 hour delays and 3 hours waiting at immigration before being able to collect our baggage and enter US soil. We didn’t expect these delays at all and kept our airport transfer waiting for 4 hours – not cheap!! Advice for everyone please allow time for immigration queues and don’t drink too much on the flight. I can’t imagine immigration going too well after a few too many vodkas!
We arrived in Miami stressed and extremely jet lagged – something I’ve never experienced before. We arrived at our air bnb in Sunny Isles Beach and had a quiet night in and hit South Beach early the next day. Anyone looking to stay in a quiet area with cheap prices I would recommend the Intracoastal Yacht Club in Sunny Isles Beach which sleeps 6 comfortably and is very safe with gorgeous views to wake up to. I can 100% see why people would fall in love with Miami, 1 day just didn’t do it justice though. Travel tip for avid cocktail drinkers like myself: the average cocktail price is $15 in the tourist areas but you can find happy hour between 12am – 7pm. For a Glasgow girl used to £3 cocktails this came as a shock!!
We’ll definitely be back in Miami soon though: tips for anyone new to America like myself- don’t wear makeup during the day (in 32 degrees heat it’ll slide off!), try to get sleep unlike us as it does take its toll, and most importantly don’t take anymore than two suitcases out with you! It’s not worth the effort of carrying it around in the heat and the accommodation that Admirals Cove provided us with came with walk in wardrobes for all bedrooms but remember you have a room mate to share that storage with and they won’t thank you for taking up all the space!!
More to come on the American adventure about: Mira Flores Apartments, cultural changes and starting Admirals Cove Country Club in the next few weeks.
My review of Blythswood Square Hotel and the restaurant. The hotel is a listed building – previously known as the RAC Club – and carries the theme of the building’s history and ‘Local at Heart’. Many things make Blythswood very special to me; the elegance of the building and interior, the terrific food, but most importantly the staff. People make Glasgow. For some of you who don’t know, I used to work in Events at Blythswood Square Hotel, so it was interesting to be at the receiving end for a change.
Last night – 17th August 2016 – I went for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant with my mum and it was a brilliant evening. Beginning on a glass of Moet & Chandon followed by 8oz Fillet Steak with hand cut chips, peppercorn sauce and buttered fine beans. For dessert; White Chocolate Crème Brulee with marinated raspberries, raspberry vodka syrup, pistachio ice cream and miniature meringues. Washed down with a raspberry Tanqueray and tonic and a glass of prosecco. Service was excellent and the food I honestly couldn’t recommend enough. Blythswood Square Hotel is definitely one of Glasgow’s treasures. There is also lots of deals for the restaurant and spa on 5pm and itison’s website so I would recommend to keep an eye out for any good deals!