I have completed my first two shifts! I have been waitressing non-stop so far, apparently I will be working in reception eventually but new ‘stagiaires’ usually start in the restaurant. I am actually pretty relieved, I’d rather not deal with a French booking system just yet and I am doubtful that I could provide any useful tourism information having just arrived myself.
I worked last night 6pm until 10pm, this morning 10am until 2pm and I have another evening shift tonight. My day off tomorrow will be much needed that’s for sure. It is surprisingly tiring work: setting tables, clearing tables, cleaning tables, serving food, and repeating all of the above. The instructions from my boss have been limited so I am mostly using my initiative or copying others. There have been some frustrating moments; I painstakingly set all the lunch tables only to be told AFTERWARDS that I had used the knives that were ‘pour le petit déjeuner’ because they had a slightly blunter edge. Brilliant.
I am learning quickly though and I enjoy serving the food because the guests are really friendly. They are on their holidays so are generally relaxed, patient and chatty. One of the highlights is serving the ice cream, I get to use the scooper and explain what each flavour is. I think I need improve my pronunciation of ‘menthe’ though, that’s the one that seems to produce a look of confusion followed by ‘ah menthe !’
My main coping strategy is smiling and nodding, which seems to work quite well. A few times I have understood someone’s comment or question about 3 minutes after I gave them a wrong answer. Very frustrating. It seems that I understand the vocabulary deep down but it sometimes takes a while to process it. Some simple mistakes include enthusiastically producing a spoon (cuillère) when a guest asked for more cherries (cerises). I can assure you that I know the word for cherry, but the cutlery had been running low and it must have been on my mind…
All in all, I am definitely surviving and it can only get easier. Plus, the weather tomorrow is meant to be 28 degrees of pure sunshine – pool anyone?