So, what am I actually doing here?!
My official title is Food & Beverage Assistant at the Bayview Chateau Tongariro. I am generally scheduled to work Lounge Service, which is pretty much a combination of bartender/barback/barista/waitress /American ambassador (people LOVE to ask the staff where we’re from, what it’s like, and what we’re doing here) and anything else that gets thrown my way.
My schedule is pretty ideal- most of my days start at either noon or 3:00pm and run up until midnight, unless there is a special event or particularly rowdy crowd that keeps us open late. Our clientele make up a stew full of varied ingredients- we’ve got high-end hotel guests having cocktails before dining in the five star restaurant spiced with skiers and snowboarders looking for a cold beer after a long day on the mountain and garnished with families placating their children with hot chocolates for a moment’s peace so they can get a glimpse of the gorgeous mountain view out the enormous picture window. You’re as likely to see a cocktail dress and heels as you are grown adults tossing dripping wet coats over the backs of couches and warming their stocking feet by the fireplace.
I work in a bit of a boys club, but they’re a great crew. Jon, our bar manager, is from England and a big kid at heart who could charm the pants off of anyone who approaches the bar window. Tim, our assistant bar manager and Jon’s best friend, is a smart ass Boston boy. He can rub people the wrong way until you realize that he only pushes people’s buttons when he knows they can take it. He can also turn on a smile the second any guest approaches and knows fine-dining etiquette like the back of a white-gloved hand. Rounding out our crew is Tony W, who everyone calls “Dubs” due to the number of other Tonys running around. He’s from Northern England with a great accent to match and hides his sharp wit inside the demeanor of a big teddy bear.
During busy times my job keeps me running, and in down times I turn to silly details like organizing the six different types of coffee saucers we use or taking walks around the lounge with rambunctious rug rats. It may not be the reason I came to New Zealand, but it is my means to income, housing, and a social life, and so far it’s not half bad.
Oh, and it allows me the time focus on my real career aspirations and get an article published in an Australian newspaper…. more on that later!