Monday, November 14, 2011

Open Mic at school

We (Ronnie and I) brought Jet (the doggie) to the camp for a retreat tonight. It was actually at someone's house but it was very unique. The family had a very big yard and pound so the dogs could run around freely. A lot of people sent their dogs there for this family to take care of on the weekends or during holidays when they had to go away for vacations or emergencies. We took Jet to the barn where there was a big living room and a number of individual bedrooms for each dog.

Hi Everybody :)

Snack bar: skittles, pretzels, etc.

The commons.

Then we headed to the school, which was a nearly an hour and half away. We arrived right on time. There were mostly high school students, a few eighth graders and about 12 parents. The Open Mic was held in the commons which is the dinning room. There was free pizza and snacks provided. 

It was basically the same style as the Coffee House we had at Maumee Valley. However, Open Mic was more about the band, or all about bands, accurately. The songs they played included Rock (heavy medal), Blues, country,folk, etc. I was amazed by how talented the kids were. One of the most impressive things was that nearly all students that performed could play more than 2 instruments. During the free play period, kids just walked on to the stage and picked up whatever was available and played along. It was truly amazing to watch!

Highlight of the day

I got off work. I was hungry and thirsty and totally ready to try at more restaurants. Then I realized I left my wallet home, which was half an hour away. Both of my host parents were at work. Desperately, I went through my backpack and all my pockets knowing that there was only 0.1% of the chance that I could find any money. When I reached my pocket on the back of my jeans, I found 11 dollars and 29 cents. This probably wouldn’t allow me to go to any fancy restaurants (because I had to save $6 to buy the tri-fold), but it completely lit up my day. I randomly started laughing on the street and people were all looking at me like I was crazy. I even generously gave 1 dollar to the beggar.

Sometimes, it’s really those little things that make us happy :)

It's Friday! It's Veteran's day!

So today I went to work as usual. However, I left the restaurant in just half an hour because it was insanely busy. It’s Veteran’s day today! There was an assembly at the park that I saw on my way to work. A lot of policemen were on the streets to keep everything in order because there were several little parades going on. Anyways, this holiday is actually a pretty big deal for this town. That’s why the restaurant got filled up within just 10 minutes after its opening. Since I was not qualified to take order or serve the food, I was just getting into everybody’s way. Ali apologized multiple times for asking me to leave. However, that’s actually very understandable.

the band in the park. They looked like they could be college students.

A guest speaker was giving speech. 

My plan for the rest of the day is: explore more restaurants, work on my Fall Exhibition project, meet Ronnie at an art supply store (because I need to buy a tri-fold) and go to the Open Mic at the Academy at Charlemont for the night. Sounds fun, right?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

All about food

Yesterday, when I was at the Local Burgers I saw a Japanese restaurant across the street. So I decided to have my lunch there today. It was a small but cozy restaurant. There were two floors: the upper floor had regular tables and the lower floor had a sushi bar and since I was by myself I took a seat at the bar. 

Sushi bar

The have a huge collection on chopsticks. 

They have the steepest stairs I've ever seen.

The second floor.

This was possibly the most amazing Japanese restaurant I've ever been to here in the United States: it had hundreds of different choices for sushi and noodles and tea as well. It was kind of expensive so I only ordered one dish: Dragon Roll.

I got another frozen yogurt today! As a promised. 

It was so tasty! There're no words in the world can describe how delicious they were. 

After I finished my lunch there, I started to head home. It was raining a little at that time. When I walked pass by Urban Outfitter, one of my favorite stores, I went in to check out their sale and I was actually hoping the rain would stop in a little while. 

I took this one couple days ago so that's why it looks sunny.
But, isn't it gorgeous? When I didn't notice the 'urban outfitter' on the top, I almost thought it was an museum or church. 

So I bought some socks and tights. I was actually looking for some dresses that I can wear for this weekend but the ones I liked were all over $100 which I couldn't really afford. (Poor Kalina...)
*We're going away for a big birthday party for Arcadia's cousin this weekend but I didn't bring enough formal dresses with me.

Unfortunately, when I finshed shopping, it rained even harder. So I literally walked in the pouring rain for half an hour to get home. Imagine yourself taking a shower with your clothes on, that's what I looked like after I got home.

Fake it till you Make it

This was the very first thing they taught me at P&E's in order to become a good server or manager. I strongly opposed it at first, however, I found it very practical gradually. I don't have a story about it but just thought I'd like to share it with all of you. (Beth you must have a deep understanding of this, don't you? Haha)

A brief summary of my work today:
I bought a card and a little gift (a large bag of M&M's) for Ali. She was so surprised and happy when I handed them to her. She gave me big hug and said that was very sweet of me. I have to admit, she's one of the most mature and successful young ladies I've ever met. 

We had a new server today, she was still being trained and observed so obviously she wanted to impress everybody in the restaurant especially Ali. However, one of the rules of thumb I learnt so far was that never try to do things that you're not told to do or you're not 100 per cent sure about. So this girl arrived at the restaurant early and tried to do some preparation works that she hadn't been trained to do yet. She put a container full with water on the top of the shelf (at the entrance) where we usually put napkins and straws on. As soon as she left, the container fell off and the water was spilled everywhere. It was 5 minutes till the restaurant open and entrance was in a major disaster. Luckily, we cleaned everything up right before opening time. The floor was still a little slippery and I still constantly found random ice cubes around the front desk. The girl was definitely scared, but fortunately, everybody was being very nice and went to comfort her. That's one of the best things I like about this restaurant: the relationships among all workers. They were the nicest co-workers that anybody could ever ask for. 

So today was less busy than yesterday but it still got full before 12. I talked to Paul today. He's the founder of the restaurant,a very nice and funny gentleman. He came in to check on the restaurant every morning before it's open. I don't have a picture of him but I got one from the restaurant's website. 

General Manager Nate Sustick (center) 
and his parents, Paul and Elizabeth Sustick

I forgot to introduce Nate. He is the general manager as well as the head chef. I saw Nate almost everyday and he's also a very nice and generous guy. 

If you want to know more about the restaurant, here's a link: 

But I'll definitely talk about them more in the next few days. It has been a great experience so far.

They're famous for their whole-wheat rolls.


The front desk.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


After I go off work, I decided to explore some nearby restaurants because I've heard so many good things about them since the very first day. I went to the Frozen Yogurt place first. I've walked pass by that place multiple times and it has always had a long line inside. Luckily, there wasn't one today. So I went in and got a small original frozen yogurt topped with strawberries. It was EXCELLENT! It was very healthy and tasty. I'm probably going to get one everyday since today. I really wished Toledo had this.

the one I had

inside of the yogurt place

I was sitting by the window. The owner of this doggie went in to get a cup of frozen yogurt however no pets were allowed to come into the store. So the poor thing was just sitting there and staring inside the whole time. How cute!

Today was a very beautiful day! It was sunny and about 60. Nice day to explore the town!

Next the the Frozen Yogurt place, there was a candy store called Sweetie. I always have fantasies about candy stores so that's why you're looking at this picture.

Nice Name! It's a Mexican restaurant and it said "If you don't eat here, Karma will come back to you" inside on the blackboard at the bottom.

So finally, I arrived at this Local Burgers restaurant. There were a lot of college girls there and I've always heard a lot about it so I decided to have my lunch there. I was pretty hungry when I got there so I ordered a large fries and chicken wings. However, when the food actually arrived on my table, I was totally shocked. The size of the fries was triple of the size of large fries in McDonald's and there were 10 wings in the basket. No wonder the waiter was so surprised when he knew I was by myself. 

Of course I didn't finish my whole meal. I packed half them home. They were definitely some of the best fries and wings I've ever had. I was fairly stuffed when I walked out of the restaurant. 

Busy Day!

Today is Wednesday=I work at the restaurant=Happy day!

I planned on having a very nice breakfast today since I was supposed to have plenty of time in the morning. However, I woke up a little late so I didn't make it. Instead, I grabbed an apple and ate it on my way walking to the restaurant. 

I got to there at around 10:30 (pretty on time.) I was wearing a plain black dress with leggings and black ankle boots. Everybody has told me that I looked cute today which made me really happy
Note: It was actually not that cute but compare to what I was wearing last week, this dress was so much better. We're all required to wear black. But I didn't bring any formal black clothes with me except a sweatshirt and a pair of sweatpants. So you can see why now.

I basically did the same thing I was trained last week. Ali gave me the daily special menu and I wrote down some highlights on the blackboard to attract customers. 

the black board is placed at the entrance.

This is Ali!

This is my work. Haha, not perfect but I'm working on it :D

After this was done, I started to lay out all the silverware on the table. It was an fairly easy job, however, it required a lot of patience and carefulness. They have rules for all kinds of things such as how the napkins should be placed. The hostess told me that details are all that matters to a successful restaurant. 

It was Ali's birthday today. She's turning 25 today! I was actually shocked when I heard that because she seemed to be so experienced and skillful which caused me to assume that she has been doing this for a pretty long time. I wondered if I'm going to be as mature and perfect as her when I'm  25. 

Compare to last week, today was a very busy day. As usual, I welcomed people and arranged their seats according to my very limited observation and experience. However, within 30 min the restaurant was open, the seats were almost full. Ali had to stop me and take over everything because the situation was just getting worse and worse. We kept getting big groups (5 or 6 people) therefore made it even harder for us to arrange. 

I made a lot of mistakes today as I always did. One major mistake was: I brought the guests to their table when it hadn't been cleaned up yet. Ali told me that was the No. 1 Not-To-Do to customers because they would rather wait and chat with you than sit down at a nasty table. 

However, a great way to learn things is by making mistakes. I'm happy that I'm making mistakes now because I'm still young and don't have to face serious consequences. 

*I forgot what her name is when I was writing this post so I used 'hostess'. Sorry if it sounded very odd to you.