Working the Cafe (Days 2, 5)

Being back in the cafe was refreshing for me.  I felt like I was back in my element, happy and free.  I jumped right in like I had worked there my whole life.  The great thing about cafe work is that once you've got the general idea of it down you can basically walk into any cafe around the world and instantly go to work.  The general idea of waitressing is to smile, take orders and dote on the customers so that they feel welcome and cared for.  These things came naturally to me, as do the social butterfly effect, which is hopping around from carrying out food to taking orders to bussing tables.  I enjoy the unpredictability of it.  This is the easy part.  The hard part about walking into a new cafe is the specifics like learning the menu and how to cook and arrange the food.  Also, prices and how the cash register is operated.  

Thankfully, the kitchen at Seal Bay Cafe was small and the menu was simple so it didn't take long to figure out the specifics.  By the end of the week I felt pretty confident in the cafe.

Kim and Alex were good to show me the ropes.  On day one I helped open the cafe which included scrubbing toilets, wiping tables and preparing the salad for the expo bar.  I worked through the lunch rush so I got to see how busy the cafe got.  It wasn't very busy compared to restaurants I had worked at in the past but it was enough to keep me entertained.  I enjoyed chatting with people and listening to their travel stories of seeing the island.  

By two o'clock the customers were gone and the dishes were done.  Things were much slower so Kim took a break and Alex and I stayed and did some extra cleaning.  The sound of our spray bottles and cleaning rags was interrupted when Alex asked me a question.

“I heard you say you was Christian last night.”  The night before the four of us volunteers had chatted a while around the fire before going to bed.  Kim had told us she was an atheist and she said something about Christians sitting proper which made her assume I was one.  During that conversation Matthew and Alex had remained quiet while Kim and I had a short discussion about religious rules.  

This morning I had prayed for Kim and Alex and Yollana.  I prayed that God would use me to be a light to them and that I would represent him in a positive way.  I didn't know much about the other's religious backgrounds but I got the feeling Matthew and I might be the only Christians, myself being the more vocal.


“Yeah, I am.”  


“That's good because I too am Christian.” 


I was so happy to hear those words.  It was a sign of hope.  It was encouragement as an answer to my prayers that morning.  God was here and he was listening to my prayers just as closely as he did when I was in my bedroom in Oklahoma.  

All of a sudden it made sense to me. Alex did seem to have Christian characteristics and now that I listened, I heard the Christian music currently playing from her phone. She asked me what kind of church I went to and I told her I was raised Southern Baptist but I liked going to non-denominational churches. She said that she too was raised Baptist.


She went on to tell me about her experience at a church in Sydney. She said she had stayed with a family connection from her church back home. This family, however, went to an Apostolic church. She said it was a very different experience but she enjoyed learning about a different type of worship.


I asked Alex if she had ever heard of Hillsong United and she excitedly said she got the opportunity to attend Hillsong a few times while she was staying with the family in Sydney. She said it was a huge magnificent church with lots of people. She said the worship was awesome and she would love to go back there. I told her it was on my list to do while I was in Australia. I followed that up by asking her if she enjoyed her time in Sydney. I had heard mixed reviews about Sydney so I was curious to hear her answer.


She said she mostly lived in the suburbs of Sydney but the few days she went to town she really enjoyed it. She highly recommended climbing the Blue Mountains near Sydney. Then Alex talked about her trip to Cairns and how even though she was there just a week, she did a lot of activities such as rafting, surfing and skydiving. I asked her how she liked the skydiving and she said she loved it. She said she skydived over a place called Meadow Beach and said it was gorgeous because she landed on a beach after flying over the Great Barrier Reef.


Around that time Kim came into the kitchen and began telling us how she had melted her ear wax the night before while sitting too close to the fire. She said she had tried to dig out the wax with a Q-tip but the wax went deeper into her ear and now she couldn't hear at all out of the left side of her head. We talked about this for a while until the door rang and a customer came in. I waited around a bit until Yollana handed me the order. It was two fish and chips, two King George Whiting Burgers and one fish sandwich. At the bottom of the order she had scribbled “Shiraz x5.”


I called out the order to Alex and Kim who quickly began frying things and then I got busy finding five wine glasses that matched. I had to crawl up on the cabinet and look through two shelves but eventually I found four that matched and one that looked similar. I stopped cold when I held the glasses up to the light. They were speckled with water spots and a little bit of something greasy. Wine was one thing I didn't cut corners on. I had learned bartending that you always want a spotless wine glass for customers. The first thing real wine drinkers do is hold their glass up to the light. If the glass is dirty it is a big turn off and can sometimes cause a lot more work for the waitress or bartender. I went to the sink with my five glasses and rewashed and hand dried each glass. I then patted down the glasses with a paper towel to make sure they were good and shiny.


After finding a fresh bottle of Shiraz I picked up a tray and headed for table eleven. After serving the wine to some nice customers I walked back through the kitchen and saw that Kim and Alex had everything taken care of so I headed back to the hostel for a quick lunch.