"Coming to America", Russian edition

Working in a restaurant business absolutely amazes me! One second, you are dealing with the server, who is complaining that opening side work was not done, while sitting down on the milk crate and playing on his phone, next thing you know, you have to run and deal with the customer, who is screaming that his evening is ruined because we didn’t give him free dessert for his second cousin’s adopted son dating anniversary, and we need to pay for his entire dinner. What??!! Where the world is going??!!

That’s where this blog was born.

Why are you starting this blog you would ask? Answer is simple: to bring you smile and laughter, take stress away after crazy day at work…and hopefully to pass alone some advice I wish I would have…

What is my blog about? My life story, hilarious situations, “crazy” employees of the restaurants and of course restaurant patrons, who never fails to surprise us, makes us laugh or make our skin boil… Basically, everything I encountered while working in hospitality for over a decade.

 If it will bring one smile to your face, I will consider this blog a success!

I never pictured myself working in the restaurant, wine business or hospitality in general.

 Studying for business administration in Russia I tried few jobs including working in a soccer club, which was probably by far my favorite job. I had chances to meet celebrity soccer players, CEOs of the clubs and famous commentators. Job was a lot of fun, included traveling with the club, and I was meeting new people every day.

I saw myself working for big manufacture in a future, having a desk job, 9 to 5, etc.

Everything changed in 2004…

One day, gentleman walked in to one of our classes at my University, and wanted to discuss opportunity of traveling to US as an exchange student. I was very intrigued as I’ve always been fascinated by this wonderful country, but I knew, that my family couldn't afford such an expense.

After I mentioned it to my parents, my mom said that she will do whatever it takes to send me there, as she knew it would be amazing opportunity for me to see the world, learn the language and acquire necessary life skills by living on my own. Little did she know… I was 19 years of age and hungry for this crazy opportunity.

After few failed interviews (I sucked in English…actually still do…can’t you tell it by my grammar?) and another year of trying, I finally got lucky and received my visa to go to the United States! Great job Mr. Council by giving student visa to the guy, who’s answer to the question: “What is the purpose of your visit to US?” was “thank you very much!”. He just shook his head and stamped my passport…

I said good bye to my family and in May of 2005 and was on the plane to the United States (I was a little pissed off that flight attendants didn’t speak any Russian…)

I arrived in Brooklyn, NY and after spending couple of months there, decided that I need to move on. All my new Russian “friends” were trying to help me in finding job and place to live… So sweet of them… Not sure why they keep calling themselves my friends as in Russia we had another word for them – “banditi”or gangsters and they certainly did not work for charity… I would have to repay every “favor” they did for me. After couple of months I decided that is time to move on and join some people I flew in with on their journey to sunny Florida.

Here comes big mistake number one… Choosing Greyhound bus ride instead of flying on JetBlue to save $20… Who does it??? Obviously, me and about 50 other people on this bus… But there will be another time for this story…

After couple of days on the “bus”(If Frontier Airlines would own bus line, it would be Greyhound) I was in Orlando and that’s where real adventure began… I literally felt like a main character of “Coming to America” with Eddie Murphy, just without royal family behind me…

After leaving my “friends” in Brooklyn, I found myself working for new “friends” in Orlando. My jobs included bakery ($5 in hour under the table, surrounded people on parole or with criminal history, who couldn’t find another job), construction and hotel laundry.

That’s where I decided enough is enough. I left that company and found myself applying at local theme park. My first encounter with true hospitality…

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