The Last 48 Hours

The last 48 hours has been really dynamic and interesting for me. I woke up Friday thinking that if I don’t get work today, I’ll walk into the nearest supermarket and apply there. I really need something to stay afloat because I can’t go on like this much longer. My gardening activities have at least been helping me with damage control, as a day volunteering somewhere where I can harvest a yield means I won’t have to go to the supermarket for my meals. I was going to call my waiter job if they hadn’t contacted me but when I was at one of the gardens to volunteer, I got called by the agency as someone called in sick and they needed someone within two and a half hours. I figured I had time, so I skated home, ate something and got together my waiter clothes, then went to the office to get myself there early so I could change there and iron my clothes.

Being there early gave me all the time I needed to sort myself out. The general manager of the agency said my hair bun might be a problem at the 5-star hotel they were catering to, but after Whatsapping a picture of me with my hair as it was to the team leader, he said it would be fine and I was glad I could go out and earn some cash. People slowly started gathering and I eventually left with a bunch of people towards the hotel.

I’d worked there before, about 4 years ago now, and I felt good about being there. We were basically setting up for a surprise party for an executive of Total, one of the biggest state-independent oil companies of today. He was turning 60 I think. The party had a Moulin Rouge theme with all the works including dancers, live music all night and an open bar which our crew was tasked to set up and keep open until whenever the party was done. Our staff were all dressed up in red ties and black shirts, which I didn’t get a chance to take a selfie of, but here’s a panorama to give you an idea of everything:

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After setting everything up and having lunch in the room designated as the staff quarters, we went back up for briefing and task division. As this was happening and we were setting up the locations, the hotel’s manager told me to come with him and so I did, not knowing what to expect. He asked me to find my name on the list and wanted to cross it out and said that I was done with work for today… because of my hair. He didn’t seem to notice before, but all of a sudden, my hair bun was a no go and he refused to pay for my work hours. I directly notified my agency’s team leader to let him handle the situation instead. In the end, I stayed at work to help out behind the screens preparing plateaus with drinks. Although the hotel would not pay my salary, the agency assured me that they would.

I was a speed demon with drinks anyway. My colleague called me ‘Speedy Gonzales’. I was actually glad I was able to prepare drinks instead of walk around with heavy plateaus all night. Once I understood the system, it was also easier for me to communicate demands to others to facilitate the work we were doing. I worked at a comfortable high speed until they told me my shift was over. I was actually prepared to work longer than I did because I actually enjoyed tweaking the system and filling up orders. And I enjoyed having an excuse not to walk around with heavy plateaus. The workday lasted from 15:00 to 23:45 for me, with additional time before and after for traveling (about an hour) so it was a pretty long day, especially since I woke up at 6:30am that morning. I woke up at that time to do routine things like Kung Fu, Duolingo and my Iversity MOOC before heading to the gardens. My mornings have to be disciplined or my day falls apart. Although I make exceptions if I’m working my ass off the night before.

Saturday morning was relaxed. I slowly got my day started, and took my time with getting into my routine. Before I started with my Iversity course, I got called by the agency again for work that day since someone called in sick (again). I was still kind of knackered from the previous night, and I really wanted to work on myself before I worked for someone else again so I needed time. He needed me at 13:00, and I was prepared for 15:00, no earlier. He came back with 14:00 being a possibility but I stood my ground and lost my chance which I wasn’t at all displeased with actually, even though it might hamper my future ability to get called or planned in. So be it.

I spent that day finishing off my routine, and then longboarded to the city library to meet a friend. The city was really vibrant. I’d never seen so many longboarders in one day; usually I see a total of zero, but today I saw at least seven people with boards. It’s like a sign of spring when the good weather longboarders come out. Not just that, but there were people sitting outside in the sun on terraces, the market was buzzing… even the library was surprisingly full for a Saturday afternoon.

The library’s a great place to meet. It lets you be somewhat productive and there’s a mountain of interesting information and stories you can pick up and read. Although as I was pondering the weather and the crowds, I was thinking that the best time for busking would be now. I’ve really been trying to push myself to get out there more but its one part fear, and one part weather that’s been holding me back. Since weather wasn’t an excuse anymore, I couldn’t let this opportunity slip by so I said goodbye to my friend (who had to work on school things anyway) and I went home to get my saxophone.

I kind of felt hesitant when I got home but I didn’t let that feeling consume me. I let it go by not thinking about what I was doing, and just getting going with doing what I was going to do. I walked to a nice spot in Delfshaven and started setting up. As I was setting up, my sister’s boyfriend’s dad recognized me and said hello. I coincidentally just met him that morning since I brought him some stuff that he’d take to my sister’s and her boyfriend’s new home together. He was going back home after a day out with his wife and granddaughter, but waited for me to set up and play. I played ‘Take Five’ for them, and they were on their way again after my tune and a tip. I kept playing for a total of 20mins. My saxophone repertoire is pretty limited compared to guitar, but people were still giving me tips and giving me positive reactions. I earned about 5 euros in those 20mins. I like playing saxophone because you can play anything that comes to your head, songs or improvised. I need to work on the quality of my sound and finger work though, but practicing on the street has the added advantage of a potentially tipping audience.

When I got home, I made some soup for dinner and was preparing for a comedy sketch meetup I planned on Meetup.com. It was good that I came there, instead of accepting another catering event, otherwise there wouldn’t have really been a show up of anyone. We were 3 people in total which we coordinated to have 1 person behind the camera and the other 2 acting the sketch. The place we filmed in used to be a hotel, but was now being used by 2 artists so as to prevent squatters from taking over. It was really run down, but it had some potentially interesting film locations. I’m really looking forward to a zombie apocalypse clip we’re bound to do πŸ˜›

The sketches itself were fun. None of us had any preconceived idea about what we were going to do, except the guy who organized it, having prepared a green screen, some lighting and his camera. In terms of ideas however, it was pretty much a blank canvas. I suggested some kind of bar scene, since there was a bar in the room which could easily be used. It was fun experimenting with story lines and just coming up with the first bullshit that came in your mind. I’m also really glad that I found a group who does this in English since that is sort of my forte when it comes to acting, as that’s the language I’ve always practiced in. We did a few scenes here and then saw the videos back for evaluation. It was actually better than I expected, and good to see some of my own errors so I can pay more attention to them next time on set.

After this, we used the green screen to simulate a makeup studio and then a barber shop. This was also a fun scene for me, playing a supposedly Italian barber with a wild idea about fashionable hairstyles. I think there’s a lot more creativity that can be unleashed with this green screen but for a first-time practice run, I think we did alright. I had fun anyway πŸ™‚ Goran, the guy who organized the meetup and is also working as a photographer, is going to do some editing within the next few days and hopefully he’ll share some results with us soon.

I got back home after this and just had to type up my story of the last 48 hours. It’s been a blast. Tomorrow I’ve got a Game of Thrones board game day as well, which is a game which supposedly takes 5 hours to play, especially with a full party of 6 players. Looking forward πŸ™‚

It’s been really good to live where I am actually. I live in an awesome location of Rotterdam for a budget price. Probably the best location I’ve lived in in all of Rotterdam. It’s also all these good things that are coming at me now like gardening, music, acting and warmer days which keep me alive and excited. I’ve also become more social in the sense that I now care more about relationships, communities and relationships with communities. I think gardening has really solidified that kind of thinking within me as garden relationships are very reflective of people relationships. I could explain that in more detail but I’d rather suggest you get into the garden yourself and you’ll get what I mean πŸ˜‰

Hope you enjoyed the read and until next time.

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