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My way to make money with Martin Lamberts Löwenbrück

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As bills don’t pay themselves an income is required, some obtain it by working for a wage, others by starting up their own business and some are so talented that they can make an income out of their hobby. In the Weekly column ‘My way to make money’ we interview a student or a university employee about their job or business and ask them questions about how they experience their work.

This week we interview a student about his summer job as a waiter in the States. Martin Lamberts Lowenbruck is a 23 year old student in the second year of the European Studies program. Born and raised in the USA, he holds a German passport due to his German parents. His German ancestry was one of the reasons that triggered his interest in Europe and come to Maastricht for his studies.

My job…
I work as a ‘waitstaff’ of a seaside restaurant named Jackie’s Too in Ogunquit, Maine, USA. Opened in the 60’s, the restaurant now serves as a tourist attraction for Americans and French Canadians alike, serving both lunch and dinner every day, all year-round. I’ve been working summers at Jackie’s restaurant since 2012, and was fortunate enough to have the opportunity of returning this summer for work, albeit for only a short time, as my work schedule in the Netherlands requires my return.

I like my job because…
I enjoy working at Jackie’s too for several reasons, not least of which is the beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean over Perkin’s Cove. The restaurant is located directly on the shore, with only a few metres between the waves and the restaurant veranda during high tide. The smell of the cold ocean on a warm morning is one of life’s simple pleasures. The ocean has always been close to home.

A regular day looks like…
I spend about 6 hours a day, 5 days a week at the restaurant. Starting work at 10:00 means I usually leave work between 4 and 5 PM, depending on how busy the day was. With tips for excellent service included, you can expect to earn around $120 to $170 for 6 hours of work, making $20 per hour isn’t bad.

The thing that makes the job hard…
The hardest part of the job, as in all realms of the service industry, are terrible customers. These very patrons, however, can be what makes the job great. Working busy hours and running food on a 100º day will certainly run you down, especially when a customer heckles for minutes at a time over simple things like water or napkins. Despite shortcomings and unpleasant guests, however, good service is usually rewarded with a good tip, unless you’re serving Canadians. The French Canadians, in keeping with good European tradition, generally do not tip the server, assuming it is already included in the bill. If lucky, I can expect a 5% tip from even the sweetest Canadians; they simply don’t understand customs, despite returning every year. The reason tips are such a big deal for the service industry in the USA is because of the low wages servers receive. Servers do not qualify for minimum wage (around $8.00), because they generally receive tips. When the tips are not received, servers essentially work for free.

The job gives me…
Apart from the location, the rest of the waitstaff is comprised of people from all over the world. Having become acquainted with numerous international employees from Eastern Europe last year, I have now had the pleasure of getting to know a few South Africans, Jamaicans, and seasonal workers. The international and cultural exposure that this job has to offer was one of the hidden gems of working in Ogunquit. People rarely realise how much of the tourist industry in Maine survives off the work of young aspiring guest workers. The cultural and worldly experience gained by the locals is just an added benefit.

I didn’t expect the job to be…
as stressful as it is sometimes. Nevertheless, I also didn’t expect the job to be so rewarding. As a server, it’s important to have the ability to sell yourself. The server’s ability to give the customer a nice experience is the fulcrum on which earnings turn. This line of work certainly puts more responsibility on the server for good wages.

Later in life I’ll…
not work in the restaurant industry. It is certainly a high-stress job and teases one’s patience. It’s ideal for young and energetic people who need something to do for a summer. For the seasoned employees, I have nothing but respect, as they toil daily in one of the harder industries. These people serve others when they are not working. I aspire a career in journalism or maybe life will surprise me.

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So there you told

There is that one culture I came to know here, that one culture that I will probably hold in my heart forever. They taught me that the literal translation of “aí cê falou” is ‘there you told’ and that you use it when something is very nice (therefore the title of this blog). They’re part of probably the nicest memories of my exchange period. And I’ll give you some examples 🙂

Let’s start with going to a house party where you don’t know anyone except for the one or two people that invited you. Where everyone stares at you when you come in. Where everyone is from the same country but not yours. Where everyone speaks a language you don’t understand. But losing your insecurity after seconds because people are so warm and welcoming and start talking to you straight away.

Making friends so easily and not having the feeling that it’s just superficial, but feeling a bond and getting the feeling you’ve known them for ages, because they are all so incredibly easygoing, loving, open and interested.

Listening to their sertanejo and hearing stories about their country, their culture and their people that make you feel as if you’re almost there.

Spending more than a week every night at their place while getting drunk, playing guitar, singing songs, smoking shisha and being knocked down by marihuana they had put in it without telling anyone, and enjoying and appreciating how they come up with a bet to not speak their language so you can understand them. And feeling like a superstar when you’re singing songs for them in their language because of getting the best cheering you could ever get.

Being surprised over and over again by their warmth, their kindness, their passion, their generosity, their positive energy, their friendliness, their juggling skills, their guitar skills, their enthusiasm, their ease and their hospitality.

Being a witness of when they see, touch and play with snow for the first time in their life, seeing their overexcited facebook posts and photos about it and being there when they skate on ice for the first time in their life.

Loving the typical mistakes in English they make, the literal translations, using ‘in’ as standard preposition, trying their best to improve their English while most of them only just started learning it and ending up teaching me some new English words. So so.

Loving how unfussed they are about using each other’s cutlery and glasses, taking bites of each other’s food, loving their food, loving their drinks and not being able to wait until you get to their country to try even more of their delicacies.

Learning more Portuguese than French while being in a province where French is the main language, trying to use the Portuguese swearing as appropriately and as often as possible and making everyone laugh when doing it.

Being treated as if you’re one of them while you’re the only one from another country, making you feel as if you’re a part of them even though you can only sing songs and swear in their language, that’s something only they could do, and it’s probably one of the best things that could ever happen to you.

I’m so incredibly thankful that I got to know all of you and I’m going to miss you like hell when I’m back home.
Aí cê falou. Eu amo vocês, meus Brasileiros!

Ice Skating

How not to have success with girls PART II

LORD I was surprised by how many people actually read the first part of this! I posted it and expected/hoped that maybe five people would read it, but seriously, I’m impressed! And of course a big thank you! I planned on writing a second part anyway, but since so many people said “write another one!”, I may as well just do it now. I hope you will enjoy this one at least as much as the first one! Read more

Of tataholics, hairy men and French poetry- International Comedy Night@Kumulus Theater

There were a Brit, a Canadian and a Frenchman…sounds like the beginning of a joke and in some way it was.

We are talking about the International Comedy Night organised by Studium Generale as:

“An express delivery straight from the UK carrying three comedians, each of them infamous for his own type of good old British humor” Read more