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September 20, 2005

Care For a Pot Pie?


[Featuring here is the famous-finger-licking-good-to-the-last-crumb pot pie from the Carvery at Purdue's Union Market. With Social Security Card about to be issued in less than 2 weeks' time, I'm now unofficially part of Purdue workforce!! 3 shifts were more than enough to make certain opinions change; it was a potpourri of warmth yet disdained realization.]

Today's my 3rd shift working in Purdue's Union Market (the eatery where many types of food are sold ie. oriental and occidental style food). I am working in the Carvery and my job involves carving meat (duh!).

I took a winding path before arriving at the decision to work in the food service department. At first my ambitious heart drove me to apply for lab assistant and co-researcher (without any experience, mind, and it's like trying to drive without license) but letters of rejection came flooding in lol.. Maybe I set my target too high, maybe not, but this triggered hormone imbalance; my serotonin level can only be pulled back to normal when I got a job. It's not the money that i yearn, it's the experience. When I first got the job serving food in Union Market, my Mum was quite unsatisfied. Pure labor work she said. But don't worry Ma, I'm doing fine at my work place. In fact, I learnt different things that can't never be learnt through classrooms and lecture halls.

Lesson #1 : Etiquette

Well, to those who know me well, I'm an introvert who rarely makes the initiative to start conversation with anyone unless necessary. Well, this job's nature demands a totally opposite characteristic. So, I started talking more to people around me, not just the customers. It's just the 3rd shift and I already felt that I'm part of the big family. The people working in the Union Market are soo friendly. The chefs, the supervisors, the dish washers, the food serving team, everyone mingles around without social barriers. I was frequently poked by big chef Ross whenever he walks around refilling food; fellow colleague Osama from Pakistan keeps talking about how his name become famous after 9/11 incident; fast food Ken practises chinese conversation with anyone interested in talking with him (he's taking Chinese lesson, quite proud of that ;) It is a lively crowd. And I'm learning as well as making new friends.

Lesson #2 : Food for Thought

I love every part of my job, except the last hour: the time when we have to close the counters. Little of the leftovers for the day is kept, whereas the rest are all thrown away. This is what I disdained most. Well, you'll never realize that an eatery can generate so many garbage in the form of edible food until you are part of it. It's so wasteful. I remember asking my supervisor on the first day of my job: 'Ms. Morris, what are we going to do with the leftovers?' She just waved her hand and replied, 'Throw all away.' I was actually horrified. In a querry with colleague Sherma, she said that it's like that every day, can't help it, even though those children in Africa are hungry and everything.. Sigh, I really wish someone will take notice of this food wastage.. Prolly can give leftovers to the homeless or someone else in need rather than just chuck them into garbage bin.

heyhey, I'm not complaining much: every day is different in many ways. Hope that everything runs smoothly until I switch to another job next semester.

If there's any biology professor surfing around and drop by here, please reserve a place in your lab for me next sem ok? Arigato kozaiyamas!

Posted by peixin at 08:44 AM | Comments (1)

September 10, 2005

Story of a Vege cutter


[This was taken in Pulau Besar where I had the final hiatus with my family. That's my elder brother (Zhi 'The Zach' Xin haha) behind. He's going to City University this coming Friday. The cute and fair little boy in front is my youngest brother, Han 'Solo' Xin (Favourite pastime: pretending he's a jedi knight zapping lightsabers at enemies)]

It's official: I've assumed the post of vege cutter for apartment #190. It's a demanding task; I never knew it would be so hard to shred cabbages, onions and garlic evenly and steadily with a cutting knife. My mum made it look really like a puny task but it is not. I'm starting to appreciate her more and more ;)

My world seems to revolve aroung vege lately. During the first week of my stay in West Lafayette, I faced a shortage of vege in my meals. Everything the Houchins (native name for Lafayetters) eat comprises mainly of meat, potatoes, burgers and what not. Mind, West Lafayette is the main producer of corn for the state of Indiana, not those green lettuce and bak choy I can easily get from the backyard of my grandma's house.

Several trips to Walmart revealed the true nature of vege consumption here. It sells artichokes instead of kailan; eggplants instead of brinjals. Therea are lots of vege that I've never seen or heard before. In terms of vege, I don't really dare to venture out into the unknown. Conventional cauliflower, carrots and cabbage will do. But i still miss those green vege like fried kailan with garlic, bak choy with oyster sauce, spinach with sambal... *drools*

Recently I enrolled myself as a guinea pig in a 'fruit and vege' study. So basically I will be fed fruits and vege for a few weeks, then my body composition will be measured for the record. A few needle pricks, some healthy diet and $400 at the end of research. Simple as that. No? Well, I'll get to know about it next week when I start with the schedule...

Hello to chloroplasts =)

Posted by peixin at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)