When Life Hands You a Food Truck

This past week, I arrived back in Taupo after a 3 week whirlwind tour with my wonderful parents.  And of course the second I arrived, threw my backpack down, and got a good night’s sleep, I began to wonder, “Okay…what now?”

The plan at the moment was to get a job in Taupo, spend the winter earning some money (yes, I know I said no income, but we’ll get into that change of plans in a later post), and then venture forth in the spring to conquer the rest of Kiwi Country.  No problem!  Time to pound some pavement and knock on some doors.

I was hoping to get a job in a cafe to appease the part of me that considers sleeping in past 8 am a waste of time.  New Zealand seems to work in mysterious ways though.  As I was making my rounds saying hello to friends I’d made during my first couple of stints in Taupo, the universe handed me a surprise in the form of a food truck.

As I explained my job-hunting plans to one of my hostel buddies, Jess, I heard a kiwi accent call from across the kitchen, “Hey, you looking for a job?”  I’ve been told that I am in fact a loud American despite believing myself to be a quiet, mild-mannered person.  Perhaps this is true because it turns out I had been broadcasting my unemployment to the entire hostel kitchen.

Lucky for me, this grand announcement seemed to work in my favor!  After a bit of negotiation and a free pancake breakfast from Sy, my newest friend/ boss, I had a job for the weekend with Super Natural Foods.  It turned out that Taupo was having a winter festival and Sy was taking his food truck there in hopes of enticing the crowd with some tasty burgers.

It was a relatively easy interview:

Sy: “Do you have customer service experience?”

Me: “Yes.”

Sy: “Ever worked in a kitchen?”

Me: “Uh…no…”

Jess: “She bakes amazing cakes though!”

Sy: “Okay no worries.  Sounds good!”

Easy as pie!  I spent a chunk of the next day peeling carrots and cleaning the truck out.  While in some ways it seems silly to go to a foreign country just to work rather than explore, it was such a relief to have something to do with my time!  And it was a blast talking to Sy about the food industry and his travels around the world.  I couldn’t help but fall in love with the truck with all of its psychedelic pinwheels and paper lanterns.

Unfortunately, not everything can go the way you plan.  We had been hoping for a good turn out with the festival crowd, but due to the arrival of a cheap sausage stand, the customers came in at a trickle.  Sy and I decided there was no point in him paying me to sit an twiddle my thumbs, so I headed off to enjoy the sunshine.  It was a shame, because his burgers were fantastic!

Still, it was a fun, spontaneous experience.  And I still earned enough to pay for a week at the hostel!  You just never know what will happen when you put yourself out there!  So I supposed my new job searching method will involve announcing to everyone I meet that I’m unemployed.   We’ll see how far that gets me!

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