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Janet Shinings

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Lesson Two
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 To Earn A Living (OPEN)

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PostSubject: To Earn A Living (OPEN)   Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:55 pm

Mei Xin sighed as she entered the Leaky Cauldron and headed automatically to the back of the shop to change into her uniform and apron. It was the summer holidays and she was stuck working here instead of being back home with her friends and family all because her parents were too kiam siap to pay for an plane ticket. It was probably their form of showing how unsupportive they were of her magical abilities.[Kiam siap: Hokkien meaning 'stingy']

Since she couldn't stay at Hogwarts during the holidays and neither could she go home, she'd been forced to ask one of the other waitresses permission to crash at her minuscule apartment which meant, instead of taking leave from her job for the holidays, she had to continue working to feed herself - because her parents would not give her an allowance.

Mei Xin huffed as she changed into her uniform and clocked in - yet another thing she had to get used to working in this pub. She was used to waiting tables, taking orders, serving food and having instructions yelled at her every which way while avoiding crashing into other waiters navigating the tables. All that came from working in her father's kopitiam which she learned was a more stressful environment than The Leaky Cauldron. But at least in her father's shop, she didn't have to wear a uniform.
[Kopitiam: literally translated into 'coffee shop' although it has a ton of different stalls selling all kinds of food and not only coffee.]

She nodded and smiled at a few of her fellow staff members as she grabbed her notepad and pencil, stuffing them into her apron pockets and heading into the crowd of customers. Mei Xin was an efficient and fluid worker, this job like second nature to her and sup sup sui after the many years of working under extreme pressure in her father's shop.[Sup sup sui: a Cantonese phrase to describe something very very easy to do.]

After an hour, it was her turn for a short break and she gave her legs a rest - though they didn't really need one since she was used to walking hours on end without a rest - sitting down on an empty stool beside the bar. She had a glass of orange juice in her hand and let her eyes wander, content to people watch until it was time for her to get back to work.
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PostSubject: Re: To Earn A Living (OPEN)   Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:00 pm

Lately, Adelaide often found herself hanging out at Diagon Alley. Since her brother was always busy working at the Ministry of Magic, Adelaide had to find ways to entertain herself in London, and her daily visits to Diagon Alley proved to be quite refreshing due to the excitement in the air. The school year had just ended, and students were free to do as they pleased, as long as it wasn't anything illegal.

Her family used to leave the country every summer. Before her fourth year in Hogwarts, they had gone on a tour around Southeast Asia. Her mother wanted to sample Vietnamese, Thai and Malaysian cuisine, and her father took the opportunity to meet with some department heads from the other countries' ministries. Unfortunately, the deadly virus which came from Africa made travelling quite a dangerous option, and so the Cassans opted to stay in Ireland this summer. Since Addie rarely got to spend time with Raffaele, she decided to stay with him in his London flat.

It seemed like a great idea at first. She would find something to do in London, maybe join a sports club or something, and then in the evening she and Raffaele would watch football games together or visit museums and discuss archaeology. It could've been a great sibling bonding holiday, were it not for the ridiculous amount of work the ministry was giving Raffaele. Though she understood her brother, she also couldn't help but feel resentful for being neglected.

Despite the fresh faces she saw everyday in Diagon Alley, she knew that the place would soon get old. The crowds would thin out eventually until Adelaide would find herself to be one of the few poor souls at Florean Fortescue's, eating ice cream in her lonesome while everyone else went off to another city or country.

She needed to do something. Perhaps she should have gone home after all and helped at her mother's ristorante. She could've at least improved her cooking skills and learned new recipes. It was too late to sign up for sports clubs, anyway—by the time a sport caught Adelaide's interest, the slots were already full, and those which were still open weren't exactly the sort of sports Addie liked.

As she passed by the Leaky Cauldron before going back to muggle London, she decided to have a drink and maybe a sandwich when she noticed an Asian girl sitting by the bar. She knew the girl by face—if she remembered correctly, she was one of those new Asian kids who had to move to Hogwarts as upperclassmen instead of starting as First Years. With a smile, she approached the girl. 'Hi. I hope you don't mind if I take this seat,' she said, motioning to the empty stool beside the girl. 'I'm Adelaide. I go to Hogwarts too.'
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PostSubject: Re: To Earn A Living (OPEN)   Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:56 pm

People watching was an enjoyable pastime for Mei Xin and it became even more interesting here in the UK since the culture was so different than what she was used to. For example, back home in Malaysia, there would be boisterous conversation and raucous laughter booming from each table, especially during large Chinese gatherings. But here, though collectively loud, each individual table had a moderate noise volume. Even the way they greeted each other and carried on a conversation was different.

It was fascinating to watch the kwai lows interact with each other and compare them to the culture she was used to. A few of their social norms puzzled her though, like why they did not fight to pay the bill and settled it nicely. Back home, whenever she and her mother went out with her mother's friends, they would always fight to pay the bill because it was the polite thing to do even though they might not actually want to spend the money. But here, they seem to settle it amicably, splitting the bill evenly or each paying for what they consumed. It was altogether strange yet captivating.

It made her miss home and wish she was spending the summer back in Penang with her asam laksa and har mee. A couple of months had passed since she was transferred to this school and though she'd adapted and adjusted the best she could, she still missed home sometimes. Having a friend and Malaysian buddy in Chee Wye helped alleviate her homesickness though and she thoroughly enjoyed the time she spent with him.

And, being so far from home decreased the amount of conversation she had with her parents because of the different time zones. It reduced her stress level greatly and she found it amusing that in every letter they wrote, they included a warning to never get in a relationship with a westerner. She was only allowed to date Chinese guys; anybody else was forbidden.

So engrossed was she in her thoughts that Mei Xin didn't notice someone approaching her. It wasn't until the girl spoke that Mei Xin brought herself back to the present. She recognised the girl from school but had yet officially interact with her and get to know her.

"Sure, sure! Nobody sitting here wan," she replied with a smile and  moved her head in the direction of the chair. "Adelaide? Like the Australian city, hor? I'm Mei Xin," she continued. Mei Xin found it challenging to remember westerners' names and found it helpful to associate their name with something else.

"Eh, ya lor! I got see you around before," she responded. "You want drink anot? I can get you discount."


[[OOC: Let me know if you need translations Smile]]
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PostSubject: Re: To Earn A Living (OPEN)   Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:02 am

'Mei Xin.' Adelaide slowly pronounced the name in an attempt to copy the girl's intonation. She had never studied Asian languages, but she knew one always had to be careful with their pronunciation lest they ended up saying something else. That rule also applied to Irish and French, after all. 'Mei Xin. Am I saying it right?' She knew her intonation wasn't perfect, but she hoped it was close enough to the proper pronunciation of the girl's name.

She wasn't actually sure why her parents had named her 'Adelaide'. All she knew was that it wasn't because of the Australian city, since her parents didn't seem like they were obsessed with the country down under. Still, she figured it was just best to say yes to Mei Xin, since she shared the same spelling as the city's name anyway. Besides, it wasn't as if she was named after a serial killer.

'Yes, Adelaide, like the city,' she said as she took a seat, 'but you may call me Addie if you want. Most people do. And sure, really cold Butterbeer would be great.' She paused for awhile before she realised how Mei Xin had said 'discount'. 'A discount? Oh... you work here?'

The Leaky Cauldron had never really seemed like a summer job place for Addie, but she supposed it made sense, given the convenience of its location. Upon catching the bartender's attention, she ordered a Butterbeer and a roast beef sandwich. The one sad thing about staying in London was that she didn't get to eat her mother's Michelin-worthy Italian food. Turning to Mei Xin, she asked, 'Would you like a sandwich as well? It's on me.'

Treating people to food was something her family always valued. In the UK, where most people paid for their own food and kept it to themselves, her Gryffindor friends often found it strange how she always offered to share her food and even cook for her friends. What they didn't know was that her mother had raised her to believe in feeding friends and family good food in order to keep them healthy. Then again, most of her friends didn't know that she was half-Italian, and that at home, her parents, especially her mother, peppered their English with random Italian words.

Perhaps that was why she could relate with the new Asian kids, in a way—they had customs most English people did not understand, and their knowledge of more than one language gave them a habit of speaking in a pidgin language. 'If I may ask, where are you from? And how do you like Hogwarts and the UK so far?'
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PostSubject: Re: To Earn A Living (OPEN)   Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:43 am

Mei Xin grinned as Adelaide repeated her name. It was funny to hear the gwai lows pronounce Chinese names but she knew not to laugh at them since she, in return, found it difficult to remember their Western names. At the question, her grin widened and she put her hand out, palm down, and tilted it left to right.

"Boleh tahan lah," she replied. A few seconds later she realised what she'd said and a blush crept up her cheeks. It hadn't been the first time her mouth worked before her brain and she spoke in Manglish to the people around her only for them to look at her blankly. She would then have to repeat herself and try her best to explain what she'd just said.
[Boleh tahan: tolerable]

'Eh, sorry ah," she said, embarrassed at her slip up. "I forgot and spoke in different language. I meant - how to say in English ah? - er, I meant you said it okay lah. Can pass." She decided to stop talking before she embarrassed herself even further. She could already feel the heat rising in her cheeks and hoped to goodness that the dim lighting in the pub hid it.

Mei Xin furrowed her eyebrows at what Adelaide asked to be called. She was too pai seh [shy/embarrassed] to say what was on her mind but just couldn't resist asking the question. "No offense ah but Eddie is guy's name right?" She really hoped that Adelaide did not take offense at her question because she really needed some friends in this foreign country and if Adelaide was put off by her question, Mei Xin would have lost a potential friend.

She nodded and gestured to her uniform. "Ya. I work here to earn money," she replied, "and I can get discount for people with me." It was a perk that came with the job and also one of the reasons she took it. She thought it was a good way to make friends by being able to get them a discount on food since that was the one thing everybody needed.

Mei Xin shook her head at Adelaide's offer. "No need lah. I got one meal free every shift wan but I usually cook my own food and bring here," she replied, refraining from mentioning that she sometimes found the western food to be rather jelak and preferred to be able to cook her own spicy food.

She eyes lit up at Adelaide's question. Mei Xin loved talking about her country - but not the government - to other people. "I'm from Penang, Malaysia. Very nice there wan. Got beach and the best food," she replied. "UK is okay lah. Still getting used to all the different things lor. But nice la."
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PostSubject: Re: To Earn A Living (OPEN)   Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:44 am

Adelaide didn't quite understand what Mei Xin had said, but she figured the grin on Mei Xin's face meant that her pronunciation was okay at least. She grinned back, happy to discover that Mei Xin was nice and friendly. Upon hearing Mei Xin's translation, Adelaide nodded and tried to repeat what she had said. 'Bole tahan lah. I'll keep it in mind in case I'm asked to describe the Slytherin Quidditch team,' she chuckled.

When Mei Xin made the comment on 'Eddie' being a guy's name, she couldn't help but smile. She had completely forgotten how Addie was a nickname that did sound quite a bit androgynous. It was why she liked it so much, and why she often preferred to be called Addie over Adelaide. 'Well, mine is Ah-ddie, with an A,' she replied, 'If you're not used to it, though, I don't mind being called Adelaide. And don't worry, it's not an offensive question at all.'

It was only when Addie took a better look at Mei Xin that she realised the girl was actually wearing a waitress uniform. She nodded as Mei Xin talked about her job and the free meal she gets from it. The Leaky Cauldron food was just so-so, but since it was relatively cheap, Addie couldn't really complain. It wasn't like the wizarding world had Michelin stars, anyway.

The thought of food quality in the wizarding world made Addie wonder if maybe, instead of working at Sant'Angelo, she could try her hand at working at The Leaky Cauldron. She could get the main cook to try her innovations and see if he was interested in adding them to the menu. And perhaps, with Mei Xin's help, she could learn about Asian cuisine too. There were a lot of things she could learn from the experience.

She hoped her mamma wouldn't mind. Sant'Angelo was doing well, anyway, and besides, she believed she wouldn't truly grow if she confined herself to learning from one place. Perhaps she could even get Felipe to cook at The Leaky Cauldron with her, although she doubted her brother would be interested in a cooking job outside of Sant'Angelo. He may seem cold, but Addie knew just how loyal he was to the family restaurant.

'I think it's great how you're working here,'
she said enthusiastically. 'Do you think they'd mind having an assistant cook? I don't even need that much pay, just a learning experience. I love cooking, you see.' As if on cue, her Butterbeer and roast beef sandwich arrived. She could tell how the roast beef was left in the oven a minute too late. The beef also smelled bit too peppery for her taste. 'I'm not as good as my brother, but I know how this sandwich can be improved.'

Mei Xin talking enthusiastically about her home country made Addie smile. She must miss her home country so much, especially since it was so far away. Adelaide could also definitely relate with adjusting to the UK and its culture, since she grew up in a very Italian-Irish family in Dundalk. 'I've never been to Malaysia,' she replied, 'but it sounds like an amazing place. How are your food and beaches like?
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PostSubject: Re: To Earn A Living (OPEN)   Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:13 am

Mei Xin chuckled at Addie's comment about the Slytherin Quidditch team. "Eh, better not let them hear you, okay? If not...si liow," she responded then realised she'd done it again and added quickly, "Die already." The Slytherins were a group of people she usually avoided. She couldn't make heads or tails of them and decided to be on the safe side by not going near them at all and stayed with her own house instead.

"Ohh," Mei Xin said in understanding at her explanation of the name. "Neh-mine, neh-mine. Addie is nice," she said with a smile. It would be interesting - and somewhat fun - to tell her parents she'd made friends with Addie and have them freak out thinking it was a boy. Though it was amusing at first, she soon became tired of the constant warnings not to get involved in a relationship with a westerner and to find a Malaysian boy instead. Playing this Joke on them might shake them up a little and give her some fun too. Then again, it might only result in more nagging from them. Even the distance between them couldn't stop her parents from interfering with her life.
[Neh-mine: never mind]

"Oh, sure they want assistant cook wan," she responded to Addie's question. The head cook had been looking for another assistant cook to fill the space created when one of them resigned. "Got place available I think. I can recommend you to the chef," she offered, then, afraid that Addie would think Mei Xin was pushing her, quickly added, "Only if you want lah."

At the mention of Addie loving to cook, Mei Xin's eyes lit up. "Eh! I also love to cook! One day I must cook Malaysian food for you. Very nice wan. Eh you can eat spicy anot?" she asked. Cooking for one was always difficult. How was one supposed to cook chicken rendang with only a drumstick or thigh? Sure, she cooked for Chee Wye too but then two still wasn't that very many to enjoy a real meal.

Mei Xin laughed heartily when Addie spoke of improvements to the sandwich. The pub's sub par food was one of the reasons Mei Xin brought her own food whenever she was on shift. She leaned towards Addie. "I think all their food can improve," she spoke in a whisper so the other staff wouldn't over hear. Then it dawned on her what Addie said about her brother. "Eh? Your brother can cook?" she asked, her tone full of surprise. Sure, there were many Malaysian men who knew how to cook - some were even chefs in restaurants - but the general thinking was that cooking was for females.

She grinned at Addie's question about Malaysia. "You should visit sometime. Very hot weather wan but the food is syok-syok," she replied. "Must eat spicy then only nice." The part about beaches made her paused for a short while. "Actually hor, the beaches, in Penang lah, not very clean wan. Unless you go Batu Ferringhi lah. Then cleaner and nicer."
[syok: superlatively good.]
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