I’m not sure how many of you read my last post, but whether you have or haven’t, let me bring you up to speed. So last week Saturday I had a great post written and ready. In my humble opinion, it was probably one of the best posts I’ve ever written. Unfortunately for me, my laptop had other ideas and decided to swallow my beautiful post into cyberspace. Never to be seen again. Sad right? So, I had to improvise and wrote a post that included a rather passionate rant about my ongoing battle with technology. Well, let me tell you that that battle has not yet ended … Last night my laptop and printer couldn’t seem to get along, so I spent well over an hour trying to print one page. One page I tell you. And now today my headphones have disappeared literally into thin air. So, to put it bluntly, this last week hasn’t been the smoothest sailing for me.
Putting all that agony aside, I did say that I would try and recreate my lost blog post because I genuinely did want to share that information with you, so here goes take two …
As I said earlier in the year, my plan to fill up my time waiting for university responses was to do a few short courses. Not the academic kind like I did last year, but more the skills/practical kind that I can use to enhance my CV and potentially help me get a student job. Now by looking at the title of this post, one wouldn’t think that caffeine and small children make a fantastic combination. Fear not. I did not take part in a mad experiment that involved injecting toddlers and children with caffeine. Oh no. What I ended up doing was an advanced child care and CPR/first aid course, and a professional barista course. You see, my logic was thinking about what student jobs I could potentially get when I go overseas to university and two of the best options that came up were waitressing (and/or becoming a barista) and being an au pair/babysitter. Not only are they relatively well-paying jobs, but I can adapt them to my university timetable. Hence, I decided to enrol in these two courses.
One thing that I really loved about these courses is they were only one day a week. This meant that I could still do my other part-time work to make an attempt at bringing in an income, and have an entire week to revise the material before the next class. Let me tell you though, I was never expecting these courses to be even half as fun as they were. I’ve always loved kids. I enjoy interacting with them, teaching them, playing with them and one of the degrees I’ve applied for is education. Even so, I didn’t think I would enjoy learning about taking care of infants and child-stimulation as much as I did. The coffee course though … wow. Just wow. I’m the type of person that will always choose tea when giving my hot beverage preference, much to the disapproval of most of my family and close friends. I can barely keep a straight face when drinking a cappuccino, let alone an espresso. The only time I ever resort to drinking coffee is when I know that I could do with an extra hit of caffeine to carry me through an evening of work. So you can imagine my surprise when tea-loving me went through three full days of drinking coffee and didn’t feel disgusted or repulsed once. I drank coffee in its purest, most potent form and didn’t feel the need to pull a face.
So, what the heck did I go through on these courses to keep me interested in wanting to work with kids and turning me from someone who brings my own teabag into a café into someone who will actually order a drink not just for the caffeine hit? The advanced child care course covered an incredible range of material. We started with the basics of looking after infants, toddlers and young children (such as feeding, cleaning, playtime etc.) and while most of it made logical sense, I did not know that there were so many intricacies to looking after children. No wonder new parents look so stressed out! Next, we learnt all about stimulation and lastly, did full CPR and first aid training when it comes to infants and children. I’ve done first aid courses before but doing first aid or CPR on children is always a bit more nerve-wracking for me as they are so much more fragile than adults.
Anywho, despite knowing most of the material from previous experience and other training, I had so much fun going into it all on a deeper and more intricate level. For anyone looking to get an au pair or babysitting job, I highly recommend doing a course like this. Yes, most of it may seem logical and straightforward but doing a course gives you a lot more confidence when it comes to handling certain situations. And just a tip, the biggest secret to taking care of children successfully is preventing accidents from happening. You don’t need to stress as much about performing first aid if you’ve ensured that there is almost no way for the child to end up in that situation. Mary Poppins – I’m coming for your job. I may not have the carpetbag or magical powers, but I have mastered the rest!
Now, for the barista course. Let me put it out there that I don’t think I have ever consumed so much coffee in my life. Three days may not sound like a lot, but when you spend a majority of those three days making coffee, you tend to drink a substantial amount of what you produce. I also did not know how intricate and complex coffee as a drink was. Of course, I knew about coffee beans, roasting and the basics of how beans become the much-loved drink that people consume by the gallon every morning, but I didn’t realise that it was borderline scientific. For anyone who enjoys coffee, or simply wants to learn more about the drink, then a course like this is a must! We started off learning about the history of coffee and how it goes from being a bright red fruit (called a cherry) to the dark roasted beans people love so much.
We then learnt about the basics of making espresso and my goodness I did not expect it to be so complicated. We have a coffee machine at home, and all my parents need to do to get an espresso is to press a button. Yes, the process of making it in a café is a bit more complicated, but I did not know that there is a formula for brewing the perfect espresso. According to said formula, your ground weight needs to correspond with your espresso weight, which needs to be produced within 20-30 seconds so that you end up with the right ratio to get the perfect balance between body, acidity and flavour. Whew! At first, I may have thought it was a bit pretentious, but after following the formula myself and tasting a few different cups, man do you appreciate a perfectly brewed espresso.
Once we got the basics of the espresso, we moved on to menu drinks (because the espresso is really the base of most other drinks in a café) and the different methods for brewing coffee. I learnt how to texture and steam milk, attempted some very rudimentary foam art, and got to serve customers in the café where we were doing our course. It was more fun than I ever expected it to be, even though I did burn my hand more than once on the milk jug while steaming. That thing gets hot far faster than you realise until it’s too late and your hand is more toast than skin. Here is a fun fact that I learnt on this course: did you know that an espresso actually has the least caffeine out of all the brewing methods? If you’re looking for a cup of coffee that will give you the biggest hit of caffeine, you should actually be using a plunger/French press and having a cup of that.
At the end of the day, these courses were so much fun and definitely worth the price of admission. You certainly get your money’s worth in information, and if you’re someone who would appreciate learning about these two things, then they are enjoyable as well as informative. I know I only scratched the surface of what was covered in each course, but that was more to share with you all what I’ve been up to and that I’m definitely not sitting around in bed eating take-outs while waiting for university responses. If you’re interested in hearing more about what I learnt on these courses and maybe some more in-depth information on these two subjects, please let me know in the comments section! I really would love to hear from you all what you want to read and what type of things I can be writing that you would find most interesting. This blog post definitely wasn’t as fantastic as I first wrote it, but I hope that you still enjoyed reading it (blame my laptop that my witty, nuanced first version will never reach your screens). As always, please leave your thoughts, any suggestions for what you’d like to read and any other comments in the comments section, hit that little like button if you enjoyed today’s post and subscribe so that you don’t miss out on future posts about coffee, kids and everything else.
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx