241. A literal Cheeseburger

In part two of the episode where I caved and ate at McDonald’s, despite originally forbidding myself to have McDonald’s over new, local food experiences, I managed to salvage the whole event by sampling the strangest McDonald’s menu item I have ever seen: a burger, where the patty is literally entirely made of cheese.

We managed to convince the hungry vegetarian of the group that he had to try it, complete with giggly faces as we watched him tuck in to what we assumed was going to be pure filth.

As it turned out, it was (unsurprisingly) nothing like the picture, but (surprisingly) a whole lot better. The McSmazak is actually more like a haloumi patty, derived from popular czech delicacy Smažený sýr. Like anything with haloumi in it, it was actually pretty tasty, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone game enough to try it, so long as you don’t have cholesterol problems, as this bad boy is in the Double dDwn leagues as far as calories go!

240. Break my ‘No McDonalds’ Rule

Before heading to Europe I had a firm resolution to not eat at McDonald’s or any other such internationally shit food chain, and instead if I were to pay for a meal, it would be a new, local food experience.

I had had a few hiccups, but still I had not handed any of my own hard earned cash over a McDonald’s counter. This all went down the drain, however, in some random suburb on the outskirts of Prague. We found ourselves in a food-court  with a great selection of stodgy looking fast food, half of which I couldn’t even tell what it was; and a McDonald’s.

I bravely went for something exotic, and convinced another poor unsuspecting soul to join me on my quest. I’d heard great things about eastern European “dumplings” and had been meaning to try them out. Sure enough there was a stall offering a few varieties of what I was pretty sure were these famed dumplings. With great language barrier difficulty we ordered some of these dumplings and sat down to tuck in to what looked like it could pretty tasty, even with weird sprinklings of who knows what on top. As it turned out they were meant to be sweet, which was unexpected. They were sortof berry flavoured, with this weird buttery sugary stuff on top.

I must say, I’m not usually one to not finish a meal, but these I just could not get through. And so I hung my head in shame and joined the rest of the crew at McDonald’s for some universally tasty and reliable fries.

97. GrovChicken

McDonald’s is internationally reknowned for the fact that whichever McDonald’s you go to you expect your meal to be the same as any other. And this is exactly why I set myself a no McDonald’s in Europe rule. With so many amazing, novel, delicious and most of the time more healthy options available, the last thing I want is the same BigMac I can get at home.

However, a miscommunication over bus times lead to starving Harriet+friends with nowhere else open. I also justified my rule breaking by ordering the most novel and different item I could find, with the added bonus that it was one of the “healthy” options: A GrovChicken: A McChicken with a rye bun. Only in Denmark. I found it incredibly hilarious at the time, and luckily McDonald’s douses its McChickens with so much mayonnaise it counteracted the dry-ness. I’m also gradually developing a fondness for rye bread. The GrovChicken wasn’t too bad! But I would still only order from McDonalds in hunger emergencies.

16. Rejected by McDonald’s

Maybe it is paranoia, but I am really worried I am going to run out of money this year. I still get student loan payments during regular, NZ University weeks (which haven’t started yet) but they barely cover my rent here in Denmark. So one of the first things I have been doing is looking for a job.

The other reason, which is probably more important, is that I believe that working in Denmark will not only be helpful for learning the language, but also for meeting the locals and getting a completely different perspective on the culture, something you don’t get as a tourist, or when lumped in with the International Students.

It is (unsurprisingly) quite difficult to find work when you don’t speak the local language. My options so far are bartending, waiting, cleaning, packing boxes and other such warehouse/labouring work. I will just about do anything! I was, however, quite excited when I saw that McDonald’s was hiring. Surely an International, food-based, American owned company would hire an English speaker with relevant hospitality experience. But alas as I got halfway through the application, it turns out they wouldn’t let me proceed because I am over 18 and they would therefore have to pay me more. I am now officially against Youth Rates, thank you very much Mr John Banks.*

Throughout the process I had read a fair bit about the Danish CV style being somewhat different to, well, the rest of the world. Working in NZ and Australia my experience (and that of sitting on the other side of the interview table and reading piles of CVs) is that brief, obvious bullet points of your relevant experience are at the top of the priority list. In Denmark, however, every piece of advice was to ‘use your CV to tell a story about yourself.’ This seemed a very odd concept, especially as there is fierce competition for jobs so you would think the less reading the better. Luckily there is a Career Centre on campus, and a specific office for International students who first of all read through my CV and ripped it to pieces with criticism, and then helped me re-write it in a completely different way. Along with a number of conventional tweaks, the main change was writing a paragraph after each job you have done which describes the outcomes of the job and the skills you gained and what you liked and disliked about each job. While in NZ there are a number of different ways to write a CV, the Danes seem to be quite specific about only using one or two types.

Another challenge is cutting down the size. I always find it difficult to stay under a word limit, so some helpful feedback on what experience to include for each job I was applying for was really good.

The next issue was the Danish-vs-English CV debate. At first I had read that a Danish CV and cover letter (although with the amount of description in your CV apparently cover letters aren’t that important and often aren’t read) will have a much greater competitive advantage. However, for certain jobs I have had to reconsider, as I feel it would be misleading to give a Danish CV when I don’t actually speak Danish. So depending on what is in the ad, how much communication will be required and what their process are I have only sent my CV in English. Lucky for me I have an absolutely wonderful housemate who helped me to translate my CV, or more accurately, did some incredible proof reading after I put it through Google Translate!

Fingers crossed I get some employment soon… or at the very least have some interesting experiences with Danish style job interviews…

*Not that the Act Party ever had my vote in the first place…