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First Day High

I shall return. - Gen. Douglas McArthur

For almost two months, I ventured outside my comfort zone and explored the outside world that is (Project Pie) Park Square. Only a few more days and I would have been able to celebrate the second monthsary of the Park Square branch together with the other partners. Unfortunately, my time was up. No more venturing for me. I made an unexpected and sudden comeback to (Project Pie) Block 28 Alabang. And today was my official first day of duty. I say this because I was supposed to come in two days ago but requested to show up for work yesterday. Since we still have to cut back on manpower, I was asked politely if I could sit it out and come today instead. My answer was a huge “Yes!”. Maze Runner premiered yesterday. Perfect timing!

I could go on about how I liked the movie and how I opted to watch the adaptation before reading the book so I have zero expectations, but that’s not why I’m writing this. What I do want to share is my comeback slash first day (again). Originally, the scheduling manager gave me an opening shift (8AM-5PM) but I had to switch with Diane because of the wake of her cousin. I ended up with a mid shift of 12NN-9PM which is totally fine. Tomorrow’s my rest day anyway.

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As usual, I arrived a few minutes earlier than my shift. Doesn’t everyone? An exchange of hellos and casual bursts of excitement ensued. I was back. And as much as I wanted that very fact to sink in, it just wouldn’t. Sometimes, I would wake up and psych myself up thinking that I would get to see my Park Square family. Then it would dawn on me that… I wont. I’m part of the Alabang Family again. As much as I like my Alabang Family, I still feel a li’l separation anxiety here and there with no way of shaking the feeling off. The fact remains that I miss them. The exact same feeling that I felt when I left my Alabang Family. Why is this so hard?

Earlier, during my shift, we had a slightly huge wave of people. Nostalgia swept me over. For a second, I felt the adrenaline rush that I got accustomed to back in the days. My body missed it. And as I was accommodating the guests, I had so much fun that I momentarily forgot everything else. There was only that time. There was only the people and us partners and the pizza and nothing else. I would say it’s the same feeling of forgetting when having a beer, but I don’t drink.

Carpe Diem.

Feels good to be back to my roots.

Until Next Time, Park Square Family

Parting is such sweet sorrow. - Shakespeare

Project Pie keeps expanding in an exponential rate. For a franchise from the U.S. that is relatively new, it has captured and has yet to capture the hearts of thousands. Currently, there are already seven stores here in the Philippines, the seventh (Park Square) being my current store. For now, that is.

The whole expansion process is the reason why some Restaurant Partners (our job title) had to transfer, myself included. I was originally assigned at the Block 28 branch around Alabang. Jason, a scheduling Manager, handpicked me and two other partners - Diane and TJ - for Park Square. Our personal growth was the reason behind it. Jason believed that we would grow after being transferred. And while we were nurtured by the caring hands of our Managers on Duty at Park Square, our total number of partners is really high. Vincii, our OIC, was faced with the gut-wrenching burden of a task of letting some go and scattering them to other branches. I am part of that little group of people. At first, Diane and I were chosen to help open the Valero (Makati City) branch. With a playful twist of fate, both of us were removed from the Valero line-up and was requested to go back to our roots - Block 28 Alabang branch. Our mother store was (or should I say is) badly in need of Restaurant Partners. It was time to go back. Who better to help than the both of us.

Park Square will always hold a place in my heart. My love for this family are, to quote John Green: “stars I cannot fathom into constellations”. I will surely miss the shifts, rants, laughter, late night food adventures, ups & downs, Park Square itself. The list goes on. What I’ll miss the most though is the company. The fact that starting tomorrow I would be coming to work and won’t be seeing my newfound friends saddens me. Don’t get me wrong. I am just as sad leaving Park Square as I am happy being back into the gentle caress of Block 28 Alabang.

The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared. - Lois Lowry

Nothing lasts forever. Inevitably, my last day at Project Pie Park Square came today. Jason was so nice as to bestow upon me a little sweet gift. Literally.

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A batch of freshly baked chewy cookies gently placed inside a sturdy mason jar. A delectable treat to tickle my taste buds and reawaken my inner chocoholic. A side of me I try to lock up. Teehee.

Luckily, I got a mid shift. I got to be with the AM and PM shift partners that I will dearly miss. Did I mention I’ll miss them? I will. Day 1 to Last Day was smooth sailing. I have no regrets.

And here in this room, I re-experience the memories again and again it is how wisdom comes and how we shape our future. - Lois Lowry

Mad Mark’s

I remember the good ol’ days when Mondays were my rest days. I get some quality me time; getting pampered in a spa, eating hefty portions of food, watching movies. Gone are the days of pure pleasure. Until today, that is.

Weeks of lackluster food adventures have passed by, or should I say, lack thereof. My taste buds have been tinglingly craving for something new and exciting. Coincidentally, I have set a plan with a few partners to try this place at Glorietta 5. Dannice a.k.a. Dan (Restaurant Partner) has recommended a good dining spot that she always found worth going back for - Mad Mark’s Creamery and Good Eats (Mad Mark’s, in short).

Mad Mark’s, located at the second level of Glorietta 5, is a not-so-new creamery in the Makati area. Their sign itself reads:

Made from Scratch

Honest Ice Cream

I figured it was high time we tried this place out. And so we did. Originally, there were supposed to be three of us. Once we were able to confirm that our rest days synced with each other, we invited the other partners, hoping to increase the number. As it went down, the others just couldn’t make it, including the supposedly third person (Joaqui). Joaqui woke up to a nauseating feeling just a few minutes before our rendezvous time. Typical. Dan and I still went.

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As per Dan, the steaks are well worth the money. For a price range of 200-300 pesos, a steak with two sides sounded fanciful. I just had to try it; Medium Rare, of course.

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Slicing my steak always amused me. The suspense of whether or not they got the temperature right or not. As I sliced my steak oozing with just enough oil, I was welcomed with this redness that I was accustomed to. Imagine my delight, taking the first bite out of my juicy steak, nibbling on the soft tender meat. I swear, my taste buds felt like a crowd cheering for the winning shot. The tenderness of the signature steak was complimented with the cream mushroom sauce. Add in my bacon potato salad and plain white rice and bam! A heavy not-so-hearty-but-scrumptious meal. Just don’t mind the abundance of starch.

As a tradition, I finish off my meals with a dessert, may it be a plain belgian chocolate waffle or a candy bar. For my Mad Mark’s experience, my feet did not permit me to leave without trying one of their many not-so-quotidian ice cream flavors coupled with interesting names. Our server, who had a Trainee nametag, offered us to try their various flavors. I only tried two flavors: Java Hot Chocolate and Half-Baked Madagascar. I instantly fell in love with the latter. I could spot any version of cookie dough a mile away. I didn’t bother trying the rest of the flavors. I was too caught up in the moment.

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Every bite was a fleeting moment of fireworks. The half-baked cookie dough was just soft enough that it seemed to melt in my mouth. I only had one scoop. Huge mistake. Next time, I’ll be sure to order two or more. I forgot which flavor Dan got. If my memory serves me right, it was something like Chocolate on Chocolate. Basically, a decadent chocolate ice cream infused with oreo. A rank lower, in my opinion, but was also really pleasing.

I have Dan to thank for this wonderful recommendation. Do know that I enjoyed every bite of the steak and every spoonful of ice cream I took and every topic we talked about. My money and time was well worth it.

Our lunch at Mad Mark’s was as evanescent as a rainbow.

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