The first time I stepped into a casino, it didn’t feel strange, it didn’t feel normal; it felt like an alternate universe but one in which I felt sort of okay, if not comfortable.
It was 9pm on a Wednesday night, just one hour earlier, I had arrived at the casino lodgement with my sister and heart beating wildly, I had begun getting ready for my first day working as a croupier.
When I arrived at the casino, I was shown into the staff-room and all eyes turned to me, I felt like an anomaly, the way they quickly tapped each other, whispering and pointing and not one person said hi, and looking back, I probably was; they had never seen me before, I was wearing a croupier uniform and I was black, talk about shock!
Anyway, suddenly, they all stood up and started to move towards a door and here I was confused, do I follow them? Do I wait for a welcome party? What to do? In that split second, I felt a tap on my shoulder and a pretty girl with a small smile on her face told me to put my bag in her locker and come along.
She would be my first friend in European casino, Zeynep.
Out on the casino floor, I was assigned to a roulette table to stack chips, I had never done this before, I didn’t know what I had to do, and I wasn’t told, I was simply told to go and do it. Luckily for me, it was a dead table (no players) and the Georgian girl assigned to deal at that table immediately turned to me and smiled, asked my name and told me hers, and told me not to worry about a thing, she was going to help me as much as she can and she assured me that I would be an experienced croupier in no time, she talk about when she trained and gave solid advice on how to make the most of the experience. She talked about how being a croupier can be an exciting, how it can be frustrating and tiring.
Enter Maia! She kept every promise.
It’s been 4 years and I am very far away from that quiet, confused girl who walked into the casino that Wednesday night.
It wasn’t all roses and cream; many many things happened that made me feel like quitting so many times, I gave myself so many pep talks those first 9 months, I can’t even count.
But then the next February came and I moved to a different branch of the casino in a different town, got an apartment with my sisters,enrolled for my MSc in International Relations.
My first day at this new casino, I walked in like a boss! I knew how to deal all of the games we offer, I spoke a little Turkish, I walked into that staff-room not expecting anyone to say hi and I didn’t care.
Here in this casino, I have grown, blossomed… I also got a little crazy, there was no way to help that.
This is Casino Chronicles.
©Adeola Matemilola 2016
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