Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Visitors #1 and #2

I had my first visitor. I think I may have been too excited. I opened the door before she finished knocking. Sorrynotsorry.

The first weekend of October brought one of my bffs Lora and cousins! I bounced between the two for the weekend and I think I did everything there is to do in New York City. My feet were tired.

We respected the art at the Met:
 Got a gorgeous view of my city at the Top of the Rock. I am still disappointed that Jimmy didn't come to see me- he is so inconsiderate of my time.
 I thought it would be a simple task to get a picture together. I could not have been more wrong.
 Just know that it was super bright outside and we were both on the verge of going blind.
 After hanging with Lora and her crew for a couple days I switched over to my mom's side of the family. I got to hang out with Shannon and her family! They came for a birthday weekend to celebrate Mykelin! Happy Birthday! We met up in Times Square on what has been the rainiest day thus far.We took our activities indoors including M&M World and the Disney Store.
Shannon was lucky enough to snag ticket to A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder and it was so, so great. I really didn't know what I was getting into but I walked out a dedicated fan. I highly recommend it!
 Oh and then we got to meet the cast and I took a picture with this smokin' hot guy- Bryce Pinkham. He plays Monty in the play. Keep him on your radar. In the words of the Fates- it's gonna be big.
 Then I took them on what I have decided is one of my most favorite things about the city- the Staten Island Ferry. It is one of the most simple things but I just love, love, love it.
Oh look! The pirates came for a visit! Those rascals, messing up my Lady Liberty picture.
 Somehow I got a picture of the ladies but not the gentlemen (sorry guys).

It was definitely one of the best weekends- family and friends in my city! Stay tuned for another visitor. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


One of my all-time favorite people lives in (or maybe just moved from) Ohio so we decided to get together before she left!
We planned out the details and I bought my train ticket and the next morning I was on my way. The train ride was so beautiful. Pennsylvania countryside is breathtaking. Amish farms and buggies and people everywhere. I loved it. I think I could be Amish.
Due to unforeseen circumstances my friend ended up not being able to come which left me in Pennsylvania for the day. We chose what I thought was a hoppin' little town (Harrisburg) to meet. It was a lie. Harrisburg is so NOT hoppin'. Maybe with a couple people it is fun, but one person wandering without a car is maybe not my best idea.
I got off the train and wandered down to the visitor's center. I passed it three times before I finally found it. It was on the second floor of a law firm (where else would you put a visitor center?). I entered the building which appeared to have been abandoned. I thought nothing of it and took the elevator up to the second floor. I got off the elevator and all the lights were off. In the middle of a weekday. Yup. Abandoned.
I found a light switch, flipped it, and then wandered around the floor until I found the door to the visitor's center. I grabbed the door handle and pulled and it was locked, so that was a major bust.
I wandered back outside and Googled things to do in Harrisburg. It said there was a little island in the river that was easy to walk to and had fun things like mini golf, boat rides, horse-drawn carriages, baseball, everything!

I walked across the bridge and it was just another ghost town. No people, no golf, no horses, nothing. I wandered around there for a bit and walked down to the river bank. But then I was hungry so I Googled yummy places to eat and I found like a million! I was so excited!
And then I took myself on a walking tour of every closed restaurant in Harrisburg. Seriously, guys. I went to 7 or 8 places and every single one was closed. And then I was hangry. But somewhere in my depressing tour I found a vintage jewelry store and bought the cutest earrings in the world.
So I walked into the first place I could find that sold food and bought a sandwich. The nice gentleman asked if I wanted a half or a whole. After I distinctly told him half he gave me a sandwich the length of my arm. Come to find out a "whole" sandwich is the length of an extra long baguette.
I took my sandwich and walked to the state capitol building. I sat on the stairs and ate my sandwich and drank in the lovely weather.
Then I wandered over to the Strawberry Square which is supposed to be some kind of mall.  But it was Dress Barn and fast food. And they closed at 6 whatever that is about.
So right as I was being kicked out of the "mall" I decided to just head back to the train station. The train ride back was great because I stole a seat in the quiet car.
Overall it was a day with great weather, beautiful scenery, and the weirdest experience of my life.
There were churches on almost every corner. I walked past 20 or so churches. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September 11th

There is so, so much to do in the city and it has afforded me so many opportunities. This past Thursday was the 13th year since the Twin Towers fell. The memorial was only open to family members of victims for most of the day. They opened up the memorial to the public around 6 and I took a couple friends down with me. When we first got there I saw a man placing flowers on a name and it made me cry. To suffer such a sudden loss and then share it with an entire nation cannot be easy and I am sure it is a difficult day each year.
I really enjoyed my experience that day. So many of the people at the memorial were not American. They may not have any personal connection to what happened but everyone respected the area appropriately.  There was very little talking. People were calm, quiet, and respectful. The only noise was the water from the pools.
Dinner with these two- so grateful for their friendship!
 Backing up a the beginning of September Brittany and I wandered down to Greenwich Village to soak up the local culture.
 We ended up at some burger joint called Umami Burger and it was the best burger I have ever had. And the atmosphere is so much fun! We also ordered fries with truffle oil and aged cheese and those were also yum. If there is one thing that has been consistently good in NYC it is the fries. These people know how to make French Fries. 
 Burgers were followed by gelato. Super yummy as well.
 We walked, and walked, and walked until we got to Bryant Park. Some kids were playing with what looked like glowing sky dancers. Remember those? Google it.
Anyway- I got all sucked into the magic and I bought one and then played with it. I felt like I was 7 years old and I was okay with it.

Oh and Fashion Week happened. My internship is that tall building behind the Mercedez-Benz sign so I got to see all the drama go down. It was very fun until I tried to move. Getting on the train, getting off the train, getting to my internship, leaving my internship. Those were all very difficult activities with roughly 1 million other people trying to do the same thing.

Here I am standing at the memorial with one of the pools in front of me and the two beams for the two towers in the sky.

When we were walking home I turned around to see if I could still see the beams and the view took my breath away. It was tragically beautiful. The beams of light were so strong that it made the clouds glow. While the city was so alive and busy there was this strong, beautiful reminder of what happened. Being in New York on this day was so special for me. Words cannot describe the power and unity I felt and it is an experience I recommend to everyone.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Have a Title, and it's a Long Title Too

That was a vague movie reference. Anyone?
I crochet now, so there's that.
I may not do it well, but I do it.
I also did a bad thing where I made a comment during Relief Society a couple weeks ago. And then I spent too much time with some of the the people in the presidency so (naturally) I was asked to teach. I had a weekend-long series of mini heart attacks each time I thought about teaching. I haven't done that particular activity in my entire life so it was a little nerve-wracking. But it went fine. I feel a calling coming on.
I officially started my internship. I work in the Fordham University School of Law Family Advocacy Clinic as a Master's student intern from Columbia University (official title). I don't have official Fordham ID yet so I have to check in at the security desk every day.  The guard makes me say my whole title every time. And then he laughs at me. Every. Time. What are friends for?
I work on a legal team with real-life lawyers, LCSWs, and law students. It is quite fun. I am getting two educations for the price of one really, really expensive education or 8 relatively affordable educations. Yesterday we (the students) had to explain our chosen field "terms" in street language. Instead of saying things like "PTSD" "Autism high-functioning" "PDD NOS" "IEP" or any other social worky term I had to say the full name, and explain it like they had never heard the term before because they hadn't. Um that was HARD.  I didn't realize how indoctrinated I was. The law students had to explain terms like "standing" and "motion" and "classification" and such. At one point the professor tried to get them to explain the phrase "file a motion" in layman's terms relative to the situation. Basically she wanted them to explain that clients don't say, "I am going to file a motion!" they say, "I am going to sue!" and they couldn't do. It was hilarious.  And that is what happens when you go to school for the same stuff for too many years.
Classes are back in sesh at Columbia and I have really great professors. I think I chose the most perfect method (specific area of practice) for me and I can't wait to see where it takes me! In medicine you can choose to be a general practitioner or a specialist.  You can do the same thing in social work at Columbia. I have chosen the general practitioner route.
And now that you have read every detail of my life, I will reward you with visual representations of the rest of my life!

 Funny story about this next picture. I went to Fishs Eddy and shopped for a little bit. When I left I realized I had like a bajillion texts so I sat down in this cute courtyard to respond to all of them. After a few minutes I left and crossed the street. I realized that there were tons of people around me staring up into the sky. I was like What? Is someone gonna jump?! and I turned to look at BAM! Just the Flatiron Building. Only one of the most iconic buildings in NYC, Jenna. C'mon! Look around!
 This is from the southeast corner of Central Park. It is gorgeous down there.

 Fashion week is upon us, ladies and gentlemen. In this next picture I happen to be standing outside my internship. Those white tents across the way are the tents they have set up for fashion week. I get to watch fashion week from my window. For being so reluctant to actually come to NYC it sure is turning out to be fun!
 When I found my apartment the girl let me know that the kitchen was fully stocked so I didn't need to bring anything. This was a huge relief because it meant I didn't have to pack nearly as much stuff.  I decided I would only bring my very most favorite cookie cutters. They were the most beautiful blue and they were double-sided so you could cut a straight edge or a scalloped edge. Somehow I lost them in the move and I was devastated. Somewhere along the way I lost a box with my cookie cutters, the square version of those cookie cutters and all my tea and hot cocoa fixings. I went to Home Goods like 2 days after I realized the cookie cutters were gone and I found these. They are not as pretty but they are the same other than that. I was so happy!
 This is Brittany. She is also going to Columbia. She is great. We go places together. We eat food together. We wander the park together. NYC BFF!

Friday, August 15, 2014


I have started to settle in and it is a relief to feel some sense of normalcy again. My life has been so consistent for the past several years that this new adventure really threw me off. I cried for days leading up to my departure and I cried each night I got here. The crying has since stopped (thank goodness- amiright?!) and I have started to feel comfortable. A couple weeks ago grocery shopping seemed like a daunting task- too much to handle and it took what I believe is a modern-day miracle to get me out of my house. I googled how to get to the store and how to get home, I googled about three alternate routes, I checked to make sure my purse had my metro card and keys about three times. And then I went grocery shopping. And I didn't die. I tried to find a bakery I had heard about but I couldn't find it so I scurried back to the train and went home.
But when I got home I was a little more confident, a little more secure. So I ventured back out the next day to find that bakery. I was bound and determined. And I found it! And I was so happy that I found it that I didn't even mind waiting in line FOR 20 MINUTES. Ok-I minded a little. But it was divine!
Now that I am more comfortable I have really gotten into a routine. I take the bus to school in the mornings to give myself a little time to wake up and then I get to walk home. I try to take different routes home so I can get to know Harlem. However, the first time I walked home I walked past the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. It is the 4th largest Christian church in the world and it is beautiful! Oh- and a 5 minute walk from my house. I have yet to venture inside but I think that is next week's activity.
Funny signs outside the church grounds (mostly just that last one):
An train stop above ground. It smells 100% better than those underground nasties.
 Lunch with some of the people in my cohort. We went to this great little Italian place in Harlem called Lido. It was divine. And-Bonus!- it was restaurant week!
 This beautiful building is on a different way home. I love the ivy!
 Met up with an old coworker for dinner one night at Jacob's Pickles. You read that right. I, Jenna, went to a pickle place. Cam ordered some spicy fried pickles that were actually quite tasty. Never thought those words would come out of my mouth. I think it was the spicy that sold me. This place had such a fun atmosphere and dining Al Fresco on the streets of New York? I could do it for every meal!
 This really great bridge connects two sides of Columbia campus and offers a really great NYC view.
 Another grounds shot because I just love it so much. Seriously. I love UVU and everything but...they got nothin' on this place.