“It gets better, just keep going and don’t give up.”
When Jenna and I first met almost three years ago in a drug anthropology class, we could have never anticipated how things would unfold. These past few weeks have brought the past full circle and I couldn’t be more grateful that this human is part of my life. Jenna is a gentle pixie with the heart of a lion and soul of someone who has lived far more than twenty-one years. I was so fortunate to spend these past three weeks in Bolivia with her on a course about democracy and development with an extraordinary professor. It is this professor that started our friendship three years ago in her classroom. One class and one person transformed both of our lives on levels that have impacted us both forever.
We arrived at Sol y Luna, a restaurant nestled in the hills of Coroico and sat down for one of our many chats. Jenna warned me that she was “hungry and in a shitty mood,” but was down to talk for this interview. That’s one of the things I love about her; she is ALWAYS down to get down.
Kaila: Where did you grow up?
Jenna: Outside of Washington DC.
Kaila: What do you remember most about your childhood?
Jenna: Solitude. My house where I grew up is kind of rural. It was small (maybe ten families in the neighborhood) and there were no kids so I would be by myself which isn’t bad. It was quiet.
Kaila: What is the strangest thing about you?
Jenna: I have weird socialization habits and communicate with people oddly. I used to be alone and now when I talk, I am studying them and how they do things. I like anthropology because it is a scientific study, but people can tell that I am studying them and can get weird about it.
Kaila: What changed most about you in college?
Jenna: I made friends and that changed a lot. People are totally okay with you (more so than my childhood).
Kaila: What are three words that best describe this experience so far in Bolivia?
Jenna: Utterly life changing.
Kaila: Where do you hope to be in ten years?
Jenna: I have no idea. I never thought about ten years in advance. I hope not to be in the US. And dear god I don’t want children.
Kaila: What would you tell your teenage self?
Jenna: It gets better, just keep going and don’t give up.
Kaila: What do you love about yourself?
Jenna: My adaptability.
Kaila: When was the last time you laughed?
Jenna: Last night. I was drunk in Bolivia and dancing and laughing with friends.
Kaila: What is your favorite think you inherited from your family?
Jenna: I think kindness. My mom is one of the nicest people and I hope I inherited that.
Kaila: Who do you look up to the most?
Jenna: My mom, she has been through a lot and is on the other side.
Kaila: Any last words?
Jenna: I am f***ing hungry.
Where have you been?
Where are you now?
Where are you going?