A Breath of Fresh Air

With the beautiful change of weather, and a special visit to some extraordinary women yesterday, I thought I knew I should get back to writing.

At my internship yesterday, I went on a little trip down the hill to the Villa. The Villa is a home for Sisters of Charity who need assisted living & nursing assistance. This was the first time that my internship has required me to take visit the Villa so I had no idea what to expect. When I was younger, I used to be terrified of going into Nursing Homes because elderly people scared me. The best part of this fear was that being a Girl Scout, I was always volunteering at Nursing Homes. Yay me!

The reason for my trip with Sister Maryanne, was to take 60 second videos of Sisters explaining why they became a Sister of Charity to begin with, and what inspired them. The best part of my internship has to be meeting so many women who have done so much with there life. Speaking with them and listening to their stories are extremely rewarding and I have to say, I have not heard one story that I was not surprised at! Although I am not religious (or of Catholic faith), talking with the Sisters has inspired me immensely.

One of the Sisters that we videoed yesterday was Sister Alberta. Her video brought Sister Maryanne & myself to tears because she shared her story in a song. It was one of the most beautiful moments that anyone could experience. After finishing her video, Sister Alberta told us that she had another story to tell us, but it was not to be put on the camera…

 At twenty years old, Sister Alberta was “going with” a young man named Jimmy. He was kissing her goodnight on her front porch, and that was when she decided to tell him that she was going to be entering the Convent. As she told Jimmy this, he reached into his coat pocket. You could only imagine what was inside the black box in his pocket. Sister Alberta had to turn him down because she still planned on going into the Convent. I just could not imagine turning down a proposal and choosing an eternal life with God. 

           Years later, Sister Alberta was driving through Montclair and decided to drive past Jimmy’s house. He was in fact standing in his driveway by his car. He sat in her passenger seat and pressed his hand against her cheek. Sister Alberta told us that she could still feel his hand on her face. Although he did pass away, she hopes to meet him again one day.

For my entirety of Spring Break (which is this week), I have spent my days at my internship which is at the Convent. Everyday I meet new women who are brilliant and gracious. Today, I spent my afternoon with Sister Ursula. My internship supervisor had convinced her to allow me help her to create the blog and it was such a great idea. Sister Ursula has been having physical problems and she wants to find something to do so that she can keep moving forward in life. I helped her create her own blog and boy does she have a lot to say. When we completed her first post, I had a wave of butterflies because I knew how happy she was. It was such a great moment for both her and myself. I am extremely grateful to be able to have moments like the ones I have experienced this week.sunset-02

If only a few things came out of this internship, they would be simple living, giving back, and to not take life for granted because you can make a difference.

 

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A Breath of Fresh Air

And straight on til’ morning

So how does Broadway create a show that showcases an author’s inspiration for writing one of the world’s most beloved plays of all time? They collect as much pixie dust as they can, find the perfect people to portray historical characters, and pay rent at the Lunt Fontanne Theater in New York City. Finding Neverland is a new musical on 46th street that explains the life of Scottish playwright, J.M. Barrie and how he came to write Peter Pan.

As someone who is a proud musical lover and has seen a total of five Broadway shows, I have never witnessed a show where an entire theater is completely silent, but you can hear tears falling. The amount of talent that was shown on the stage was unbelievable and unforgettable. I luckily caught Matthew Morrison on his last day which is an experience that will forever remain in my mind. Morrison brought Barrie back to life on that stage.

For those who have not seen the show, I cannot give away the story, but make sure that you bring a box of tissues. I am seeing the show again in March, but Morrison will not be in the cast anymore. Hopefully the new Barrie, Tony Yazbeck will fill the shoes of this role just as well, but I know that I cannot have as high expectations.

No matter where you turn, you hear about some musical about the founding fathers of our country taking the Broadway stage by the charts. While this is true (and I am actually a huge fan), Finding Neverland CANNOT be one to miss in NYC. Anyone that walks out of the Lunt Funtanne will leave the show soaring with emotions and with a heart full of faith.

It is quite difficult to write about an experience that simply should not be described in words alone. Just remember: life is too short to argue with the people we care about and to not take advantage of our best moments. We do grow up too quickly, but that does not mean that we have to forget about how to believe.

And straight on til’ morning

ACT Two: THE BLIZZARD AND I

Boy was my world turned upside down during BWAY Con. After eating a scrumptious breakfast, Cassidy and I were ready to brave the new day. Of course we watched the news that told everyone to stay inside because the storm was going to hit. The newscasters kept sharing that the accumulation was increasing by the hour. Did we listen? Well, to be blunt; no. We had Broadway Con to go to and Finding Neverland to see. I put on my converse and walked out the door to brave the so-called “blizzard”.

Times Square was a mess and the snow was like ice cutting our faces. We made it to the Lunt Fontanne Theater and the show was still going on (shout out to Matthew Morrison’s Instagram @matty_motown). Cass and I were the only ones online by the ticket booth and then huge crowds came in asking if the show was cancelled because Lion King’s show was. Yes, we were let down because we wanted to see the show especially because it was Morrison’s last weekend at the show. To our surprise, Momma Dee (Cass’ mom, aka: a Saint) got refunds right away AND tickets to the show on the next day!!! We were more than thrilled and bonus** we were moved from Row “L” to Row “E” in the orchestra seating. What is better than that?!

We had to go somewhere because they kicked everyone out and the snow was falling pretty hard. Public transportation was shutting down and the apartment we were staying at was about 30 blocks away. On the other hand, the Hilton (where BWAY Con was hosted) was 4 blocks away from Lunt Fontanne. To put how difficult it was to walk in the snow in perspective: it took thirty minutes to walk four blocks. It was absolutely horrendous. Once we reached the Hilton, we went to the front desk to see if we could book a room for the night because there was absolutely no way that we could get back to the apartment. BUT, guess what?? The hotel was booked. Of course it was. It wouldn’t be a decent musical blog if there was not some dramatic scene.

Anywho, the Saint worked her magic powers and got Cass and I a room at The Hudson a few blocks away. I am still incredibly grateful for the Saint’s powers. We did not even know anything about the hotel, but we did not care since we would be having a room where we could be safe for the night. Cass and I stayed at BWAY Con until around 9:30pm after sharing a $18 personal pizza and then we decided to make our way to the hotel.

Now, if you are reading up to this point, pay attention because this is the good part…

We bundled up as much as we had with us and left by ways of a revolving door. The street was completely filled with snow and the only cars permitted on the roads were emergency vehicles. It was something out of a movie and it was one of those experiences that cannot alone be described in words. Just imagine being the only two people walking on the streets of NYC and then realizing that the IPhone GPS was taking us the opposite direction of the hotel. I swear, this is not made up. The next time Cass and I will be going into NYC, we will be using my GPS. So picture us walking on the streets, freezing our butts off and it is snowing. The time that it took to reach The Hudson seemed never-ending. I do not function properly when I am in the cold. Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate the snow and the snow had reached about twenty-five inches. I was not a happy camper.

We finally reached The Hudson and all we saw were two gigantic escalators illuminated with lime green lights. Once we reached the top, we checked into our rooms and then took one of the ten available elevators to the seventh floor. The small size of the room did not even matter because we were extremely grateful to be sleeping in a bed instead of crashing in a hallway of The Hilton. Cassidy and I were settling in and she called the Saint. While she was on the phone with the Saint, I walked into the bathroom to see what kind of soaps that the hotel provided. Not going to lie, my dorm room bathroom bag is full of shampoos and conditioners from around the country. It’s not like the hotels reuse them. To much to my surprise, I stood in the shower and realized that I could see Cassidy sitting on the bed. Yes, the shower was surrounded by glass windows, so it could be seen from any point in the room past the door. That night, Cassidy and I took turns showering while the other sat on the chair with their backs faced to the shower. I swear up and down that this is true. The last thing that I remember that night was having to go to bed without my jeans on because they were soaked from stubbornly walking through huge piles of snow on the streets that were in my way.

As you can figure, Cass and I made it back to Jersey safely and we are alive. After that weekend, I was never more grateful for dry socks, sweatpants, and my own bed. We both probably saw parts of each other during the weekend that we never have seen before, but we passed that friendship test. We will remember this weekend for the rest of our lives and it will be a story that our kids will definitely hear.

Curtain Call & Final Bows

snow

 

**look out for my future post about Finding Neverland**

 

ACT Two: THE BLIZZARD AND I

Act One: The Blizzard and I

So this weekend I had the wonderful privilege to attend the first annual BroadwayCon in NYC with one of my closest friends, Cassidy. Run by Mischief Management and Anthony Rapp, the convention was held in great hands who hoped to create a full weekend for theater lovers. The goal of the the event was to gather an thousands of Broadway fans into the Hilton Hotel to belt Defying Gravity….just kidding. While that did happen (more than once), it was a exciting-packed weekend with tons of workshops, performances, autograph sessions, marketplace shopping. It was one of the greatest weekends that I will remember for the rest of my life and hopefully my future children will get to hear this story.

Friday, January 22nd, 5:30am Eastern Standard Time, here on in I shoot without a script.

Cassidy and I woke up bright and early to catch a train into NYC. In less than an hour, we reached the Big Apple which was great. We first walked to Cassidy’s cousin’s apartment on 26th street. It was only a fifteen minute walk from Penn Station. Honestly, I am the type of person who could live in the city for my entire life. I love everything about it (well except for the crowds around Time Square). After we settled in, we took a taxi over the Hilton. It was one of the movie moments where the taxi doors were opened for us by the staff and we were genuinely welcomed. Our faces were lit up and the moment was priceless once we glanced upon the huge BroadwayCon sign. We quickly bought breakfast from the overpriced Herb n’ Kitchen and then made our way up to the second floor. The entire floor was packed with lines organized by last name order. Once I found my way to the “I-L” line, I could not stop smiling. I was surrounded by cosplays that would only be understood by Broadway fans. It was amazing and I could probably speak for every attendee, that we felt at home.

By the end of the day, I  was probably the happiest person alive. Man, I did not know the weekend that was ahead of me.

The Blizzard was soon to come.

Just a hint…choosing to wear Converse to NYC for the weekend was one of the worst decisions that I’ve ever made.

 

BroadwayCon

 

 

 

 

 

Act One: The Blizzard and I

Ovaries before Brovaries

My college journey started about a year and a half ago and boy has it had its ups & downs. For the most part, it is has been filled with ups that I will remember for the rest of my life. Most of my ups are due to the friends that I have made. What I needed more than anything after I graduated from high school was to get away from those people that I had spent a good chunk of my life with. It was time to move on. College was the best excuse to go on a new adventure. I made friends pretty easily if I do say so and it was a great feeling to meet new people that I had never laid my eyes on before.

After being with these people for over a year, people’s true colors started to show. Slowly, many of us strayed away from each other. These awesome people found each other. I have to say, these are some of the best people that anyone could ever wish to meet. We have each other’s backs 24/7 and are right around the corner if anyone needs a hug or a laugh or chocolate.

The following words were said by a wise human being:

…………..quality not quantity………

Recently I have learned that you really have to just stay away from the people who talk about you just to make themselves happier. I hope you’re happy (had to throw in a Wicked reference, shout-out to the Broadway fans). My advice for you as a reader of this blog is to walk proudly and smile in front of those who don’t have your back. They aren’t worth it, and the faster that you realize this, the longer you can actually live your happy life to the fullest.

Thank you Leslie Knope.                     Knope for Prez

Ovaries before Brovaries

Intangible Demon of Distance

As some of you readers may know, I have been in a wonderful relationship for the past fifteen months. After quite a bit of struggling past relationships, I have found a man who fully respects me and my entirety of being. I couldn’t ask for more. Since I am a full college student and he works many hours, I do not get to see him as much as I would like to. I am lucky enough if I can see him once a week. After all of this time, one would think the time apart would get easier, but it is the complete opposite. Of course, time apart has made us both appreciate the time that we do get to spend together; however our time is limited. For many of the nights that we have had to part ways, tears are shed. Although the distance between my school and our hometown is only thirty minutes, our schedules tend to conflict. I am not going to lie; it sucks and tears away at me.

Couples never fully understand a strength of a relationship until they are given the intangible demon of distance. It allows for the growth of strength and love that goes beyond infinite measures. If this is the only downfall that can be seen between us, then I am perfectly willing to pay that price. Sometimes we have to give up something to make room for something great.

Now someone reading this may think that once a week is nothing and it isn’t hard. Well not to be blunt or anything, but it is  especially difficult for us. The reason that it is so hard is because we are so close. But to tell you the truth, it is extremely worth it. While I continue the last two & a half years of school, my boyfriend has chosen the path of the Air Force. There is no departure date for boot camp yet, but I know that it will come sooner than I’d ever want. In my heart, I believe that for some reason there was always meant to be distance in our relationship. Maybe for us to live our own lives and then to come together to share it with each other. Maybe it was something bigger showing us that we need to take advantage of seeing each other once a week. Soon, everything is going to change,

but…

I have faced bigger demons in my life.

 

 

Intangible Demon of Distance

The Flip Side of NOLA

On August 29th, 2005, “America’s Favorite City” of New Orleans, Louisiana was devastated by the infamous Hurricane Katrina. More than 80% of the city was underwater when Katrina hit, which resulted in leaving families with massive destruction. Today, it is estimated that over 6,000 New Orleans native families are still without homes. To combat the obliteration caused by Katrina, the St. Bernard Project was created in hopes to return families back to their homes. The organization has rebuilt over 615 homes in the last ten years and promises to continue this progress. The St. Bernard Project uses the hardworking hands of volunteers to rebuild homes for these families that have lost everything. For many of the volunteers, it is their first time working on a construction site, but they are eager to learn in order to bring a family back to their home. New Jersey women from the Morristown area were given the opportunity to lend their hands to the St. Bernard Project. Sister Maryanne Tracey of the Sisters of Charity of Convent Station accompanied two College of Saint Elizabeth students, Catherine Bialkowski and Alexis Lerner, to New Orleans in early January.

From January 4th-January 9th, Bialkowski, Lerner, and Tracey were housed in the House of Charity on Cambronne Street, New Orleans. At the house, there were other women from around the country who were connected with the Sisters of Charity. The entire group worked together on a house for homeowner Pamela Marshall who had met with the group to explain her story from Katrina. Extremely motivated by the homeowner, the ladies worked three seven hour shifts throughout the week. Marshall’s house was still in the beginning stages and much labor had to be accomplished. Hard work such as putting up drywall and mudding the seams had to be completed in order to move on to the next construction phase. By the end of the week, the dry wall was finished and most of the mudding had been done.

Although the work was difficult, it gave the women an eye-opening experience that they would never forget. With the strength of God in their hearts, these women dedicated their own time for building a stranger’s home. Marshall was overwhelmed at the number of volunteers who took time out of their everyday lives to help bring light to the end of her tunnel. Bialkowski, Lerner, and Tracey agree that the trip to New Orleans was a life-changing experience that would remain in their memories forever.

The Flip Side of NOLA