Months to weeks to days

Countdowns- they can be super fun but also daunting, right? I guess it always depends on what you’re counting down to; though I’m not sure why you’d want to count down to a dentist appointment (to each their own).

I’ve always thought of countdowns as fun and exciting; keeping track of how many days left until it’s my birthday, or until the last day of school (don’t judge me- I love my job but I’m a sun baby and LOVE those long summer days off). I always felt excitement toward those countdowns and seeing the number change each day made me smile and giddy.

But I’ve recently started a new countdown, and I can’t help but feel sad sometimes when I look at it. It’s counting down to something absolutely amazing, but it’s almost like the days are passing slower and because it’s not coming quickly enough I feel like it’s not coming at all. I get discouraged and anxious and while I still can’t wait for this moment, it just feels like it’s a never ending waiting game.

42 more days until I get to see my boyfriend after…well… let’s just put it this way; I haven’t seen this man in a year. There are many factors that went into this long of a distance, but really the only important point is that it’s been a year since I’ve been in the same place as him, and the countdown is finally at 42 days. I am beyond looking forward to seeing him in 6 weeks, but the nights are long. I love seeing the countdown on my phone, but instead of “only 42 more days!” it’s been “there’s still 42 more days…”

If anyone has any tips on how to make these long, lonely countdowns a little livelier I will gladly take them! For now I will continue to wait patiently until my feet hit the sands of Charleston.

Good to be Back!

Why did it take me 4 days to get into Slice of Life this year even though I’ve been looking forward to it?

Well….lots of slices of life falling here, there, and everywhere. Not all necessarily in bad ways; but none-the-less my days have been on the go and I’m finally finding a second to enjoy this slice of life 🙂

I’ve been told that speaking up is going to help get us (teachers) heard- so today I wrote an essay about my feelings toward opening schools back up full time. I am in full, 100% support of getting our students back in school 5 days a week, and after a few weeks of feeling iffy about speaking up, I finally found the courage to:

To whom it may concern;

As I sit here on the 100th day of school, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if it were a “normal” year. “Normally” we’d spend this special day exploring the number 100 with STEAM activities, math games, creative writing prompts, and of course, balloons. This year looks very different. Keeping in compliance with regulations, I was still able to create some fun memories to celebrate this day with my in person students; however, it is much more difficult to provide such an environment for those learning remotely. 

Remote learners may have been given this choice, and for some the opportunity has been a seamless transition and easy adjustment; but even if it has been “easy” or “successful” for them- they are still missing out on huge benefits from being in person, ranging from social emotional lessons to more quality instruction. 

Not only have we lost the community of our classroom on a daily basis, but we’ve also lost that “whole” feeling and the cohesiveness and social advantages with peers. While half of my students get to be physically in the classroom 2 days a week, the other half isn’t involved directly during those days; and when I’m online with that half of the students 2 other days a week, my in person students are independently working at home. The two cohorts only see each other 3 times a month, on a Wednesday morning; and even then, not all are available to be online at that time. Creating a classroom environment can be tricky enough; creating 2 separate ones, and then a third on top of that, has seemed almost impossible. 

But of course, nothing is impossible with us teachers. We show up every day and we create the best classroom space for learning and socially distanced interactions with peers (whether it’s a remote classroom or the school classroom). As you can imagine, this is incredibly rewarding when we see it play out successfully; however, there are plenty of times when defeat strikes. Giving direct instruction only twice a week is not sufficient enough, and has proven to show struggles with not only retaining information, but also learning new information, as the students come in exhausted, distracted, and mentally and emotionally drained. Socially, the students are faced with masks all day, seats distanced, quiet lunch rooms, restricted recesses (also with masks), and confined to only interacting with their own classmates (as opposed to multiple classes at lunch and recess or with book buddies during a “normal” year). While we teachers tend to be creative, it’s been a difficult task to generate new ideas and ways to keep learning, engagement, and play alive this year. 

The learning that takes place inside the walls of these classrooms needs to be opened back up fully. More instruction, more social interaction, and more opportunities to receive extra guidance and academic attention when needed would all be benefits to putting students back in schools full time. 

I appreciate your time in reading this,

Jenna Sementelli 

Cheers, Prayers, & Love

Dear Slicer’s,

Although March seemed to d r a g, my time with you all seems to come to an uneasy, abrupt halt. There were a few days I fell silent during this time, but for the most part, connecting with such a large group of individuals who felt my pain and discomfort and kept me smiling and laughing throughout it is a big part of what kept me grounded during this time. I will surly miss reading about the days that so weirdly resemble mine. I will miss posting my sulky, defeated posts and hearing that others, too, feel the same- but we’re all in this together. I will miss reading the positives and the hopes for when this is over. I will miss having something to actually do… even if I don’t get around to it until 8:30pm.

Thank you all who reached out, commented, liked, and shared with me; I will miss our connections throughout the rest of the year, but always look forward to the return the following spring. I hope you all stay well, happy, and healthy and find new things to fill your days- new hobbies, new laughs, “new normals”… we will get back to our “old normals”, but I know every one of us will have a “new, old normal”- one that is different, maybe more purposeful or even more fulfilling. I look forward to hearing about it, reading about it, seeing it.

As for me, I’ll be spending the upcoming days/weeks/months with Rello- who really seems to have a love/hate relationship with the fact that I’m now here all the time. We will continue to binge Netflix and switch back and forth between classy wine nights and the all-too-not-classy Naturdays. I’ll keep firing my shots at the range until they close that down. I’ll be setting up my target tree outback for my throwing axe. I’ll be cleaning my house every other day and more than likely live in a jungle by the time all my plants start sprouting and growing. I’ll keep running every morning and evening, eating my chocolate, and trying my jeans on every 2-3 days. I’ll keep online shopping while assuring my dad that I’m not spending too much money. I’ll hopefully get to start doing some sort of “teaching”- what that will look like, I still have no idea. I’ll keep being a smiling face to the kids who Zoom call into my sessions and only cry when no one is watching. I’ll continue my girls nights via FaceTime and creating silly TikToks; and I’ll keep looking for that silver lining, the purpose for all this, the reason, the message He’s trying to deliver to me, personally, as well as to this world.

My cheers, thoughts, and prayers are to all of you, tonight. Be well, and know that I am forever thankful to this group during this time.


Giving in

“Learn to become sensitive to the quiet as well as the clamorous pulls on your energy, your time, your emotions. You are becoming connected- to yourself, the universe, God, and others- in a way you have never been before. To deny these pulls is to deny the connections.”

How powerful it was to read those words today. The world we are living in right now, personally, professionally, as a community, and as whole, is very, very different than what we’ve been used to.

It is both quiet and clamorous- and both energies are effecting our time and emotions; both energies are connecting us to ourselves within, the universe (and even the space within the walls we’ve had to confine ourselves to), God (or whatever/whoever you have faith in) and others- your family who you’re now spending more time with, your friends who you may check in with more often now, your coworkers, neighbors, and even strangers- we are connecting to so many lives- even during this social distancing.

Give in to the pulls- the little “coincidences”, the “gut feelings”, the words you read that speak to you. Let yourself feel, connect, and react appropriately. We all need something to believe in, connect with, turn to for hope…be sensitive the energies around you and listen to what they’re trying to tell you, go where they are leading you, and learn what they are teaching you.

Today I became an adult…

1.5 hours

4 pieces of paperwork to review

3 interruptions (bathroom and 2 handfuls of M&Ms)

and only 15 phone calls to my dad!

Can you guess what I did today that finally makes me an adult?



My taxes. 🙂

New hobbies

Gun range


Tomahawk throwing axe

……if you need me I’ll be practicing these skills in my backyard until further notice. Boys better watch out when this quarantine is over and they decide they want to take me on a date L.O.L.

But for real, I’ve been wanting to do these activities for a while- but haven’t had the time, or always chose something else to do instead.

With all this down time now, I’ve spent a ton of time at our local free shooting range practicing my shot with my new Ruger LCP II. It’s perfect, and I’m 100% happy and confident with my decision to purchase this.

I bought myself basic a fishing pole (literally $8 at Walmart) and other necessities for this sport. Maine lifted the fishing license requirement until May and cleared open water fishing early, so I’m out scouting little ponds or streams to cast a line- for literally no other reason than something to do outside. I don’t plan on catching a fish; though if I do, I need practice on letting them free so this will be good for me.

I clicked “add to cart” and then “buy” today on Amazon for the throwing axe. I had one a while ago, but someone took it- so no better time than now to get a new one! I have a plethora of trees beside/behind my apartment and plan to create some sort of target on one one of these upcoming nice days. I love getting that perfect throw.

All of these things bring me joy, and I feel really good after partaking in their fun. Along my journey of dating and “finding myself” I’ve come across these awesome activities that I’ve wanted to “perfect” for a while, and now I finally can.

In the meantime, I’ll also be working out 2-3x a day and taking great care of my hair/skin/and healthy eating habits.

You could say I’m going to be pretty bada** when this is over.

First date “get to know you” talks will be quite entertaining.




I cried.

I laughed.

We talked and giggled and waved.

Some were curled on the couch with their pets.

Some were sitting at the kitchen table with a paper and pencil- eager and ready and thinking they were going to learn something new today.

Some were outside in the fresh air with the blue sky and clouds filling the screen around them.

Some were loud and funny,

Some were quiet, shy, and well, scared.

We went over the highs and lows of the past 2 weeks,

We shared what our days look like now,

They asked questions, while my broken heart tried so hard to calm and soothe their anxious minds.

“Will we pass third grade?”

“Who’s going to teach us what we’re missing? You or our fourth grade teacher next year?”

“Will we go to school in the summer?”


“Can I do more math?”

….These kids wanted to go to school.

They missed school, learning, and their friends….and ME.

Their cute giggles and scrunched noses, mixed with toothless smiles and anxious waves pieced my heart halfway back together.

It will not be whole until I am able to hug each of them.

Making time

What I’m learning during COVID-19:


Make the time to drink water- be aware that your body needs more of this than you’re probably giving it.

Make the time to create a “self care” morning routine- wash your face, brush your teeth, floss, mouthwash, admire yourself, compliment 1 or 2 features, then continue on with your day. And don’t skip a step! We so often find ourselves rushing, saying “I’ll do it later” (and then not doing it later); make the time to spend those “extra” 2-3 minutes really taking care of yourself. Side note: this has been huge for me. There are countless days I’d say “I’ll use mouthwash later” or “I’ll skip my usual face routine and just splash some water on it” because I was always in a hurry. My skin is so benefiting from this. I’ve also started adding in the “admire yourself” part. Call me crazy, but taking 30 seconds to study yourself and focus on the good is so uplifting. I challenge you to try it 🙂

Make the time to exercise- This has never been a huge problem for me, I’m usually pretty good at exercising regularly, but I’ve kicked it up so many notches as of late. 2 runs a day (or a run and a walk) plus an at home work out; and I’ve even done things like squats or sit ups during little pockets of time like waiting for dinner to heat up or even when I’m just lounging watching a show. I’m not naive to think that this will continue when we go back to “normal”, but for now, this “new normal” can (and should) include lots of opportunities to move your body!

Make the time to do the dishes immediately following a meal- Now, I understand this is WAY easy for me; I live by myself. If I’m cooking, I probably dirty 3-4 dishes. But usually I only have 2 dishes to clean, plus silverware. Don’t roll your eyes at me- I’m sure most of you have way more, and I can understand that. But I’ve never been the type to do this dishes right away- I’ve always let them pile up, and by Saturday have always regretted it. I’m now getting in the habit of washing the dish(es) as soon as I’m done. My kitchen is becoming so calm, and it truly makes a difference in my overall mood every day.

Make the time to call- Anyone. Family, friends, someone you haven’t heard from in a while. Even that person who you don’t really think likes to talk on the phone- call them. My brother is 3 years younger than me. He’s a little less social than I am, though he’s not an introvert. We’re close, but by no means were we the siblings who called and texted on a regular basis- until now. We text daily, and now even FaceTime. I don’t know if it’s because he’s lonely out there (living by himself in St.Louis while his family is in Maine) or what; but when I called the other day and went to hang up, he stopped me and we chatted for a while- while he worked! And when I told him I’d text him later, he said I can always call if I wanted to instead. I’m tearing up again just thinking about it. My brother, who shows little to no emotion, wanted to FaceTime me and talk, just because. So make that call- even if you don’t “think” they’d want it.

Make the time to write- This is hard for me. I love writing, but I’m not good at being consistent with it. I need to be. I always, always feel better after I do.

Make the time to make your space happy- This doesn’t have to be an every day thing (though something as small as picking up that pesky dust bunny that’s been sitting in the corner of the living room for weeks can truly help), but take the time every so often to make the space you live in somewhere you want to be. I’ve had dying plants laying around for MONTHS. Like… least 7 months. It was awful. During this down time I’ve taken them and re-potted them, and they looks AMAZING now (it’s crazy how fresh dirt, water, and letting sunlight actually come into the house helps them). I’ve had curtains and blinds that have been closed- literally not opened once since I moved in in August- that I finally started opening. letting that light in truly made the place feel brand new. The littlest things have made my place feel completely different- like home- and it’s been a game changer since I’ve been needing to spend all this time here now.

Make the time to make GOOD food choices- Now, a frozen pizza once a week is totally still on my menu, but I’m adding so many veggies and salads to my meals now! And I’ve kept less snacks in my apartment, too. It’s hard when I want a treat, but making these better choices has helped my mood SO much.

There are probably so many other little things I’m making more time for now, and I know and understand that when this is over I won’t be able to keep up with all of them (or at least not to the extent I am), but I am trying to create habits that will hopefully carry over after, and help me continue on this healthier and happier lifestyle I’m creating for myself.

I’ve done SO much reflecting lately (as I’m sure everyone has); and it’s not that I wasn’t happy or taking care of myself before, but it wasn’t consistent. My personal goal through this social isolation is to come out of it a better version of what I thought my best version was.

What are you making more time for? 🙂

A better day

Today was better than yesterday. Not great. But better.

I worked out twice.

I got things situated for my second job- the center that I tutor for is providing free services 2x a day starting Thursday and I’m in charge of them. 1 hour of math/science activity and 1 hour of an interactive read aloud. I will be providing these sessions via Zoom.

I was asked to help babysit a child. The mother works for my dad at the hospital and needs childcare 3 hours a day 2-3x a week, so I will be helping her out.

I want to help. I wish I was helping MY students, MY community of kids, but I am glad to finally be helping and doing something.

I’m still frustrated.

I’m still lonely.

I’m still lost.

But come Thursday I’ll have a schedule. A routine. And right now, that’s what I need.

I can’t wait to find out more about my students. What I can do, when I can do it.

Being in the dark is awful.

Not knowing is awful.

Hearing so much criticism is awful.

But I’m working on trying to push those negatives back, and focus on the positives. Take this day by day. Be in the here and now, even if it’s eerie and weird and uncomfortable.

I’m pretty good at outwardly doing that- if you were to see me or speak to me right now, you’d probably be like- “is this the same girl?”

Yes. It is. I’m way better at hiding my feelings to others in person.

But I feel like I can let go in this platform. Like a journal. Even though it’s out there for others to see, I don’t have to speak it or show it. It’s just there, written.

You guys get it.

A bad day

Today was a bad day.

I’m lonely.







And no one wanted to talk today.

Because everyone else is feeling this, too.

And sometimes when we have bad days, we just want to be alone.

But I wanted someone to talk to; and I had no one.

So, today was a bad day.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.