As a child, I always received exemplary report cards, I was an over achiever, a hard worker and a helpful, nice person. It was consistent. And consistently, in the lovely teacher-perfect handwriting (yep, before computers), was always the same comment – Jena is a great student but man, she talks. A lot.
I grew up with a lot of my family nearby. We had cousin sleepovers, holiday celebrations and my grandparents visited often. We had huge family dinners, where my cousin Wes and I would very literally crawl under the table and tickle everyone’s feet. I moved away almost twenty years ago, to pursue a life beyond my little community.
I married Dave in 2014, with only 11 strangers present, in Zanzibar, Tanzania. We have two beautiful girls who couldn’t be more different yet equally, ridiculously incredible. We have a beautiful, over-anxious Great Dane, that complements our family height requirement and truly completes our family.
I now have two tiny versions of me who also talk. A lot. We talk about everything – monkeys, princesses, ghosts, belly buttons, you name it. Its always an engaged conversation involving a three and one-year old’s incredibly deep perspective on life.
This book could not be a more perfect reflection of my little world. We have travelled the globe, learned multiple languages, found cultural differences and perspectives that, at times, were truly life-shaping. I have built a career in enhancing the human experience, specifically focusing on Human Resources and Talent. I have the ultimate modern family with layers upon layers that only we can seem to keep straight. This book is the opportunity to be nostalgic, to remember what it was like to have family down the street and how it made us who we are. And to also appreciate the global spread, to look forward to the new experiences and perspectives and how differences make us better. And to share the stories, keep the connections, and never forget to talk. A lot.