Antoinette Mpawenayo and I (Isis) were sent by the criminal justice and restorative justice department on a trek to the Big Apple. The three day trip felt more like a two-hour Disney movie premiere-special — packed with fun but always falling short. We spent a total of three hours packing bags like we were going on a month-long vacation — girl math. What WASN’T packed in those bags?

 I was so excited to go back home to New York and revel in my profound sadness over leaving my family there, while Antoinette was excited to get a bacon, egg and cheese from any nearby deli. 

Our trip started Nov. 1 when we hauled ourselves to the physical plant at 6 a.m. It was so chilly, and my car heater was not working. Needless to say, driving over I could not feel any of my toes. Antoinette was still comfy and cozy in her bed. Our driver met us there and dropped us off safely at the Grand Rapids airport. Because of our past experiences at O’Hare, we expected to be greeted by passive-aggressive Transportation Security Administration people and grumpy flight attendants. But the experience was lovely. 

Antoinette was extremely frightened to jump on a plane and took some melatonin. I decided to follow her tracks and popped two sleep-inducing gummies, which in the end I regretted because I woke up in New York feeling groggy. 

Once we landed and were finally able to deboard the plane, we were immediately met with hustle and bustle. We tried finding a bus that would take us out of the airport, but every time one would come by, it would immediately get filled and leave. I swear, we were standing outside for 30 minutes. Once we finally found a bus to get on, we immediately ran on and slammed our bags down, but you best believe we got ourselves a seat. 

We were eager to meet new people and make connections. Once we arrived at our hotel, we saw a man with a camera slung around his neck — a photographer! Antoinette, being the extroverted goddess she is, immediately tried making conversation with him — keyword being tried. 

Antoinette: “Are you a photographer?” 

Photographer: “No :|”

Antoinette: “Oh, okay. :)” 

Yay social skills. 

So much more that happened in New York lightens my heart, like the huge rats on the street, the man puking his guts out after drinking too much in the bar downstairs, and the time getting lost on the train and ending up in Queens, rather than Manhattan. I’d go into all of it, but I’d rather you find out on your own, hehe.