Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm a Californian

BYU is an interesting place in that there are people from all over the country (all over the world for that matter) that attend here. However, with all this "diversity" some tensions tend to arise as people criticize where others are from or impose stereotypes on people based on where they are from. As a Californian at BYU, I experience this all the time. Over the past four years, I have heard so many jabs about California and Californians that are somewhat true but mostly they are just plain ridiculous and mean-spirited. I'll admit that I used to have some preconceived notions of people based on where they are from, but I have been around long enough to know that most people don't fit into stereotypes and, therefore, should not be judged based on the state in which they grew up.

Some, however, have yet to figure this out. Just today, I heard a guy in my ward say that he hates Californians and that we are all a bunch of liberal, materialistic, Communist beach bums who don't have a clue. Of course, my California pride came out and I had to say something. The conversation went something like this:

(Let me preface this by saying that I have known many Idahoans and they are all great people. My grandparents are from there. My dad was born there. I've had four amazing roommates who are from there. Idaho just happened to be where this boy was from.)

Me: Now, where are you from again?
Him: Idaho.
Me: Ah, so do you want me to judge you by the Idaho stereotype just like you are judging me by the California stereotype?
Him: What's the Idaho stereotype?
Me: Self-righteous, potato-farming bigots. I guess you're lucky I don't buy into stereotypes.

Maybe that was a little harsh but I felt he needed to come to grips with something. You can't judge an entire group of people based on a very vocal minority within that group. You can't judge an entire state by the actions of one or two cities within that state. You can't impose stereotypes on any group because most people don't fit within those parameters. And how would you feel if someone criticized the place you grew up all the time?

Why does this bug me so much? Well, I pretty much defy every stereotype about California known to man. I've never bleached my hair (I haven't even dyed my hair for that matter). I don't hang out at the beach all day. I am very conservative politically. I do not worship or really seek after material items. I really don't like shopping all that much (although I enjoy a new shirt, new jeans, a comfortable bed, and hard-back books as much as the next person). I think Communism is a REALLY BAD idea. I am the biggest fan of America's Founding Fathers and the Constitution you will ever meet.

Yes, there are crazy people in California but there are crazy people everywhere. Earthquakes occur often in California but natural disasters and man-made disasters happen everywhere. There are advantages and disadvantages no matter where you live.

I was born and raised in California in a suburb of San Francisco. No, it's not perfect by any means and I can't say that I enjoyed being with everyone I came in contact with. But I am a Californian and I am proud of it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Recent Happenings

A lot of fun things have happened in the last week. My roommate Jennifer decided that we all needed a break from Provo for a night so she suggested that a group of us go up to Park City during the Sundance Film Festival. Six of us girls squeezed into a car and drove up to Park City to spot some celebrities. We didn't end up seeing anyone but it was still a lot of fun.

Jen and I before we left.

There was a really interesting cowboy shop that had tons of cowboy boots for sale. Each pair cost $2500. No one made any purchases there :)

We stopped into Mary Janes and Hannah found a pair of baby shoes that brought back memories of a nickname people used to call me. I don't think I'll ever live that one down.

We ate dinner at a pizza place and then headed back up the street to head home. However, we spotted a store that we all had to go into. It had some really cute clothes. If it hadn't been so expensive I probably would have three new shirts and a couple of cute new coats.

The next day, my brother Kiel was in town so he and his friend picked me up and we headed to Saratoga Springs to see my newest niece! Erica Allison Brown is absolutely adorable! She was four days old when this picture was taken.

Yesterday, February 4th, was my roommate Jennifer's birthday (and my sister, Shelley's!). We all went to Olive Garden and had a wonderful time chatting and eating delicious morsels of pasta and breadsticks. We then came back to our appointment and lots of people came over for cake and ice cream. Jen felt very loved :)

These are some of the girls that came to Olive Garden with us. A few more showed up a little later.

My roommate, Rhiannon, and I.

These three amazing girls, Rachel, Jennifer (the birthday girl), and Kristin, are also my roommates.

Our waiters were very kind to us so we decided to take a picture with them after we ate our meal.

Despite the tremendous work load that school inevitably brings, it has been a really fun week and hopefully I can continue to do well in school and have fun at the same time. It's a difficult but possible balance.