Thursday, January 15, 2009

Locals are people, too

So I wrote a column for the Scroll this week, and I liked it. It was all about the inauguration and stuff and I thought I'd put it on here. But I wrote it on the office computer and in the grand tradition of i-Comm, it's not online yet. Or, more likely, it's online but extremely difficult to find at this point. But I did find this one relatively quickly (it was published March 27, 2008. Go figure) and since I DID just help publish the "Rexburg Living/Welcome Back" special section of Scroll, I thought this would work.

So, without further ado ...

Rexburg really isn't that bad — seriously

I’m from Rexburg. And, no, I’m not apologizing for it.

I love watching people’s faces when I answer the standard questions:

My name is Breanna. They smile. Sometimes they even say, “Oh, that’s a pretty name.”

I tell them I’m studying communication. That usually gets a good reaction. “Ohh … are you going to be a journalist or something? That’s cool.”

And then, the clincher: I grew up in Rexburg. Silence.

Or, sometimes it’s worse than silence. Just last week, a visitor in my apartment got to that point in our conversation and promptly turned to my roommate. He asked, “So, is she normal?”

I’m not kidding.

Reactions to my hometown in my time here have ranged from laughter to expressions of pity to an awkward fumbling of keys in the attempt to say something humorous or consoling.

While I admit I find these reactions comical, they still lead me to ask: How did locals get such a bad reputation?

Maybe it’s because many BYU-Idaho students can’t imagine growing up in a town so small. But my roommate is from Paul, Idaho, and that’s not even big enough to put on some maps. And you don’t hear her apologizing.

Maybe people pity me because I grew up in a homogenous religious “bubble.” But most students here are LDS, so it doesn’t make much sense for them to hate something they helped create, does it?

But, more likely, we’re just misunderstood. So I’m here to debunk some rumors about locals and stand up for the land I love:

1. We’re not all potato farmers.

But, we probably know one. Several, even. We maybe even worked for one at some point during high school. And, yes, Madison School District really does cancel school for 10 days for potato harvest. You can thank us when you eat your Wendy’s French fries.

2. We don’t all live at home.

Yes, many locals DO move out of the house. And even if some don’t, they still attend a college ward and are part of the campus. But independence shouldn’t stop anyone from taking advantage of free laundry.

3. We don’t like the cold, either.

My friend recently told me as we walked across campus, “Breanna, no offense to you or anything, but Rexburg is really cold.”

I found this, too, amusing — it was as though he expected me to either 1.) Not realize it was freezing, or 2.) Prefer the cold. Since the second is absolutely ludicrous, let me debunk one last misconception:

4. We’re not Eskimos.

No human being could possibly acclimate to the Rexburg tundra. We just know how to dress. You should have seen me last January — I wore four sweaters at a time and legwarmers for days.

And we have beautiful summers, by the way.

So next time you meet someone from Rexburg, skip the stereotypes. Forget about them for everyone, for that matter, and focus on the individual.

Forget about Texans being egotistical. Forget about giant Utah hair. Forget about Oregonian tree- huggers. Forget about Californian surfers. Forget about fiery redheads. Forget about dumb blondes. Forget about east coast snobs.

When you really think about it, we’re all pretty similar despite our license plates. Get to know individuals — you might discover there are more “normal” people than you think.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I didn't do it

.. at least, I don't think so. But I'm starting to think that my uncanny ability to unwittingly rid myself of roommates is bordering on phenomenal. Let me demonstrate my recent transformation into the apartment black widow:

September 2008: LeaDawn gets engaged. Roommate #1 = gone
November 2008: I agree to move into American Manor apartments with Madison, a friend of mine from Scroll.
Early December 2008: Madison's health takes a turn for the worse, and she defers classes for winter semester. Roommate #2 = not anymore
Mid-December 2008: I agree to move to Royal Crest with my friend Chanae Wilson. A week later, she gets an internship. And engaged. Yep, both. Peace out, roommate #3.
Late-December 2008: Becky Leach (who was going to live with me and Chanae) also gets a little sparkler for Christmas. So long, roommate #4.

The moral of the story? If you're looking for a dramatic change in life, sign up to be my roommate. Major life changes guaranteed (satisfaction not guaranteed — see roommate #2).

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Best Friend's Wedding

December 20 was the day I've dreaded for the last three months.

Actually, the last two years.

OK, so I'll cut out the "Father of the Bride" drama. But I must admit that going to LeaDawn's wedding, as exciting as it was, was a little bittersweet. We've had a lot of sleepovers, and we had our last one the night before her wedding. It was strange to realize exactly what was happening. It seemed so easy, so natural, so perfect that she'd be eternally part of Daniel after the ceremony. But I also realized that she wouldn't be my roommate anymore, and that was hard to swallow.

(LeaDawn and I on our last night at Heritage Manor back in April of '07)

Anyone who's "lost" a roommate this way knows what I'm talking about. The next day's ceremony meant no more calling her to get the plans for FHE. No more late-night chats evaluating dates. No more questions like, "Wait, are you Bre or LeaDawn? I always get you two mixed up."

(Looking a little better at Shoshone Falls this Spring)

But I also knew that, if she weren't to get married, she'd be missing out on all the best parts of life. It would mean no home building. No burnt dinners, no living on love. No "I'll stay up with the baby, you go get some sleep." None of the things that really matter.

So even if it was a little lonely driving home from Rupert and even lonelier moving into my new apartment without my favorite roommate, there are three things I know for sure:

1. LeaDawn has never been happier
2. Things will never be the same
3. I wouldn't have it any other way.