The trip back to school was a little chaotic. My mom is such a pain to drive with. She is, hands down, the WORST "backseat driver" known to man. She slaps, she screams, and she'll also randomly GASP and make me feel like I ran over a small kitten or something (when in reality she just thought I was "too close" to the car 50 feet in front of me). My mom and I are a lot like sisters, we fight, we share shoes, and we also drive each other completely nuts (but I would argue that I could never love a sister as much as I love my mom). So, whenever I get in the car with my mom, whether it's her or me behind the wheel, the experience is rather high-strung. When I was learning to drive, I cried on multiple occasions from the pressure and stress. "JESUS CHRIST KARA! That's not a stop. YOU'RE TOO CLOSE TO THE CURB!! Let me drive. I'm not ready to DIE. I give up — we'll just pay your brother to drive you around. Is this because Shane took your Barbie Jeep and never let you drive?" So, naturally, the trip to Berkeley was, without a doubt, the most infuriating seven hour drive. I felt like I needed a Valium or something. When she drove, all I wanted to do was close my eyes and pretend I didn't notice her driving on the wrong side of the road, or the curbs she leveled... However, I value my life too much! She thinks I suck at driving, well, Tootsie, LIKE MOTHER LIKE DAUGHTER. The obnoxious thing is that she really believes she's a good driver.
Anyway, when we finally got to Berkeley, all I wanted to do was see my new place and start living the dream. She wanted to eat, socialize, and walk around Berkeley. So I was a spoiled, whiney little brat until I got all my stuff moved in. For her, going to Berkeley was a vacation. For me, it was business. I am a type-A personality and when I know something needs to be done, I can't relax until it's done. I'm very much like Vicki in that sense. I was pretty irritated with my mom throughout the trip because in the back of my mind I was sorting out all the things I still had to do — pictures to hang, couches to move, refrigerators to fill. My mom's very laid back when it comes to moving, (she's a realtor and it is something so common to her) but I am not. Moving can be a stressful time for most people, just not for my mom. At the end of the trip, I just thought back and laughed at all the ridiculousness. I called Colton and told him all the "Jeana-isms" that made the trip memorable. I swear, talking about my mom with my brothers is among my Top 5 Favorite Things to Do. She really is the most entertaining mother a girl could have.
My apartment is beautiful and I really am so lucky. I hunted the place down because it was gorgeous and appeared safe. I'm way up high in the building, so I feel very far from the city-life that can sometimes be a little frightening to a girl from suburbia. At night, a guy plays the saxophone on the corner below my place and I just open the windows and breathe the fresh bay air and listen to his music. I also get to wake up every morning and look out at the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge, and it makes me feel so fortunate. I'm extremely happy with my living situation. Berkeley really does have a lot to offer. Berkeley has opened itself up to me and I'm beginning to feel more welcomed and happy here. I've never been given any grief for what I said about Berkeley after my first semester here - most other students can relate to the loneliness and exclusion I initially felt. Apparently, a lot of students have a hard time adjusting during their first semester. I'm enrolled in 18 units so my workload is nuts right now, but it feels good to have the pressure on (it's kinda how I roll).
I feel like I need to address what my mother and I said about the homeless people in Berkeley. I know it may have been offensive, but calling a homeless person a "bum" is quite common. I didn't even realize it was offensive until I saw everyone freaking out about it on the blogs... I have heard this term since I was 6 by all different people so I assumed it was politically correct. Now that all the viewers have set me straight, I promise to watch my mouth. I do, however, have compassion for these people. When I have left over meal points, I go grocery shopping on my school meal point credits and drop it off in People's Park, which I admit is a little scary (don't judge me on that). I try to get soda and food for the nice man that sits on the corner of Telegraph and Bancroft (he's so sweet, he says "God bless you!" every time someone walks by). We’re living in a tough economy right now. I do what I can, considering I don’t have a lot of money. And no, I don’t have a lot of money. Minimum wage doesn't get you very far these days, which makes me sad to realize that most Americans can’t get help if they need it (as I can). My apartment is not “a penthouse," and yes, it's expensive, but so is everything in Berkeley. It's a city and the real estate is very desirable. I am spoiled, I will admit that. I can sometimes be a brat. But I am not without passion. I will not be accused of that. I don't always say the right thing, and I make inappropriate jokes (intensified on TV because I consider myself an entertainer and I try too hard to make people laugh). I have worked at homeless shelters before and I completely realize these are human beings with real feelings. Seeing young girls, without a home and family, study for the SATs was sobering. To realize that some girl sleeping outside, doing what she can for the next meal, worries about the same things that I worry about, was truly an awakening. It's true though, that some of the homeless people are drug addicts, and I’m sorry that they can't get the help they need, but that kind of problem frightens me. And even people who have homes and are addicted to drugs scare the crap out of me as well. That's a personal thing. Anyways, here's my apologies for offending anyone. You don't know me, so I thought I'd clarify that I do have a place in my heart for the helpless.
SIDENOTE: Go easy on my brother, everyone! We all know he doesn't always say the right things, but he is a good guy. He was really unhappy my mom brought the cameras to his game when he asked her not to. Shane sees things in black and white, and for him, that was unacceptable. He snapped and said some things he shouldn't have, but we've all been there. I know I've said many things I regret, and Shane's worst moments are magnified on TV. (And if I see ANYONE saying anything bad about my little Colton, I'll personally kick their ass. He's my mom's savior and he only cares about what's best for her. He gets on her case about what she eats because he hates to see her sad face as she looks in the mirror and says, "God, I'm fat." It's the most heart-breaking thing to have a mother with such destroyed self-confidence.) Shane is growing up and he's learning. We all are. So remember, although it's easy to criticize people you don't know, try to think about how YOUR words hurt them. Shane may seem insensitive, but we're not always what we appear to be. Also, don't criticize my mother's parenting! She's doing what she can, guys. It's hard to be two parents to three kids when there's only one of you.
Have a great week everyone, GO BEARS!