Wednesday, April 3, 2013

what i've learned in pittsburgh

Last week I was telling a friend that I have not exactly loved my time in Pittsburgh but I had grown stronger because of it.  Later, I felt bad because Pittsburgh isn't an awful city, just the location + being away from family and friends + starting an entirely new chapter =not the most amazing time in one's life.  Sadly that's mostly what this city represents for me.  Pittsburgh actually has a lot to offer and there are many great things here, I'm just ok never really coming back (and I say that in the most loving way possible).  But to the point...I have grown stronger because of it.  And since I've been bogged down with some negativity lately I thought I'd turn my Pittsburgh experience into a positive one.  And now I will list all (most of) the things I've learned while living in Pittsburgh (some are life related and some are Pittsburgh-culture related):

  • How to make a Pittsburgh left (and darn-it if I don't do it just as well as the natives)
  • How to effectively drive in the snow
  • How to be more aggressive on the road in order to get by (sorry for all of those who have been affected)
  • How to parallel park (well just a little better)
  • Not to spend time in the Hill District after dark
  • What a crackhead looks like (that was experienced walking to my parking spot from my first job)
  • Lots of Human Resources stuff like health, life and dental insurance, bereavement leave, FMLA, PLT, 401k plans and other dumb acronyms (thanks, first job)
  • That I never ever want to have a career in HR
  • That I'm passionate about helping people with disabilities (thanks, second job)
  • That I'm passionate about non traditional women's ministries (WCN)
  • That I love taking care of little boys (thanks, Malones!)
  • What a pierogi is
  • What haluski is
  • That a Primanti sandwich is really delicious and also artery clogging (and don't you dare ask for it without slaw or fries because there will be consequences)
  • What yinz means (ugh, that word is like nails on a chalkboard to me)
  • Purchasing non-Heinz brand ketchup is a sin (oh well, I guess we're sinners :)
  • What the city looks like after the Steelers (pronounced: Stillers) have won the Super Bowl
  • What the city looks like after the Steelers have lost the Super Bowl (no one comes to work and the entire city is depressed)
  • What the city looks like after being put on lock down for the G20 summit...ghost town
  • That I can enjoy a Pirates game, even if I do always bring a Marie Claire just in case I get bored
  • That the downtown skyline really is beautiful
  • When someone says "dahntahn" they really mean "downtown"
  • What nebby means
  • A MAC machines is really an 80's term for ATM
  • That if your spouse is a student you can get discount tickets to pretty much any show that comes to town
  • Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh and the museum dedicated to him is pretty amazing (my fave museum in the city)
  • There are more bridges and tunnels than I have ever seen in my life
  • That if you accidentally cross a bridge or tunnel it's not the end of the world, you can probably turn around somewhere...probably
  • The Strip District and Shadyside aren't even remotely as sketchy as their names let on
  • That someone was doped up on something when they planned these city streets because more often than not they make no sense at all (see, there's even a Tumblr account dedicated to it)
  • I can crawl into most of the potholes in the city, and how to effectively dodge those potholes without hitting an oncoming car
  • How to pass a city bus
  • Memorize where all the "stop except right turn" signs are located and fly through them
  • You can turn an old church into a brewery and it's a pretty incredible place
  • That a dog really can be your best friend (love ya, Dixie!)
  • Driving up and down steep hills will not always feel like a roller coaster and you're not going to drop off the face of the earth on the other side (this is big time coming from a flatlands girl)
  • How to confidently navigate almost anywhere in the tri-county area
  • That I love books on CD
  • How to ice skate
  • That 16 degrees Fahrenheit is my breaking point for being able to comfortably (loose term) go outside
  • How to shovel snow
  • How to walk on icy/slushy sidewalks without pulling a muscle or breaking a leg
  • How to paint every room in my house
  • How to paint a porch
  • That I have a weird fascination with pulling weeds (love it)
  • That family really does mean the world to me
  • That true friendships are worth more than gold
  • That Yuengling is a great "go to" beer and since it's brewed in PA it's almost always the drink special
  • What orthodox Jews look like and what their customs/rituals are 
  • How to effectively clear a car of snow/ice
  • How to throw a Christmas party
  • How to not hit pedestrians even when they deliberately run in front of your car (I'm looking at you Oakland)
  • The ins and outs of an ECE doctoral program
  • That grad school really does consume your life
  • That I really love to read!
  • That a sunny day can cure almost anything
  • That the South really is humid and what they call humidity up here feels like a nice breeze
  • That there really is such a thing as Southern hospitality
  • But you can find nice people any where you are, you just have to look for them
  • That there are such things as hula hoop exercise classes and they're pretty fun 
  • That if you have a good support system, faith and (even somewhat wavering) inner strength then you can get through just about anything.


Anna said...

See, Pittsburgh IS pretty great! And look at everything you've accomplished!!

PamCakes said...

Love this Jessi!

Arielle said...

Great list! Especially loved the yinz! :)

Allison said...

love this! i've learned so much that i don't ever have to go there : )