Goodbye Pittsburgh Part Three (The End)

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“Always Coming Home”

Please bring strange things.

Please come bringing new things.

Let very old things come into your hands.

Let what you do not know come into your eyes.

Let desert sand harden your feet.

Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.

Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps

and the ways you go be the lines on your palms.

Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing

and your outbreath be the shining of ice.

May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.

May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.

May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.

May your soul be at home where there are no houses.

Walk carefully, well loved one,

walk mindfully, well loved one,

walk fearlessly, well loved one.

Return with us, return to us,

be always coming home.

  – Ursula K. Le Guin

As it turns out, Pittsburgh wasn’t quite Burghtopia…and so this blog is done. Goodbye Pittsburgh, I’ll enjoy visiting you again, but it’s time to live somewhere else.

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Goodbye Pittsburgh Part Two

Really, photos tell the Pittsburgh story best. It is a photogenic city, and I will probably miss that most of all.

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Grey, overcast June day from West End Overlook

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Mural in Troy Hill

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Bloomfield with West Penn Hospital from under the Bloomfield Bridge in Polish HIll

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Downtown and the Point from the water – Gateway Clipper Cruise, June 2015

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Smithfield Street Bridge from Station Square. I love the infinity design of this bridge.

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They love their dinos here. Near the radiology center in Shadyside.

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Sculpture near the Braddock Carnegie Library.

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From the West End Overlook on a cold, clear day in January.

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Sculpture near the Oakland Carnegie Library.

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Big old church in the Strip District.

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Falling down church in the Larimer/East Liberty area.

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Statue grave yard at the Mattress Factory.

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Randy Land

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Typical row of houses in Lawrenceville, PA

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Woods…Frick Park.

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Mural on Penn Ave in Garfield: From alley to hallway, from Negley to Fern two clans on the same land and no one returns the phone calls of the other (cause some folks never learn) whether latte or 40 whether player or punk unremember your learnings forget what you thunk cause times are a’ changin’ your myths are debunked it’s progress no losses cause everything’s fine. Davu Ayomi

Recent Photos

Just a few recent photos:

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The Allegheny Observatory, a pretty neat place. I want to go back to see the stars when it’s open.

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The original Carnegie Library in Braddock, PA. It is an impressive building with so much history. They loan out giant puppets and even art as well as books. The librarians are nice and enthusiastic and they have a space for artists to come work, a pottery studio and are renovating an auditorium space. Very cool!

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Phipps – a reliable place to get some relief from the gloom and doom of January in Pittsburgh.

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Koi pond in the Orchid room at Phipps. Tranquil.

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A tour of the beer-making process at Penn Brewery. And, we came home with a filled growler.

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Phipps Conservatory, a lovely, warm place to spend a day in mid winter.

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Cool flower on a tree at the Phipps. So bright!

 

Bloom Where You’re Planted – Part Four

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Bloom Where You’re Planted – Part Four

We’ve been in Pittsburgh just shy of two years. I think it’s only been in the last six months or so that I have felt comfortable in this place and feel like getting from one place to another is second nature. I’ve found a dentist, and a doctor and a vet and I’m working and volunteering and I feel like I’m met a couple of friends too. But…it doesn’t necessarily feel like “home” and I am not sure it ever would. We travelled quite a bit this last year, and our trips to the west really did prove to us that we need to be living somewhere on the western side of the country. It is just home to us, and we feel best there. The draw of being close to family and to things we know and love is just to great for us to stay in Pittsburgh. So, although we’ll be moving west this year sometime, here is a list of the things I’ve learned I like about Pittsburgh and some things that have made it really hard to settle in here.
Pro’s
  1. People – Folks in Pittsburgh are friendly. I think more so than in the west. There’s always a few cranky people anywhere you go, but for the most part, people here are welcoming and helpful.
  2. Architecture – I am a fan of the cool houses and buildings in Pittsburgh. There is so much more history and charm here that makes neighborhoods and the city very interesting.
  3. Work – Rich likes working with people in his office, and I have started working again and I really enjoy the people I work with and my clients. I think this is a great city for someone in my career, as I think massage therapy is growing here. It is convenient for Rich to travel overseas from here as well, that is a big plus.
  4. Adventure – I’ve enjoyed getting to know Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. The history and topography are different and interesting. The last two years have been a learning experience, it’s been good for my brain to find new adventures and see new sights. I love the Phipps Conservatory and the Carnegie Library and the Heinz History Center. I particularly enjoyed McConnell’s Mill, Raccoon Creek State Park, Lake Moraine and Lake Erie.
  5. Personality – Pittsburgh has personality. I like its quirks. The Pittsburghese, the narrow, crooked and winding streets, the unique neighborhoods, the parking chair, the sports fandom…these are all charming to me.

Con’s

  1. Distance from Family – It has been disconcerting to be so far away from family. I don’t bond easily with new people, so I think I need my family more than some people might. I don’t need to live next door to them (necessarily), but closer would be better.
  2. Weather – This last year was better than the first year we were here, more mild both during the summer, and so far, this winter too. But, I’m still not a fan of the grey skies and the humidity. I miss truly blue-sky days.
  3. Trash/Garbage/Grit – One of the hardest things for me. If it had been cleaner here, I would have had a much easier time adjusting to life here. It is just a fundamentally different philosophy about garbage and recycling and not messing up where you live.
  4. Driving/Getting Around – Narrow roads and huge potholes. The roads just aren’t very well taken care of here. It’s a minor thing and I could live with it, but I’d rather not.
  5. Noise – We live on a busy noisy street and our squeaky floors STILL drive me crazy. Granted, this could have been solved by simply moving to a quieter neighborhood and a less noisy house, so I’m not sure it really should count against Pittsburgh in general, but in our situation, it was a definite con.
  6. Physical Symptoms – Going out to eat is a treat, and I haven’t found my place(s) here. Despite everyone we know in Pittsburgh raving about the food, it tastes bland to me plus half the time we go out to eat, I feel sick. I think I’ve also caught more colds/viruses here too, and don’t get me started on the flu I had last year…I don’t remember ever being that sick. My allergies have been better here, but overall, I just don’t feel truly well here. I can’t always put my finger on it, but I can’t ignore that I don’t feel my best here.

I have been very sad lately that Pittsburgh hasn’t worked out for us. I really, really wanted it to. And, I feel like I’ve invested of myself in Pittsburgh. I’m proud of the fact that I tried. And, I do like some things about Pittsburgh, which makes it even harder to wave the white flag and move away. I’ve been sad for weeks (months, really) and it is time to stop feeling sad that Pittsburgh isn’t a fit and to invest the energy in finding what is. I’ll keep you posted.