I'm in the midst of planning an October trip to Chicago for a good friend's wedding, and it has me all nostalgic and wistful for the place. Well, that and poring over Priceline, scoffing and saying things like "That's what they want you to believe the inside of the Essex Inn on Michigan looks like?" and "If you've crossed a river you're no longer in the heart of the loop, Howard Johnson." Anyway, any prolonged thinking about Chicago gets me seriously down on Pittsburgh, and my current situation, so I thought to mitigate that feeling I'd focus on some things I like about Pittsburgh.
1. It's cheap. Housing is much, much cheaper, and food, drinks, groceries, and gas, are all noticeably less than they were in Chicago. Since half of the household is now on a student's budget, this is a welcome development.
2. The people are nice. Don't get me wrong, people in Chicago are nice too (SO nice), but it helps that the good ole yinzers in Pittsburgh are generally nice and mild-mannered. Case in point: a few weekends ago, on the way to my optometrist appointment, we got hideously lost trying to find something called The Waterworks. We called the office and they gave us helpful, detailed directions that got us there a mere half hour late. Totally our fault. They then called the patients in line behind us and asked if they could come in 30 minutes later than originally scheduled. When the woman whose scheduled time was right after mine showed up while they were still helping me, she cheerfully said she'd be happy to hang out at Caribou for a while until they were ready for her. That...probably would not have been my reaction had I been in her place.
3. I have a fan-freaking-tastic job. It's so different from the place I left in Chicago that the two are not even comparable.
4. There are a lot of easily accessible parks in the middle of the city, including two huge ones within a mile or so of our apartment. I often walk in one during lunch on weekdays, and run in or near the other on the weekends. Chicago has great parks, but they feel more urban than these, which are like little slices of wilderness.
5. It is relatively close to other cool stuff. We're within driving distance of a lot of great places: 4 hours to Niagara Falls, 5 hours to Detroit and DC, and under 6 hours to Philadelphia and Toronto. Having grown up in the middle of Texas, where it's a whole day's drive just to get out of the state, I'm in awe that everything in this part of the country is so close together. I foresee lots of road trips in our future.
So there you go. I managed to find five things I don't hate about Pittsburgh! At this rate I'll come to love it right about the time we have to move again.