Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nothing Left to Lose

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.


Kaorichan said...

You're only 5 hours to Detroit!?! Let's meet up for a weekend sometime! We always talk about going to a Detroit Tigers game but we never really venture over there.

ReeseAnnaJean said...

I do this with Houston:
1. I really thought I'd miss winter more, but these easy 70 degree days take the hassle out of everything.
2. I've never seen a more eclectic place in my life. Pioneer mansions next to fifties clapboards next to modern beach houses. Very few zoning regulations, so people just do whatever they want -- and the result is kind of beautiful chaos.
3. Surprisingly, there are just as many independently owned bookstores, restaurants and boutiques as Chicago. I never set foot in a chain here.

I think these little exercises are definitely useful in keeping up the positivity!!

Lauren Margaret said...

"I'm in awe that everything in this part of the country is so close together" -- this, in a nutshell, is why I'm crazy about the East Coast :)

It's really admirable that you focused on the good things about where you are now instead of where you want to be!

Now come take a road trip to DC! haha

Amber Dushman said...

if you need a hint of chicago architecture/history, make a trip to falling water. only a hour and a half away from pittsburgh. preceded by a reading of "loving frank".

iris said...

There's a Burgatory at the Waterworks! Alcoholic milkshakes!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I'm glad you're seeking out the silver lining. Oh so tough to find when you've just left a love behind.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Yea for finding some positive aspects of living in Pittsburgh. I am envious of the fact that you are driving distance from so many cities. I struggle w/ the same thing in the midwest that you struggled w/ in Texas... It's a long drive to get anywhere worth visiting!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

That's good to see the positive things! Sometimes it's hard!

I find it funny that you talk about the easy driving distances. My boyfriend is from MA and they can drive through 6 states in the time it takes me to get to Los Angeles!