Monday, July 14, 2008
I spent a mere 5 years of my life in Pittsburgh, but the fondness that I have for the city would make one think I spent a lifetime there. While in Pittsburgh I completed my undergraduate degree at Duquesne University. My major was Sociology with a concentration in Social and Political Policy, most people who know me aren't at all surprised by this. Truth be told - I transfered to Duquesne for their Athletic Training program. After finishing up my undergrad and not having any real idea with what I wanted to do I decided to enroll in Duquesne's graduate program. I completed what is called a Masters Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies before deciding that I needed a little more practical application in my studies, so after finishing the certificate I "dropped out".
I spent the next year working as a Theraputic Support Staff for a social service agency, Community Alternatives. And one of my favorite jobs, working as a Starbuck's Shift Manager/Barista. (Look for future posts on these two job experiences...)
I lived on Mt. Washington for awhile, on Lelia Street. (I lived on the second floor of the red brick building - it came complete with a front and back porch. The front porch was great for hangin out because you were so high up not many people thought to look up. And in true Pittsburgh form we had a recliner out there, so it was perfect for reading and just plain ol' relaxing. The back porch was great becasue it was surrounded by tree branches, so one naturally felt as though you were in a tree house - at least that is what I pretended. And I also did some time up in Allentown, living on Knox Ave. (if you look at the street view on the map, my house was the white one with the green and white awnings over the windows). I miss my backyard in both of these spaces.
People have often asked if I'd move back to Pittsburgh and while I consider it, it seems so far from a reality. There are plenty of times I miss Pittsburgh more than I thought possible...times when I am riding my bike home from work or walking aimlessly through Brooklyn. Sometimes it forces me to swallow the lump in my throat and keep on keepin on. I often think about what it is that I love so much about the city...is it the water, never too far from a feeling of cleansing; was it the character of the City of Steel: dirty, gritty, grey, cold, a preception of struggle for its continued breath, the hills, the greenery, the well defined neighborhoods? Was it the connections I forged there, the people, my friends, the strangers?
People often ask me where I am from, I never answer the question - there is no answer. Here's a break down: Born = Warrington England followed by a move to Eich Germany, a shift to the states where I spent a brief couple of months in upstate NY, followed by a move to Howell, NJ (I was there from age 4.5 until the summer before 6th grade), then it was down to Northern VA (6th grade through high school), 1 year of college in VA and then a transfer to Pittsburgh...5 years in the 'burgh followed by a year of transition in North Jersey and then a move to big NYC, I've been here for 3 years. People tell me that since my formative years were spent in VA that should be my answer, however I feel as close to "from Virgina" as I do saying I'm from Japan. Don't get me wrong, I have fond memories of VA but I'm not from there. I will continue to answer the question with a sly, "I ain't got roots."