Thursday, May 26, 2011

A love story.

In case you a.) don't live in Pittsburgh or b.) have been living under a rock, there are some exciting new things happening in my fair city. Some exciting new films, I should say. "The Dark Knight Rises" hasn't started filming yet (at least, I haven't heard anything...) but "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" has.

"Perks" is based on the novel by the same name, written by Upper St. Clair native Stephen Chbosky. The novel is based outside of Pittsburgh, which explains the filming (PS--they were spotted up the street from my office last week). While I loved the book for many reasons in high school, this will forever be the highlight for me:

There’s something about that tunnel that leads to downtown. It’s glorious at night. Just glorious. You start on one side of the mountain, and it’s dark, and the radio is loud. As you enter the tunnel, the wind gets sucked away, and you squint from the lights overhead. When you adjust to the lights, you can see the other side in the distance just as the sound of the radio fades because the waves just can’t reach. Then, you’re in the middle of the tunnel, and everything becomes a calm dream. As you see the opening get closer, you just can’t get there fast enough. And finally, just when you think you’ll never get there, you see the opening right in front of you. And the radio comes back even louder than you remember it. And the wind is waiting. And you fly out of the tunnel onto the bridge. And there it is. The city. A million lights and buildings and everything seems as exciting as the first time you saw it. It really is a grand entrance.

I don't know that I've ever read a better description of the feeling you get when you drive through the Ft Pitt tunnels and catch sight of the city for the first time. One of my favorite blogs, That's Church, captured it pretty well here. But nothing catches it quite like "Perks" for me.

He's right. It's absolutely glorious. I can't go through that tunnel fast enough to get to the other side and see my city. I've done that drive more times than I can count on all of my fingers and toes. But it really always feels like I'm seeing it for the first time. Except it's almost better, because I have this image in my mind of what it's going to be like and inevitably, Pittsburgh outdoes itself. Like the city got all dressed up just for me--took time to shine every pane of glass and replace every light bulb because somehow, Pittsburgh knew I'd be driving through that tunnel. But that's how it looks for everyone

I vaguely remember a time in high school where I didn't want to live in Western PA, but it was a fleeting moment. I've loved a lot about this City for a long time. However, it only occurred to me very recently that I can make a career out of loving Pittsburgh. Want me to plant some trees? Sure, will do. Need someone to tweet all day about what's going on in the City? Pass me a laptop (or iPad or smartphone or even a desktop...) and I'll get to work. I'll drive the street sweepers. Yinz guys, this place has my heart. I'll tell everyone I can that I'm working to make the City of Pittsburgh a better place.

And if any jagoffs question it, I'll drive them through the Ft. Pitt tunnel. Then they'll understand.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

If only I waited two more days...

I could have claimed a solid 5 months of no blogging. But then I realized that would make me a very, very bad blogger. So here goes a blog, LESS than five months after my last post!

A lot has happened in the past five months. They have flown. My sister & her family surprised my mom for Christmas. I can't for the life of me remember what I did in January, but I'm sure I had fun. February was a visit to my sister & a week of watching my niece. In March I turned 23, and my housemates and coworkers all made me feel very loved. Those three months--they went quickly.

April...April, I remember a lot better. My friends got married! Erika and Eric were married on April 9, and it was beautiful. It was such a wonderful chance to catch up with some of my closest friends. I spent the remainder of that weekend in Waynesburg, enjoying the parks and all of the green space on campus. What a beautiful, relaxing day that was.

That Monday, I was honored to be a panelist at the kickoff event for the Waynesburg University Department of Communication's PR Week. I, along with two other young alumni, gave brief presentations and honest, frank answers about being a young person in the field. It was so great to be able to give back to my alma matter in that way. The students, mostly freshmen, were quite engaged and asked excellent questions. Props to those students, and the WU PRSSA chapter, for being such great hosts.

April 15 was a big day for PULSE! We had our annual event, PULSEations, at Union Project. I was blessed enough to have friends, family AND coworkers attend the celebration, where we revealed some pretty big news...PULSE is adding a second house! We are expanding into neighboring Garfield, which will provide such an opportunity to continue our mission of cultivating young servant leaders to transform Pittsburgh. (PS...want to read about us? Check out former PULSEr/current PULSE board member/super cool person/friend Kate Stoltzfus' blog, Yinzpiration! You can even peek into our house!)

May has been exciting thus far. The Pirates, despite their best efforts, were one game over .500! What a glorious 24 hours that was. We're now one below that miracle number, but I bet we'll get there again. If not this year, maybe next. In the first three weeks.

A lot of people have been asking me about next year, and rightfully so. PULSE "graduation" is coming nearer every day. I have some exciting prospects, which I'm not quite ready to share with the world just yet. Know that I'm excited and confident that God is making some cool things happen for me here in the 'Burgh.

Quick story time: when I graduated from high school, my family came from far & wide to celebrate. After my party, a group of us gathered at my grandmother's house to continue celebrating. My cousin Ruth and her daughter Charlotte, both residents of Manhattan, were there. We showed Charlotte a postcard of New York City and asked her what it was. Her response? "My city!". That's how I feel about Pittsburgh, every time I see it.

What is Pittsburgh? It's my city. I've recently come to realize that my passion is this place and the people who live here. I want everyone to love this place as much as I do, and I want to commit my life to making that happen.

So here we are--one blog post down. Promise I won't make you wait 5 months for another.