Obviously, the three of us are still attached to Buenos Aires after everything that we discovered and learned while we were there. It can be easy to get wrapped up in a place that you used to call home, even when you’re so far from it! That realization is the reason why I’m going to take a step back and focus on the place that we actually do call home these days: our beautiful, bipolar, historical, cultural (sometimes even Argentine!) Pittsburgh.
While considering what I love about Pittsburgh the most, the usual building blocks of a city’s personality came to mind – weather, restaurants, events, etc. Those things can be compared to the traits of any other city in the world, but do they really capture Pittsburgh? Not even. That’s because my favorite part of living in this big little city is observing what I like to call “Pittsburgh-isms” on a daily basis.
For those of you who were confused about the title of this post, yinz is the Pittsburghese word for y’all. Not many people actually use it seriously, but it’s written everywhere. If you’re lucky enough to get a real yinzer (guess where that came from) to talk to you, the word will slip out and be the most pleasant surprise you’ve had all day. When you catch yourself in this situation, make sure to steer the conversation towards the downtown (pronounced: dahn-TAHN) area for some more linguistic fun. There are various other grammar habits and bits of vocabulary that I find confusing and delightful every time I hear them. Do you need a buggy for your groceries? How about a gum band to keep your hair back? Be careful… the hills can get slippy! Oh, and how ’bout them Stillers?
Pittsburgh sports teams are not just a source of entertainment and city pride. They are a lifestyle. I would bet money that you could stand on any street corner and spot someone decked out in black and yellow without even straining your eyes. Days after games that the Steelers or the Penguins have lost, you can spot many a Pittsburgher moping around looking as if they just lost their family pet. Maybe even their own grandmother. Either way, it’s a big deal, and that’s inspiring! I may not be a pro sports fan, but anyone can appreciate the camaraderie and true loyalty coming from a city united by sports teams.
As I said, Pittsburgh is a big little city. It has all of the urban advantages, like cultural festivals and endless restaurant choices, yet maintains a hometown feel. That sort of environment lends itself to all kinds of weird possibilities that are oh so endearing. The infamous Primanti’s sandwich was invented here (and featured on Man vs. Food!).
The contrast of an extremely active arts scene with the shameless display of random Pittsburgh traditions is also fantastic. I’ve had the chance to see tons of great shows done by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Pittsburgh Opera, Quantum Theatre, artists living on Sampsonia Way, and Calliope. At the same time, I could go to a Pirates game on any given day during baseball season and root for Jalapeño Hannah in the Great Pierogi Race.
Are you feeling silly? Adventurous? Classy? Hungry? It really doesn’t matter if you’re in Pittsburgh! The steel mill grit has washed away to show the wacky personality of the city which I’m proud to call my second home.