so this friday i will return to pittsburgh, finally, after having been the farthest distance i've ever been from home and for the longest amount of time. my mom dropped me and my three suitcases off at pittsburgh international airport on september 5, 2007; i will return at 8:30 pm this friday, may 30, 2008.
i'm not moving back, only visiting. which sounds fucking surreal to say. i guess i had always thought about moving out of pittsburgh; i'd imagined myself in many places - penn state or washington DC in my high school days, berkeley in the days in college when i was convinced i needed a fresh start - but had never really come close to doing it, to leaving. until prague came up and i said - well i've got nothing better to do.
i suppose it's changed my outlook for the better. i think before i would have been content to stay in pittsburgh forever (and actually, part of me still feels that way. a little part of me wishes i had never left. sadly, there is something comforting about having such a provincial view of the world, and that is a feeling i'll never get back.) i wanted to settle there, even at the age of 23 (which, 9 months ago, i thought was old). but now i know that pittsburgh isn't going anywhere, and that what i really want is to live as many places as i can before it's too late, before i'm married (or in a serious relationship) with a family (which i want) and a "real" job (which, actually, will be my life's goal to avoid). a year here, a year there won't bother me. returning to pittsburgh, for the foreseeable future, will not be a move, just a visit.
which, let me tell you, feels awesome.
i guess it's a trite saying, but you really do have to move away before you realize how much home means to you. i've never loved every single thing about pittsburgh more than i do since i've been abroad and i've never wanted to go back as much. i cannot WAIT to indulge in all the things that i used to consider commonplace:
dr pepper (fountain drinks. free refills. and ICE.)
cheap beer and more importantly, mixed drinks at a comparable price
burritos (and mexican food in general)
chicken caesar wraps from hemingways
fast food options other than mcdonalds
being able to buy blue jeans that aren't ugly
shitty oakland bars with familiar faces
(and bars with jukeboxes)
the lack of graffiti (compared to here)
good old PAT transit, and actually riding in a car
the imperial system of measurement
around christmas i felt that spending almost $1000 to go back to a place for three weeks that i'd lived in for 23 years was a bit insane. now it's worth every penny. it kinda makes me enjoy being away, strangely: i always want to feel this excited to return there. this might sound stupid, but it's the kind of town you never really leave. (who do i think i am, don henley? was i born in the fucking hotel california? yeesh).
i want to go to as many places as possible so that someday i can tell my kids - trust me, this is the best city in the world.
but for now let me know if you want me to bring you some mac and cheese from boston market.
*homeward bound, simon and garfunkel