My grandfather always took the time to write out long, detailed letters for us when we’d go away to summer camp. I’d squeal with glee, 12 or eight or 13 years old and sitting in my wooden bunk bed, I’d rip open the envelope and proceed to try to decipher his loopy, now iconic handwriting and the love it conveyed. I suspect because of that, I became the token letter-writer among my friends, then later the email-writer and Facebook-messager and, most recently, the blog-writer. So to those who know me, it’s no surprise to see me in this new position of magazine-article-writer nor to hear that I’m thrilled about it.
I grew up in the community and while Mt. Lebanon is definitely my home, I never expected to work here. Since I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh more than two years ago, I’ve spent less than five months on U.S. soil. I taught English in a South Korean middle school for a year and a half, and then departed for five months of travel and work-for-accommodation in Europe–from Ireland and Germany to Albania, and some in-between. I moved back to Pittsburgh ready for something a little more permanent and meaningful; I wanted the opportunity to concentrate on and grow in my writing, which is how I ended up here at mtl.
I still crave being surrounded by foreign languages and people from time to time, but I’ve come back to Pittsburgh and Mt. Lebanon with multiplied appreciation for the town and everything it offers. Part of it has been finding pieces of the world here, in Persian cafes and pierogi stands. The rest has been realizing that even my small, “boring” hometown (Oh, how wrong I was in high school!) has a lot to offer. And that yes, the muffins from Uptown Coffee really might be the best in the entire world.
And now I get to work across the street from the world’s best muffins. I’ll be doing more than just writing for mtl; I’ll also be working with the magazine’s social media and taking photographs among a smattering of other responsibilities. But to see writing as part of my job description is a rush to the head. It brings me back to those summer camp days when I couldn’t wait to read Gramps’ letter, a huge smile plastered onto my adolescent face.
Except this time, I’m an adult, and I just can’t wait to go to work.