I spent more than 30 years in Michigan with a brief residency in Philadelphia, when I discovered, whoops, I picked the right state but the wrong city.
I closed on my Mt. Lebanon home in January of this year. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
1) No amount of HGTV can prepare you for a DIY home. Built in 1974, my home is an awkward teenager compared to the stately homes in the Historic District. I’ve spent the last past several months waiting for blue sinks to come back into style, but I can feel a major reno coming on.
2) There’s a cultural expectation to care about sports. I spent three decades not watching the Detroit Lions, so this baffles me. Thankfully, my college anthropology classes, though serving no official prerequisite purpose, gave me the tools to blend in through the analysis and reproduction of typical fan behavior. I still can’t explain what a Terrible Towel is or why someone would want one, but I’ve managed to develop an effective three-pronged game strategy of yelling, snacking and drinking. Go Steelers!
3) The Caramel Chocolate Popcorn from Pittsburgh Popcorn Company is a food group. And the medium is a serving size. Fight me.
4) The South Hills are aptly named and their existence balances my recent popcorn habit. The smug superiority I have over my Midwestern visitors as they catch their breath is hard won.
5) No one is worth crossing a bridge for. I tried BumbleBFF to meet friends after receiving my vaccination, and my 10-mile search radius has proven too far a trek for awkward coffee meetups. I will only be accepting offers of friendship within half a mile of my home, work or Giant Eagle.
6) Two dogs just isn’t enough. I calculated that if my former Philadelphia residence comfortably fit two dogs in 1,100 square feet, my four-bedroom Mt. Lebanon property can easily support a third. That’s basic math.
7) The people here are warm, helpful and incredibly kind. Whether it is a coworker helping me sound out “Monongahela,” a neighbor offering his gardening advice or a crossing guard leading me across Washington Road as I balance my coffee and umbrella, you know how to make a girl feel welcome. It’s only been six months, but I already feel a part of yinz.