Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Knowledge about Things

Over the months since I first announced we were seriously thinking of moving to a city none of us had ever lived in before, I've gotten a plethora of reactions.  Some of them, including our former family counselor, were without reservation happy for us, and they have encouraged us to pursue moving forward, not back.  Many others secretly, or not so secretly, assumed it was big talk from people in crisis, but that at the end of the day we wouldn't actually do it.  I have to confess, I sort of wondered that myself from time-to-time.  But, many other people furrowed their brows or gave us odd looks and asked some probing questions about the wisdom of what we are doing.  I gather from the questions I got, some very pointed, that they thought we were making a gigantic leap based only on faith, and that it was folly to do such a thing.  I do understand and appreciate their concern.  I don't resent the questions, I know they are made out of love or friendship.  But, maybe this will help those of you who fall into the latter group.

Things I Know:

  1. My little family is moving to Pittsburgh, PA.
  2. This is not a panacea for all that ails us.
  3. There will be things we like, hopefully love, about Pittsburgh (first thing I'm doing is getting a membership to the zoo!), but there are things that are not so lovely about it, just like any metropolitan area.  For example:  while Marissa and I were there three summers ago, a young girl was arrested for brutally murdering her father with a hammer (as I recall) after she and her brother had suffered years of abuse and she finally couldn't take it any more.  That same night the news featured an expose on the state of the city's bridges in light of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis.  Turns out, that's a big problem for a city with limited resources, but an almost limited number of bridges.  They showed one that is crumbling so severely, the falling pieces are captured in a net to protect the cars driving underneath.  Marissa and I looked wide-eyed at one another!  We had just driven under that very bridge on our way to Latrobe and would go under it again to get to Fallingwater.  Since I plan on going repeatedly to both those places again in my tenure as a Pittsburgh resident, I may have to become active in local politics to do something about that.  Point is, I am not naive that I am moving us to Valhalla.  It's a city: gritty in spots, shiny in others, dangerous in still others.  We will be strangers in a strange land, even me, having had a connection to it all my life.
  4. I will miss things about Austin.  As much as I spent the last three decades firmly believing I was out of my element and this place was not for me, it is home to many things I've become accustomed to and to almost all of my friends.  I can actually drive around many areas of town without getting terribly lost, and I will miss that.  For someone as directionally challenged as I am, this is no small statement.
  5. That's just me.  For Greg and Marissa, both born and raised here, cutting the cord is a whole other level of hard. 
  6. Turning my back on the place where my daughter was born and where she died will not change the fact that she is not with us.  I have to be careful, we all do, not to set our expectations too high on what it will mean not to have to drive by places on a daily basis that represent Kelsey and her Beast or worst still in its way, Kelsey before The Beast.  The pain of knowing how much Kelsey would have loved it in Pittsburgh - the art scene, the fact that she would be close to her dear friend Leslie, how it's easy to get to other interesting, dynamic areas like New York, Boston and Philadelphia just to name a few - will be something we will be struck with time and again.  I wonder how many times in the first year I will turn to Marissa or Greg and say, "Kelsey would have loved this."  I know it will be many.  I would have been better served steering us to the wilds of Montana if I wanted to avoided that.  She would have hated it there.
  7. There will be days when I am lost/frustrated/scared/pissed/simply having a bad day and I will say, "I hate it here!"  I imagine one or more of those times may come when I'm running late for work, and I can't get out of my snowed-in drive.
   Things I Don't Know:
  1. If Greg, born and raised in Austin, will be able to handle western PA once he gets there.  Particularly the winters, which he's only ever experienced in brief little spurts.  As an adult, I'm very much in the same boat.  I moved here when I was 19.  I haven't operated a snow blower on my own.  I lived in a small town where I could walk pretty much every where and was older than the norm when I got my driver's license.  I didn't deal with snow and ice and hills on a regular basis either, but I choose to do it now.  Greg's just more or less along for the ride - if you will. 
  2. What happens to us if he misses the Lone Star State?  I don't know.
  3. I don't know how to act when I'm just one of the crowd.  For all my life, I've been flying my Black and Gold flag in a foreign land.  I have to confess there's an edge to that.  I was a noticeable fish in a burnt orange pond, now I'll just be a little minnow in a big, big ocean.  Can I adjust?  Who can say?
  4. Can I learn to navigate in a whole new city after taking three decades to learn my way around this one?  Doubtful, but I did at least wait until there is such a thing as GPS to make another major move.
  5. How can I live without my deer?  I have no idea.  I watch them wander over to see what I put out for them in the evenings when I get home, and I think I must be nuts to be leaving them behind.  When my favorite comes by in her winter coat - a burnt umber, regal and beautiful - I think my heart would break if it weren't broken already by too many other things.
  6. I don't know how to use Yinzer appropriately in a sentence.
Maybe all that I know for sure is that it looks as though, come Monday, November 22, Marissa, Greg and I will own a home in Pennsylvania. 
I'll catch you on the other side of that transaction.

1 comment:

  1. I wandered over from Jen's blog (Jenn B Says) and guess what? I live in Butler, PA! North of Pittsburgh!

    So at least there's another blogger in the area. :)