Dec 07

Our first year in Pittsburgh


muellers / Pixabay

It’s been a little over a year now since my husband and I got married and relocated to the Greater Pittsburgh area from New Jersey for his new position. We were sad to move away from our families and friends, but excited about beginning our new married life together in a new city. We live in a great neighborhood surrounded by nice neighbors and have settled into our everyday life. We’ve enjoyed the adventures that come with learning a new area (Thank goodness for GPS!) and realize that we still have so much more to learn.

Entering into our second year here, I thought it would be fun to look back and talk about some general observations and things I learned so far.

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People are so NICE and welcoming! This was one of the first things that we noticed when we came to visit before moving. I remember an early Saturday morning we were walking in the city and stopped to check GPS on our phone because we were a bit lost. While standing on the sidewalk, two different cars stopped to ask us if we needed any help. That is simply unheard of for those of us from the NY/NJ area – at least in my experience. Since then, I found that people here are always willing to lend a helping hand, provide recommendations and advice, and offer a simple smile and hello.

There really is a Welcome Wagon! I always thought that this was just a saying. But soon after moving into our home, we were visited by folks from two different welcome wagons. Who knew? No, they did not arrive in actual wagons, but they did come bearing gifts, coupons, deals, and promotions from local businesses. I have to admit I was a bit reluctant to open the door at first. I thought they were solicitors and we were just too new to the area to sign up for any memberships or services. But it turned out they just wanted to provide us information and resources. It was a great introduction to the various businesses and services in the area.

Steelers Fans are everywhere! Yes, obviously! It’s been fun being in a city where the home team is so loved all year around and seven days a week. Back in NJ it’s a bit different. There are Giants fans, Jets fans, and a smattering of other team fanatics. But here, Pittsburghers are not shy about declaring their allegiance.

20141221_121704_resizedThe added benefit about living here in Steelers Country is that it is neutral territory for us! I am a long-suffering Cowboys Fan and my husband is a Giants fan (Yes, I married him anyway lol). So having an AFC team to cheer for has kept peace in our marriage during football season 🙂

Driving in Pittsburgh is different than driving in NJ. Living here you learn very quickly about the “Pittsburgh Left” and four way stops. Both are very simple! When stopped at a light at an intersection, once the light turns green, the first car usually allows the opposing first car to make a left turn (The Pittsburgh Left) prior to proceeding through the intersection. I see this done in the majority of instances. However, I recently learned that you are not necessary obligated to give the “Pittsburgh Left,” but do take it if it is offered to you.

Four way stops are quite efficient. There seems to be more of them here than NJ. These stops operate like well-oiled machinery. Basically, whoever arrives at the four way stop first has the right of way and gets to go next. These stops are taken seriously so do pay attention and do not go out of turn as I did one time. I still remember how a FedEx driver was visibly irate with me for making that mistake. Oops, sorry Lol!

Also, here is a driving idiosyncrasy I noticed that I am still trying to figure out. I do not understand why drivers do not pull a little into the intersection when waiting to turn left at a light. If you are there, you can at least make the turn when the light turns yellow or red instead of waiting for the next light. That’s what we do in Jersey so this drives me a bit nutty! Is there some law here I don’t know about?

If you blink, you will miss summer! Growing up in NJ, I’d gotten use to some brutal winters. Every year I would vow that it would be my last NJ winter and I would move someplace warm and toasty. But life has a way of happening and here I am in western PA. Not exactly what I imagined, but I was also not concerned about the weather because I did not think it would be much different than NJ. Boy was I wrong! I feel like we only had about two weeks of real summer with hot, hot days and warm nights. I really grew accustomed to the blazing hazy, hot, and humid days of August in NJ. Yet here it remained moderately warm with cool evenings. Then, in a flash, winter once again arrived.

There is a lot to do! Pittsburgh and the Greater Pittsburgh area does not disappoint when it comes to things to do. There are theaters, sporting events, museums, shopping, places to eat, yoga studios, fitness centers, parks, and more. We participate in many of these activities and I look forward to sharing those experiences with you.

I’m excited to see what the next year brings and to explore more of this great city! If you are a Pittsburgher and have some recommendations, please feel free to comment below.

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Copyright 2015 Nichole Michele