home from Pittsburgh

I love coming home from colder places. It always makes me appreciate L.A., even if it can be a bit of a hellhole at times.

I am far too tired and lazy to write up all my Adventures in Pittsburgh(TM), but I will cover some basics now and leave the rest for later. First of all, I was there to meet the boyfriend’s family, and they were absolutely wonderful. Paul grew up in the Pittsburgh suburbs, in a township to the west called “Moon” (no, really) by the airport. His parents, like mine, still have the same house they did before he and his brother were born. And I loved meeting his parents, and finding out where he came from, and exploring the ravine he and his brother played in as boys (their equivalent of my rocky beaches in Oak Bay).

However, the most hilarious parts of the trip came on Friday, when I got to eat a cheesesteak at Uncle Sam’s and visit the Senator Heinz Regional History Museum. Which was an excellent museum. ESPECIALLY the room devoted to – guess what – ketchup. Heinz history, which I suppose also represents the outsourcing of American kitchens to mass produced, commercially sold foods.

Other adventures took place. Pittsburgh was interesting in a lot of ways. Non West Coast America fascinates me – I am such a product of the West that it’s actually hard for me to connect the idea that I live in the same country as cities like Pittsburgh. But it was awfully similar to Seattle in some ways – including its history as the jumping off point for expeditions further west in 1800, just like Seattle was the outfitting point for expeditions to Alaska in 1900. And then, in other ways, it was very different, representative of the trends that took place in east coast America, especially the industrialized North, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Seattle, San Francisco, L.A., none of them ever had the industrialization transformation that east coast Northern cities did, simply because they were built post industrial era. And it was the east coast, not the West, that received the millions of immigrants from Europe in the 1900s, resulting in massive immigrant ghettoes of Jews or Italians or Irish. So visiting Pittsburgh was a refresher course in Post-Bellum America, because it was so typical of those sweeping trends that, eventually, took place in the South before they would take place in the Northwest.

I get distracted, I go on history tangents, it’s late, I should be asleep. But I’ll get through Pittsburgh eventually, and probably post more entries in the immediate future. It was a wonderful weekend though, with my much-loved boyfriend and his extremely kind family, and I’m sure that, because those are going to be my in-laws, Pittsburgh has not seen the last of me.

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