From California Girl to Pittsburgher

The best thing about moving is starting over.  I loved the “clean slate” feeling.  I loved the fact that nobody knew me.  Nobody asked me what I was planning to do with my education degree.  I don’t find myself explaining that between the limits of my degree and utter lack of desire to explain punctuation to ungrateful high-schoolers, teaching is no where in my near future. (Looks like I got that off my chest! haha)

On the other hand, there’s the part of moving where I have to figure out where everything is.  Luckily, I had my husband to show me around, but Pittsburgh was quite a move.  I realized that I had to not only get used to a new city, but a new culture.


  • Sports culture.  For the small time that I cleaned houses, I came to the conclusion that everyone has framed picture of some Pittsburgh stadium in their home. I’ve never lived somewhere with such loyalty to local teams. Californians don’t like one specific team when it comes to anything. Not everyone in San Diego was a Chargers fan, not all people in LA like the Dodgers etc.
  • Driving. I live off William Flynn Hwy, that ‘s what all the signs say anyway. Nobody calls it William Flynn Hwy.  They call it Route 8. I have yet to see any signs that say Route 8. Whatever.  Not to mention the lack of left turn lanes. As a newbie driver, there is nothing more terrifying than stopping my car with my left turn signal on  as cars maneuver their way around me at  forty miles per hour while I wait for a break in traffic big enough to make my turn. Not to mention the fact that now I have to worry about deer jumping in front of my car when I drive home from work, that’s definitely a first.
  • City pronunciation. Not too far from where I live are the cities of Carnegie and Versailles. Carnegie is not pronounced like Andrew Carnegie, or like a Carnegie Library, it is instead pronounced car-NEG-ee.  One would also assume that Versailles is pronounced just like the palace in France. False. It’s said ver-SAILS.
  • Talking the Talk. I really don’t know everything about the “Pittsburgh accent”, but there are some things I have noticed:

– the long O’s. “So, I went hoooome at four-thirty.”

– It’s not “you guys” or “y’all” it’s “yins”. For real.

– The sentences that sound like questions. Some people have this upward inflection at the end of their sentences. It makes “You went to the gym already” sound like “You went to the gym already?”

And, I love it here! It is beautiful. Every route is a scenic route. The people are really nice (When I’m not wearing my Dodger shirt anyway.) Pittsburgh is a great city; I’m excited to make a life here.

What are some new things you had to get used to after moving?

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Four Annoying Girls & How to Deal With Them

  1. The “Giggly” Girls: I think Audrey Hepburn said it best in Sabrina when she is hiding in a tree watching her crush flirt with one of these ditzy types. “I hate girls who giggle all the time” Me too, Audrey. Me too.
    1. How to Spot One:
      1. They are overly optimistic, and are most likely smiling.
      2. They or their friends probably work for the Dean of Women’s office.
      3. Usually morning people. Freshman usually sing in the morning, most likely a Disney song.
    2. How to Deal:
      1. DON’T: Use sarcasm. Most of the time it will just go over their heads. Stay away from comments that you’re going to have to spend more time explaining than delivering.
      2. DO: Use basic words and open your eyes unnaturally wide, while adding an occasional smile or head nod. Mirroring body language makes for more effective communication.English: Studio publicity portrait for film Sa...
  2. Me-Monsters/ One-Uppers: Comedian, Brian Regan aptly labeled this type the “me-monsters”, and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate moniker for this self-absorbed sort. Everybody has a Me-Monster in their life. You can spot them as soon as you start a conversation. Their injury is just a little more severe than the one you experienced, their student-teaching is a little harder than what you have to teach, their day has been just a little more eventful than your day.
    1. How to Spot One:
      1. For every story you share, they have a more severe, more extreme experience that will always top your story.
      2. They only use first-person pronouns.
    2. How to Deal:
      1. DO: Make the whole conversation about them to begin with. Don’t try to share any personal information unless you want it belittled and pushed to the side by some bigger and better experience.
      2. DON’T: Try to “One-Up” their story. They will think of some relative or close friend that has a crazier experience. This will go on until you let them win.
      3. DO: Just walk away. Watch Kristen Wiig’s “Penelope” skits on SNL. You’ll laugh at this exaggerated portrayal of Me-Monsters and be reminded that nobody likes them.
  3. The “Selfie”-Obsessed: Pretty people who feel the need to remind you how good-looking they are by posting at least one picture of themselves a week.
      1. How to Spot One:
        1. On Facebook:
          1. They change their profile picture at least once a week.
          2. They might down play some compliment in the comments section.
            1. “You look gorgeous!”
            2. Reply: “Oh my goodness! I look so gross in this pic!”
        2. On Instagram:
          1. They always take a self-portrait to document menial events in their lives.
            1. “I really need coffee (duck face)”
            2. Inspirational quote + self-portrait
          2. Most of their feed is face shots.
          3. Most of their pictures receive a considerable amount of likes.
      2. How to Deal:
        1. DON’T: Like these pictures. As you can imagine, this only encourages more “Selfie” behavior and posts in the future.
        2. DO: remove these people from your feed if they annoy you. You can keep them on your feed for a good laugh.
  4. The Strained Personality: People who try to be funny/smart/cocky but just aren’t.
    1. How to Spot One:
      1. Most likely this person will try to use unnecessary hashtags on Facebook in an attempt to be witty.
      2. They misuse hashtags by applying spaces between words or apostrophes.
        1. #I’mSuchANerd
        2. #Smart Girl Problems
      3. They misuse Meme Humor in an attempt to be culturally relevant.
        1. The Most Interesting Man in the World
        2. Conspiracy Keanu
        3. Bad Luck Brian
      1. How to Deal:
        1. DON’T: encourage this behavior by liking these posts.
        2. DON’T: Remind them that hashtags are irrelevant on Facebook. You won’t be the first or the last to point this out.
        3. DO: Sometimes the “Do not show in News Feed” is the answer to everything.

My Alphabetical Ode to Autumn


Baked goods. I know, talking about food right off the bat. Summer desserts involving ice cream don’t go well with my lactose intolerance. After the crazy heat waves we get in the summer, fall is the first time it’s okay to even turn on your oven.

Color palette. I wear “fall colors” all year. September is probably the first time in the year I don’t look completely out of place. I get to proudly don my mustard yellows. navy blues and burgundies.

Decor. Dorm life is a bit restricting (budget and space-wise) when it comes to decorating. Not to mention that everything I think constitutes fall decor is a fire hazard, except pumpkins. Thanks to my roommate we have two pumpkins right now; that’s our fall decor this year. Since I can’t decorate my dorm room, I decorate my imaginary house on Pinterest instead.

Excitement. A good friend of mine once said that the only reason we go back to school is to see your friends and show off your new clothes. So true. Every year I rush back to school, talk to all my friends, show off some new threads and think “okay, I’m done now. I can go home now. ”

Fashion. I already mentioned that the colors for fall are amazing. I have a ridiculous scarf and cardigan obsession that I don’t get to put to practical use for six months out of the year. Fall is the perfect weather to satisfy my fetish. It’s cool enough to wear a cardigan, but not cold enough to have to wear a jacket over it. Perfect.

God Loves Me Sign – Thunderstorms! I know that’s weird, and some people consider thunderstorms to be more scary than inspiring. I don’t remember when I officially declared thunderstorms as my  God-Loves-Me Sign, but since then I can’t even tell you how many times I was having a bad day, and  I would look up to the sight of lightning illuminating the sky. God was telling me He loved me:)

A pumpkin carved into a jack-o'-lantern for Ha...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Harvest Fest. Our college hosts three major  “dating activities” every year. The first event of the year is a trip to the apple orchard that we call “Harvest Fest.” We visit the orchard, eat some amazing pumpkin donuts, get lost in a corn maze, laugh at people falling off the mechanical bull and just have fun.I really enjoy it. Growing up in California, I thought the only thing that marked a season change was the calendar. One of my favorite things about moving to the Midwest is enjoying the season changes.

Imagery. As I’ve mentioned a couple times already, I grew up in Southern California. It’s great, like a perpetual summer. That said, the first time I saw a true autumn was three years ago. I was so awed by all the beauty in the colors everywhere. Now that it’s my fourth autumn here I appreciate it even more. I like to take advantage of the days I can look outside and see grass on the ground and leaves on the trees, because I realize that pretty soon winter’s going to come and kill everything by freezing it to death and covering it with snow. Such a downer, right?

Jack-O-Lanterns. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays (if you can call it that.) Since I’ve been in college I haven’t been able to dress up or go to any haunted houses. Thanks to Pinterest I have enough ideas to host Halloween parties for the next three years. Who doesn’t love strobe lights, dry ice, haunted walk-throughs, cheesy slasher movie marathons, and mounds of candy?

Kicks. Boots are amazing! They’re the attractive transition between sporting my toe rings via flip-flops and layering three pairs of socks and snow boots.  Best part? They’re comfy and look good. Win! Can’t forget about tights. They’re great when I’m all out of nylons, and now the black and  brown is socially acceptable again, I can wear them with anything!

Leaves. I know I already talked about them a little bit in imagery, but they are one of my favorite things about autumn. I love them so much they need to have their own category. They are beautiful. When I was moving here after high school graduation, aside from all the warnings about cold weather, everyone made some comment about me getting to “experience the seasons” for the first time. When I look at the trees outside, I know exactly what they meant.

Motivation. Every year I come to school with a new planner for my homework and good intentions; both are usually gone by November. I set the same goals for myself every year: I’m not going to procrastinate, I’m going to study for all the tests ahead of time, and I’m going to keep track of all my assignments. I have yet to reach the “all” part on any of those, but I’ll give myself enough credit to say that there has been slight improvement over the years. It’s just that the motivation and drive I come to school with just doesn’t seem to make it to Thanksgiving. Ever.

Nerd weather. You know what I mean- that cold and rainy weather where you just wanna curl up on the couch with a good book and some coffee? Yes. Except during school I only have textbooks which I have to read and therefore cannot enjoy (ha ha); also the lack of a

Autumn is back

 (Photo credit: Geekr)

private couch doesn’t help.

One hour more of sleep! It’s the “fall back” one:) The daylight savings time where you try to convince your dorm supervisor that you can actually stay out until eleven, because “technically” it’s ten (I’ve tried it every year, never works.) You get to go have an extra hour of  sleep and actually wake up rested on Sunday morning.

Pumpkin Spice! There is no better way to start a morning than with pumpkin spice creamer in my coffee. Makes the day tolerable. I try not to get too carried away with the whole pumpkin spice thing; last time I went to the orchard (refer to H), we ordered half a dozen pumpkin donuts, and silly me ordered a pumpkin spice cappuccino. You can’t wash down pumpkin spice with pumpkin spice. Lesson learned.

Quick Semester. Advice to freshmen: if possible, take your hard classes in the fall. The semester starts in September and ends in the middle of December with a couple breaks in between. The semester is too short for the teacher to cover all the necessary material; therefore they can’t teach a lot, and since they didn’t cover a lot of information, the tests don’t cover a lot of information.  All of the teachers trying to cram information and assignments into that small span of time really makes the semester fly by.

Soup! I know, again  with the food. The college dining hall usually serves three different meal options at lunch. It’s a good idea, but the problem is they serve all their good options on the same day and all their bad meals on the same day as well. So, the lines are always backed up because people are trying to weigh which is the best choice, or which is the most edible. During the fall and some winter they have soup! It’s great for the days when all the lines are completely ruled out because they are serving either fish, spaghetti, or zucchini I have another option!

Thanksgiving. A holiday devoted to food? Yes. Okay, I realize that wasn’t the original intent of Thanksgiving, but that is what it is today. It’s a time to gather with our loved ones, enjoy a meal and count our blessings.  It’s all about the three f’s: Family, Food, and Football.

Umbrellas. I love them. They have practical uses such as: stopping rain, acting as a weapon if necessary, or getting someone you don’t like completely drenched (on accident of course!)

Verge of graduation.  Two-hundred and five days from now, I will be a college graduate. I’ll be able to make coffee wherever I want, not worry about wearing a robe in the hallway, or calling my peers “miss”. As the end of this semester comes, I’ll be halfway there!  I’m sure as I walk down to receive my diploma all of the crazy things I’ve gone through will be worth it.

Wind. The wind is so perfect in autumn. It’s not as hot and humid as it is the summer, but it’s not Chicago winter cold where you can feel the breeze go right through you. So, I like to enjoy this 3 month span of time where it’s enjoyable to be outside.

X.  I have no idea what to write for x. I have no knowledge about xylophones or x-rays.

Yearning for the holidays. Fall semester is great because you have two holiday breaks to look forward to!  I’ve only gone home for Christmas, but I’ve enjoyed spending Thanksgiving with my local friend’s families over the years. Of course, no one is complaining about the days off school either:)

Zombies! They go hand in hand with this season, right?  Halloween is this month and the new season of the Walking Dead just came out. Also, zombies start with Z, and I think that’s a good note to leave off on:)

The Listology of Autumn

I don’t have favorites.  I think in lists:  “My Top 10  All-Time Favorite Movies”,  “5 Things I Would Bring to a Deserted Island”,  “10 Places I Want to See Before I Die” etc.  Point is,  I list things.  If you read my last post you are aware that I am not quite ready for Summer to end just yet.  So….I decided to psyche myself up by thinking of ten things that I love about fall.

  1. A New Start.  I love starting over:  school, life, job, relationships (you get the idea.) Every new school year we are guaranteed that.  A new beginning. Last year, last semester, the summer, it’s all in the past.  All that matters is the present and the future and what you bring to it.
  2. The Weather.  I know, I know, I always talk about being a California girl and soaking in the perpetual sunshine under a palm tree, BUT there is a world out there with more than one season!  One thing I have learned to enjoy is the feel of Autumn air. It’s cold, crisp and refreshing.  I go on walks around the lake just to breathe it in.
  3. Sweaters! Yes. Random I know, but I have a lot of them.  I don’t ever get to wear them.  It’s never quite cool enough to be a sweater day.  Especially when I’m only home for the summer.  So there they lay, in my closet, waiting to be worn.  I love how versatile they are.  They can be dressed up or dressed down so easily. I am all about easy outfits 🙂
  4. The People. I realize that people came after sweaters.  Well, sometimes sweaters are easier to deal with than people?  I do love people and especially that first week back.  I love everyone.  I get so happy to see familiar faces that I find myself throwing my arms around girls that I claimed “got on my nerves”.  I just want to see everyone, hear what everyone has been up to.  Catch up.
  5. Thunderstorms! If there’s one thing Indiana can do well is bring on a great thunderstorm.  I love it. Whether I’m inside or outside doesn’t matter. The sound of thunder excites me!  It’s my God loves me sign. When I see that bright flash across the sky I don’t really know what else I’m supposed to think of.  My God did this, what can yours do?
  6. Scarves, Layering, accessories. I like the way scarves look. They are easy to throw on when I can’t find a necklace to match.  Problem is I feel ridiculous sporting one in this heat. The practical use of a scarf aside from garnishing an outfit is to keep the neck warm. Here I can assure you I have no problem with that.  I don’t really need to be kept warm at all.  The sun takes care of that very well thank you.
  7. Dressing up again. All summer I’ve thrown my hair back (before I got it cut anyway) and threw on some flip-flops and I was ready to go.  No make-up, no jewelry, nothing.  The natural plain-Jane look flies here. I don’t mind it…it’s just that after a while I feel so bleh.  I miss getting ready because it made me feel like I had somewhere to go. Doing my hair, picking outfits and accessories, I enjoy it, I miss it.
  8. Dark Nails.  Summer is definitely not the time to bring out the EMO polish. For some reason in autumn I can paint my nails black and no one thinks anything of it. No one rushes over to pull my sleeves up in search of cuts or digs through my drawers for dark poetry. Everyone is in darker colors. It’s acceptable 🙂
  9. The Trench Coat!!:) I had wanted one for such a looong time. Khaki, double-breasted, belted and knee-length, and guess what my mother bought me just the other day? I was so excited! It’s so versatile, so timeless. I’m in love. I open my closet door just to look at it sometimes. To make sure it’s still there. I’m kidding of course. Or am I?
  10. The Leaves.  I never knew leaves could take on so many different colors.  It’s the visual symphony of nature. Our last glimpse of beauty before it takes on a snowy blanket for who knows how long. I remember on Sunday mornings looking down the streets in Chicago and seeing how the trees on both sides seemed to naturally frame these tunnels. The leaves falling over cars and the side walk. I don’t know how to explain it, but I loved it. I looked out the window every week of Autumn in search of that glimpse of picturesque suburbia.