Shoutout To Pennsylvania!

I’m getting into this bad habit of warning my readers about poor writing due to exhaustion. That being said, I’m not ready to break that habit yet. See, Courtny got a job in Columbia, Missouri, which is awesome. The central time zone will be so clutch with primetime sporting events. The down side is that she starts on January 19th. Today is December 31st (at 1:30 AM), so that leaves less than three weeks until she starts. In that time, she needs to fill out all sorts of forms, find a car, find an affordable place to live, learn the area around Columbia (after all, she’ll be reporting on it), and fit in time to say goodbye to family and friends. If you know Courtny, you know she has 728 best friends, so that will be tough. As a sidenote, if I were her, I’d wait and see which friend did the best job of honoring me in my final days at home, and label her my singular best friend until another candidate one-ups her. So, Gabi, Katey, Bethany, Fran, Kelsey, Krystal, Chelsea, Hilary, Sears, Katie, Liz, Allie, Abby, Kristin, and whomever else I forgot… let the games begin. Where was I? Oh yeah, Pennsylvania. Well, PA, you really have become a 2nd home to me. Despite the horribly repetitive jokes about being a Browns fan, I managed to fall in love with you. I fell in love with a beautiful city, a beautiful girl, and a beautiful cheese pizza (plus ranch) every time I walked home from South Side. Sure, there are aspects I might never get over; I don’t know why people think pierogies are a Pittsburgh exclusive, the fact that people drive wheelchairs in the streets of Philly concerns me (in fact, a lot of Philly concerns me—fun city though), and BY FAR the most frustrating is also the most obvious—the Yinzer accent. 92% of the greater Pittsburgh area doesn’t speak English. I don’t know why “to be” is left out of every sentence. No, the clothes don’t need wershed. They need TO BE WASHED. I can already picture a lot of my favorite Pennsylvanians getting ready to smack me through their screens right now, so it’s time to pay them some compliments. Here it is, people: a one-blog summary of all the goodness Pennsylvania has brought me in the last four years.

 Nature

 “Ah, the sweet scent of coal in the morning.” I feel like most people think this way when they think of Pennsylvania. Well, I am happy to report that Pennsylvania smells nothing like coal. It smells more like an Eat’n’Park smiley cookie, which is to say, it doesn’t really have a distinctive smell. Was that intro pointless? Only if you consider debunking myths pointless. Anyway, Pennsylvania is a beautiful state, but I’m here to tell you about one spot that was better than all the rest. Why? Because there are very few places like it in the world. Consider this; there are 20 recognized dark sky parks worldwide. Of those 20, 12 of them are gold-tier dark sky parks. Cherry Springs State Park is one of those twelve. Now, I understand that I’m not here to educate, but to entertain, so I’ll cut to the chase: If you go to Cherry Springs on a clear night, you will see the best display of stars in your life. I don’t even know anything about constellations, but I know Courtny and I saw a ton. The shooting stars were seriously so bright that you could see trails of light behind them. You could see the Milky Way just how you can in those crazy awesome pictures. It was wild stuff. So, Pennsylvanians (and everyone else), go there.

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 Cities

 PA has two of the coolest cities around. For the big-city feel and a much better grid system, head to Philadelphia. If you want amazing beauty and some awesome bridges, head to Pittsburgh. If you want really cool architecture, you can’t miss. Great food? Can’t miss again. I didn’t get to Philadelphia often, so I can’t offer much wisdom on that front. Pittsburgh is different, though—I know everything there is to know about this city (at least I think I do, until James Hill goes on his daily Pittsburgh information rant). Southside: despite our up and down relationship, I think, in the end, you are a good thing. Just work on that parking situation. Strip District: you are misunderstood. Your substance makes up for the lack of flash… Mostly Kaya. I love Kaya. North Shore: Whether it was a city run or a casino walk, I hugged your waters weekly. Don’t let anyone change you, you beautiful piece of Pittsburgh. Market Square: I’m pretty sure your restaurants have 80% of the money I made at King Kone. I could go on and on… And I will. I dare any of you to find a better city view than that of Mount Washington. Of all the state parks in United States, does Point State Park have BY FAR the best phallic-shaped fountain? The answer to that riddle is YES. And PNC Park? Even when the Pirates were terrible, there was no denying the beauty of watching America’s Pastime in Pittsburgh. Now that they’re good, there’s even less of an excuse, Yinzers. Get out there and support your team in that beautiful stadium! On the other hand… Heinz Field: Until the Pitt Panthers prove they are worthy of playing in a legit stadium, kick them out. Chardon High School’s practice field has a better playing surface than Heinz, so get Pitt out of there and give Antonio Brown and crew fewer rolled ankles next season. Or switch to turf. But something needs to happen.

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Oh, Pittsburgh, you are one beautiful skyline. A blurry skyline (stupid iPhone 4), but a beautiful one

 Relationships

 The best part about living in Pennsylvania for three years wasn’t the cities or Primanti’s. It wasn’t Mount Washington or PNC Park. Heck, it wasn’t even the 1001 (Respect to the greatest apartment ever). No, in the most predictable and cliché way possible, it was the relationships. It was surviving another day of 5AM’s at Point State Park with my teammates during baseball season. It was sitting in the green room before Pioneer Sideline and Daybreak (although that one time Celina, Alex and I were super late to Daybreak). It was sneaking up to the roof with my closest friends to have a beer, or walking to Market Square with Courtny for a break during our marathons of The Office. Maybe the best part of Pittsburgh was going to The Body every week. But then, it could also be calling Allie to let me in when Courtny was predictably running late. Everyone remember when I made that awesome snapchat storyboard of me sneaking out of Luis’ microeconomics class? That got me mad street cred, and I really enjoyed showing it off (which is a drastic departure from my usual quiet, stick-to-myself attitude). Could it be that I actually enjoy looking back on the interrogation Chelsea put me through when Courtny and I first started dating? Don’t worry, Chelsea, I know you meant well. And who could forget Friendsgiving? What about my first Goblurrito with Jess and Courtny at Mad Mex? Allie, Remember when I put the Catwoman standup in your bathroom and you freaked out? HA! And Ryan, I already know you can’t wait to drink a few glasses of red zinfandel and plan another trip to Europe. Joe, Thursday nights at Ryan’s apartment were the start of our current hate-hate relationship. Bri, I knew we would hit it off as soon as we almost got kicked out of Point Park together. And Courtny, fortunately for you, that didn’t happen. Although I guess I would have been screwed, too. Kristin, I’ll never forget telling Courtny that an outdoor wedding had to be perfect weather to succeed. 73 and partly cloudy, I told her. Sure enough, it was 73 and partly cloudy on your wedding day. Bethany, since we’re talking about weddings, thanks again for allowing me to be the backup ring-bearer. Wait, you don’t even have a Facebook, you won’t see this. One of the bridesmaids tell her I said thanks, but deep down we all know I was more prepared for the big stage than that kid. James, I already mentioned your unending Pittsburgh knowledge, but shout out for your ability to spot a problem with a room and adjust the furniture to make it ten times better. You’re welcome, Carlyle. Mr. Bailey, any time a major sporting event is happening, I miss our radio show. There’s a reason we got those Fibilli awards, and it’s because we were hilarious. Maybe my favorite memory was picking up Courtny and her Belle Vernon friends from Southside… Of course, Katey asked if Chase Rice was Nickleback, so that was enough to ruin that memory. Speaking of picking people up, I’ll never forget when I picked up my aunts and cousins (the number of people that fit into my tiny G6 will remain a secret) from Southside and brought them back to my apartment. And finally, I’ll say it: I AM HAPPY I WENT ON THE TRIP TO WASHINGTON, D.C. Did I enjoy it at the time? Look at the pictures and captions and you tell me. Was it the most miserable weekend of my life? Quite possibly. However, it was also where Courtny and I became friends (spoiler alert: she friendzones me and I claw my way out (spoiler inside the spoiler: Kelsey is a fan of that foundation)). My relationship with Courtny has led me to so many of the people I will be saying goodbye to in the near future, and I’m blessed to know you all.

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Seriously up until 5 AM every Sunday because who starts assignments before 2 in the morning?

 Is Anyone Still With Me?

 Well… that was a doozy. It’s now 3:30AM, Courtny is passed out, her cat, who usually sleeps at my feet, keeps staring at me wondering when I’m gonna get off this painfully bright machine, and my eyes are rapidly getting heavier. Anyway, Happy New Year! Here’s to Pittsburgh, R&B’s pizza, and all of you crazy kids I call my friends. Yinz guys be safe tomorrow… the roads might be a bit slippy.

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P.S. Keep an eye out for the blog about the big O-H!

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