Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Caught Between Two Places

I'm a bit paranoid that I've already linked to this article, but a brief blog search didn't yield anything and I doubt anyone will notice if I am repeating myself. The storyteller is a member of the Burgh Diaspora in Houston and captures the ambivalence that many expatriates feel about leaving Pittsburgh:

Pittsburgh has it good. It's got a small-town feel combined with the best parts of city life: old man pubs alongside trendy bars, neighborhood grocery stores beside organic shops, and gossipy old women shoulder-to-shoulder with homeless people. Best of all, the rivers haven't even caught fire in at least 30 years! The one thing Pittsburgh lacks, though, is a sustainable economy, and like all my childhood friends who didn't want to work in the fast-food industry, I had to move out. Sure, Houston's my adopted city, but I still get pangs of homesickness anytime the black-and-gold Steelers come on TV.

Pittsburgh has similar mixed emotions about its Diaspora, taking pride in the power of Steelers Nation while quietly disparaging those who left when the chips were down. I'm certain that there are a large number of ex-Pittsburghers who wish they could lift up the city and relocate it to a region with more economic vitality (and perhaps a better climate). But I also know many who still love Pittsburgh, but would never return.

No matter what the sentiment, the Diaspora desires a relationship with Pittsburgh. I'm not sure how Pittsburgh views this homesickness, save the interest I've often heard that I might help bring people back (or keep them from leaving in the first place). I've endeavored to be clear that I want to facilitate greater mobility. I've positioned myself at the disposal of the Burgh Diaspora. What I hope to do is give those people with a Pittsburgh affiliation the best of two worlds, aiding Pittsburgh's cause in the process.

No comments: