Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.



Editor’s Note: After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez has made the difficult decision to discontinue her “PittGirl” blog and column. We thank her deeply for her invaluable contributions to the magazine — and to the city. A new voice (another Pittsburgh favorite) will appear in this space beginning next month.

T
he thing with Pittsburgh is this: It gets you.

If it doesn’t yet have you, there eventually comes a time when it will reach out ... and get you.

And it will keep you.

No matter how far you wander from it, to the ends of our earth, you will still be gotten.

I don’t know when Pittsburgh got me, but I do know it didn’t always have me. Growing up here, you take things for granted. You cross a bridge. Shoot out of a tunnel. Ride an incline. Eat the salad fries. Take in a Bucs game. Walk a path along the shore. Feel the breeze off the river. Hear a kind voice. Witness a selfless act. Do work. See beauty. Feel love.

Often what regularly surrounds you isn’t fully appreciated until that comforting presence no longer is enveloping you with warm familiarity. When you’re without it, feeling the chill, that’s when you hungrily seek it out with fresh, appreciative eyes.

I went to Texas for four years. Left Pittsburgh behind to study. To get educated. To learn who I was 1,000 miles from a city that didn’t yet have me.

When I came home, I gradually realized Pittsburgh was more than bridges, inclines, rivers and sports. It was a story. A saga. It was a reinvention — scratching and clawing out of the mire of the steel collapse. It was determination. It was lovingly clinging to blue-collar roots. It was pride. It was promise. It was work-weathered hands joining to hold together that which threatened to fall apart. It was strength. It was brains. It was a city on a path to greatness from which it would not stray.

So I walked along that path, and as all of those realizations dawned on me, I stretched out a hand. I learned when you reach out just a bit to Pittsburgh — lean a little, open yourself up — that’s when Pittsburgh reaches for you. That’s when it gets you, and it carries you with it.

When you learn the history, volunteer to help its suffering people, get involved to try to affect a small positive change, create something beautiful and meaningful here ... your eyes open. You realize the richness of the history and how it shaped us into a community of neighborhoods. You become unable to ignore the incredible value and unmatched strength of people who need a little help. You realize the ease with which change can take place, with just a little elbow grease. Your creation is supported and valued and lifted up by others, for others to see and love. Your widened eyes open your softened heart, and Pittsburgh gets you.

That’s how it got me. I learned the history. In my 20s, I often sat alone by the fountain at the Point during lunch. I leaned toward her ... heart open, eyes closed, breeze welcomed. In my 30s, I cared enough to get angry at the aspects that were not what they could be. To help. To feel a burning passion to have any small part in making Pittsburgh into a city unlike any other.

And Pittsburgh had me — really had me and would not let go.

I say this not to sound melodramatic or to wax eloquent, but because it’s the only way I can adequately describe to you my love for our city: Pittsburgh is in my soul. I know it so well, value it so pricelessly, want so much for it that it has become half of me. The rivers course through my veins, the fountain erupts in my heart, the bridges connect all of the parts of my identity, the inclines rise and fall with every breath I take. It is one of the most valuable relationships in my life, and it has shaped me into who and what I am.

When Pittsburgh really has you, you’ll feel that way too.

If it doesn’t already have you, I hope Pittsburgh gets you soon. I hope you’ll lean just a bit toward her. Soften, change, reach, so that she will reach back to you and show you the gleaming glory and character-shaping pain of her past. Why she’s worthy of your hard work to better her, why she’s deserving of you becoming the best, most loving kind of neighbor you can be, and why, once she has you, she’ll take care of you for as long as you take care of her.

Pittsburgh reached out for me. It has got me. It will never not have me, no matter what comes next.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for loving Pittsburgh as much as I do.

I’ll see yinz around the neighborhood.

 

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Hungry for Something Good, Pittsburgh? Where We're Eating in July

Lidia Bastianich Shares Her American Dream in a New Memoir

PM Dining Critic Hal B. Klein talks to the celebrated chef, restauranteur, television host and author about grandparents, foraging and the plight of refugees seeking a better life in the United States.

They Prayed to Our Lady of the Roller Coaster

Two local priests –– riding the Phantom's Revenge to promote Catholic Day at Kennywood –– create a viral video. Along the way they deliver a most unusual sermon.

The Homestead Artist with a Worldwide Reputation

Jesse Best maintains a presence in New York and Tokyo. But, he says, Pittsburgh has been 10 times better to him than any other place.

The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The fifth "Jurassic Park" film is fun. Empty, somewhat disappointing fun.

Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

After Pitt ordered Voodoo Brewery to stop production of its "H2P American IPA," the company relaunched the beer under a new name.

Sprout Fund Passes the Torch

50 Pittsburghers to receive $1,000 Legacy Award to carry on the nonprofit’s vision.

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Pirates Pitcher Steven Brault has Pretty Good Pipes Too

The Pirates reliever sang the national anthem Tuesday night before the Bucs hosted the Brewers at PNC Park. It's worth watching, especially for his teammates' reaction at the end.

Crime in the South Side Has Fallen Dramatically

Illegal activity plunged along East Carson Street following several new security measures.

Fired by City Paper — Charlie Deitch Won’t Be Silenced

The former editor of the Pittsburgh alt-weekly is creating his own "more inclusive" publication.

Czechoslovakia was Forged in Pittsburgh

Rick Sebak details how the establishment of the European nation began with a meeting Downtown.

Brick by Brick: Legos Go High Art

Made entirely out of Legos, the sculptures on the display at the Carnegie Science Center’s new Scaife Exhibit Gallery range from the whimsical to the otherworldly.

Mike Chen, Dean of the Chinese Kitchen

The owner of Everyday Noodles looks to encourage more regionally specific Chinese food in Pittsburgh restaurants.

MultiStories: Real Estate – The Machesney Building

Visitors can still ogle the lavish marble and bronze interior crafted to appeal to the original owner's banker and stockbroker tenants.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


They Prayed to Our Lady of the Roller Coaster

They Prayed to Our Lady of the Roller Coaster

Two local priests –– riding the Phantom's Revenge to promote Catholic Day at Kennywood –– create a viral video. Along the way they deliver a most unusual sermon.

Comments

Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

After Pitt ordered Voodoo Brewery to stop production of its "H2P American IPA," the company relaunched the beer under a new name.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

Reflecting on the loss of a person so many of us admired.

Comments

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Chef You Shan Pei comes to Pittsburgh after cooking in Flushing, N.Y. restaurants for 18 years.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

Looking to show off your Pittsburgh love? Get your favorite city printed on basically anything at these local shops.

Comments

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

When you're craving the real deal, these local spots consistently churn out the very best.

Comments


The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

In "Will Work For Views," the video artist and musician Weird Paul is a little bit Dr. Demento and a little bit Mister Rogers.

Comments

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

The relaunched entertainment complex in Harmarville is casting a wide net, with some success.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Comments

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk found out last August, in the wake of a six-hour surgery that removed 14 inches of his colon and “a tumor the size of my fist,” the severity of what he was suddenly confronting.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The fifth "Jurassic Park" film is fun. Empty, somewhat disappointing fun.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The documentary about Fred Rogers' work and philosophy inspires even more wonder about the television legend who called Pittsburgh home.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Toppers That Take the Cake

Toppers That Take the Cake

Over the traditional bride and groom standing on top of your cake? Try some of these different ideas for cake toppers.

Comments

Couple Shares Photo Spotlight With Four-Legged Friends

Couple Shares Photo Spotlight With Four-Legged Friends

This Pittsburgh couple is using their engagement photos to raise awareness about one of their most passionate causes.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

Paying homage to the restorative power of nature, this deep green shade is one to watch in the coming year. Here’s how to use it on your walls.

Comments

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

From furniture to wall art and beyond, these local makers created one-of-a-kind pieces for your home or office.

Comments