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Pittsburgh State of Mind [NewlyNested]

I just got back from our annual trip back east to visit our families.  This time we decided to make our trip a little shorter than usual so my husband could have some recovery time before he returned to work.  This was a brilliant idea, because unless we are hanging out on a beach, we always need a little vacation after our vacation.  This year we packed our trip even tighter than usual.  First was Pittsburgh, then Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and back to Philadelphia for our flight home—all in 8 days!

I find these trips stressful.  I love to travel, but I’m not a big fan of city hopping.  I’d rather just go to my family in the fall and my husband’s family in the spring, but when you live out west you save a flight by doing it all in one big trip.  Even though I was excited about visiting our families, I usually dread the trip with some major travel anxiety (which I get no matter where I travel, seriously, even if it’s only a 2 hour car ride away).  This year the dread never came.  I was genuinely super exited to get away from Southern California and be with our families no matter how annoying all the flights, car rides and trains would be.

I am extremely nostalgic about going home.  In fact, a friend who also moved away from home around the same time I did told me how weird it was that I still called Pittsburgh “home.”  I explained to her, “I have two homes.  Home is my house in Carlsbad and home is where I grew up.”  That feeling has never changed.  Although this time I was surprised by how much I forgot about Pittsburgh.  When I met a friend for breakfast and she asked me where I wanted to go upon my return my answer was sadly, “I don’t remember very much about where to eat around here.”

Every trip back east does feel a little different.  Slowly the true feelings of home disappear and are refilled with the nostalgic feelings of home.  One day I know we’ll arrive and all my favorite places will be flashes of images instead of concrete ideas.  This trip was the first time I felt that happening.  Even though that is a bit jarring for me, at the same time it makes visiting the same places exciting again, like discovering a city I know and don’t know for the first time.

There are always a million friends and family to see in a short time.  I usually go thinking how am I going to manage the time.  This time I let it go and let everyone do the planning for me.  This year they planned a lot for us!  All the running around and stimulation was a lot of fun.  The feeling of letting go and visiting home as a guest was the best, even though I was a little upset I missed some time with some really good friends.  Maybe we’ll just have to make the visit longer next time.