country mouse, city mouse

there are many things i miss about life in pittsburgh. i miss having friends my age, the open door, using my bike more and my car less, actual diversity, and all the great neighborhoods. i miss art galleries, independent movies, the cultural district, wyep, the arts festival, and free concerts. i miss coffee shops and stores that are open past five. i miss sushi at giant eagle and restaurants that serve something beyond burgers, like baba ganouj, curry, or wat...yum.

there are a few things i don't miss: slum lords, cockroaches the size of dogs, sewage problems, leaky roofs, or dumpsters outside our bedroom windows being emptied at 3, 4, and 5 am. i don't miss traffic, pot holes, aggressive driving, or parking tickets. i don't miss lugging groceries down the block or up several flights of stairs. I don't miss sliding down the icy fire escape--the only way into or out of our first apartment.

i do miss the view from our apartment's roof, but all in all, i know we traded up when it comes to scenery:

we had a memorial day party this weekend, and it was so great to have space to entertain a crowd. camp provides us with a spacious house which overlooks acres of land. kids ran and played and friends staked out various corners of the house and yard to enjoy the weather, beauty, food, and company. i loved seeing people feel comfortable, and it was a gorgeous day to spend outside.

in college, i mostly worked here at camp, but one summer i spent at the pittsburgh project, a community development ministry on the north side. i worked with service camp and helped teenagers renovate houses for low-income, elderly homeowners. i learned about scripture and the intersection of faith and justice. i became acutely aware of poverty issues, racism, and what the shalom and kingdom of God could really look like, "on earth as it is in heaven." i fell in love with the city.

it was also a difficult summer. i lived in a crowded room with close to twenty other girls and experienced virtually no solitude. the only green space in walking distance was a lone ball field. everywhere i turned there was noise, people, and concrete, amplifying my stress, frustration, and loneliness. ligonier certainly beats pittsburgh in the abundant green space department, and in that, my soul rejoices.

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