Every time I travel back to Western PA it feels like coming home. As much as I fight it, I love the sight of the Highmark building, all the bridges spanning the three rivers, the trolley cars on the incline going up and down. As much as I love Boston more, Pittsburgh is safe for me, it's familiar, and it's home of so many memories.
Visiting friends from college and seeing the city again made me incredibly nostalgic. So much so, in fact, that I keep revisiting the idea of moving out there. Maybe it's just because I'm looking for a change of pace. Maybe because so many of my friends are still there. Maybe it's because the cost of living is so much more affordable. Maybe because, after two and a half years, I'm finally realizing that Western Pennsylvania really isn't all that bad (aside from the fact that there's no ocean).
After arriving in Waynesburg, Heidi and I took a short drive back to that little campus on the hill. I haven't been on campus for over a year and to say that I wasn't affected would be a gross underexageration.
Heidi parked outside of the Stover Campus Center and we went inside for old times sake. I still remember my mail box number and everything is so painfully familiar. The feelings that were pulsing through me with every beat of my heart are so hard to put into words. I was all-at-once overwhelmed and nostalgic and sad and grateful and...so many other things. There is not one nook on that campus where I don't have a memory. Even the little things like walking to Buhl Hall everyday or slipping on the college seal in the middle of the Quad or walking through the parks and swimming in the fountain came out in my memory in sharp relief to the fact that I will never again have those experiences. No matter how many reunions I have with college friends, we will never again all be in that community and living together so closely. It's a strange sensation and even stranger that it's hitting me over two years later. I'm glad that we were there at night. I'm not sure I would've been able to handle walking around during the day and not recognizing any faces and not having any faces recognize me. I wonder if my picture when I was Titania is still on Eddie's door in the Performing Arts Center?
After that brief run-in with the ghosts of my memories, I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. I saw everyone I wanted to see and then some and that's all that I can really ask for. The reality of an hour and a half plane ride and a more expendable income is making me giddy.