9 Years

posted in: Blog, My Life | 4

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9 Years ago today I rode from Pittsburgh International Airport through the Fort-Pitt tunnels in a taxi; prepared for what I hadn’t a clue, but the site of the 3 Rivers, The Point, the City of Pittsburgh and the North Side… on an April Spring sunny blue sky day…was the last thing I expected!

I didn’t know a soul, but was so gratefully connected with two friends, who met me at the Apt building the taxi dropped me off at.  My dad actually had lunch with them both today, Ronna and Ken, not knowing it was the anniversary of our meeting and the start of something we never could’ve imagined.  My first 16 months in Pittsburgh gave me the chance to see the beauty of the city and gave me the 1st year in my 20’s that was both surgery free, as well as free of nutritional worry being on IV (TPN).  That year before transplant became all about having fun with new friends, learning what it was to be a true Pittsburgh sports fan :), and building up my physical strength for when the transplant call came.  It’s the year that made the North Side my favorite area and why I’m so grateful we chose it now as “home”.  For 7 1/2 yrs it’s been all about the hospitals, but being back near the stadiums there’s an energy and ambiance of fun in the air, a reminder of why Pittsburgh was such a pleasant surprise as a stranger in a new city 9 years ago.  I’m so grateful I got to have that first year :)…

4 Responses

  1. Francesca Montenegro

    Ahh Maria…it’s been eight years since I moved to this beautiful city and I’ve had a love affair with it since. We may have had very different reasons for converging on this city but this short little piece you wrote is much the way that I, too, felt my first year here. You were a part of that whimsical first year and I will forever be grateful to you and all the other special people that shaped that experience and years more of them. I’m happy to know that this little part of our world that we call the Northside has given you something to find joy and comfort in. Chin up beautiful girl, I think the best is yet to come for you. xoxoxo

  2. Nancy Behrens

    Bella Maria! That must mean you have a birthday coming up very soon! I remember your first one in Pittsburgh–Your mom and dad trying to make sure it was special from “a million miles away”. May this upcoming one and many find you surrounded with love and joy! All my love–Meg and I think of you often, always fondly. My best to your folks, as well!

  3. bellalinn

    Oh Francesca, I too am glad I got to be part of your first year here, and that you got to be part of the one year that engraved those good memories for me :). I wish my “love affair” could have continued so wonderfully as yours did! That truly was my dream, to at last be free of my obstruction symptoms and be able to spontaneously be part of the life all around me, that I had been patiently and excitedly looking forward to for 8 yrs already. I’ve missed what fun and beauty of the city my pre-transplant health allowed me to be part of, the joy of getting to take part in the social side of things, most of all the fun activities or even lazy days that would get thrown together based around the sport events or simply the energy of the athletics and fun that never leaves the Northside. Without that year I wouldn’t know the side of Pittsburgh that keeps me holding on to the dream of the Apt. and the rooftop deck and the chance to share it with friends so I may be able to enjoy a little of what I lost by bringing it home :). Thankfully I’ve seen that the city isn’t only the horror of the hospitals and I have that year to thank for it. Hopefully one day we will get to see each other more and enjoy some of it together again soon! xoxo

  4. bellalinn

    Hi Nancy!!! I was half way through a response and completely forgot I hadn’t finished and sent it… so sorry this is only coming now :(. When I came home and found your note in my inbox I lit up with a smile! We had just been talking about you literally that day, remembering my arrival and the day we met, and mum and dad with the massive balloons and flowers…most of all how they worked with you to throw that little surprise in your apt. with the streamers and celebration. It was so special for my first week in a city, where I had never been and never met a soul. I had just said to mum… my god, Megan must be 18 now!…I wonder if they even remember me with so much time passing… and then there you were :). I think of you guys often, though I have a feeling I wouldn’t recognize Meg at all. Would love to see some pics sometime. Bella is getting older, 9 yrs now, but still the cuddly sweet angel she always has been…simply sleeps a lot more than she once did. Amazing thing, she seems to remember people even after years… bet she would run up to you two and go crazy with the licks and kisses like you had never been gone… such a love bug and angel.

    Mum and dad send their love to you both… you truly made my day hearing from you :). Perhaps we will be able to find a way to visit one of these days, but until then please keep in touch! Big hugs! xo

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