Tag: boston university

Pittsburgh’s Beauty off the Beaten Path: An Introduction

Nadine Champsi

Nadine Champsi

I am a doctor turned write-at-home-mom who runs the Pittsburgh Mommy Blog and is editor of Kidsburgh. I have two wonderful young children and am happily married. My interests include cooking, green-living, gardening, being in the outdoors, listening to great music, checking out the city's cool art, coming up with creative things to do with my kids, and having as many adventures as I can!
Nadine Champsi

During the end of my years at Boston University, I developed an unusual habit for any college student. I started waking up close to dawn and taking a 1-2 hour walk.  I never started out with a path in mind.  Instead, I just allowed my natural curiousity to take me on a different journey each morning. And what did I find on those abandoned streets, all alone, on those crisp, quiet mornings?  I found beauty.  I found it everywhere.  I found it hiding on the banks of the Duck Pond in the Public Gardens where silent, serene men and women did early morning Tai-Chi.

I found it buried near the Fens, in the dew-covered Urban Gardens teeming with flowers and veggies.

And I found it appear, for just a moment, in the Christian Science Center’s Reflecting Pool awash with morning’s first light.

These discoveries quenched my thirst for adventure…and made me feel happy.  I became like my idol, Amelie, uncovering the quirky secrets of a bustling metropolis!  And when I left Boston, these images were what I ended up missing. They made the city feel like home to me.

Since I’ve moved to Pittsburgh and had children, I have tried to continue taking these types of walks. Only now I take my kids along and allow them to dictate my path!  I have found that children are particularly suited to this style of nomadic wandering.  They rebel against agenda.  They naturally run the other way if you set them on a definite trajectory.  For children it is the unknown path–the closed door, the mysterious gate, the almost-buried pathway–that is so intrinsically interesting.  And the unusual discoveries made along the way are the life’s-blood of a good outing for kids.   So..if it’s safe and we don’t have too much to do, I generally let my little ones take me on an adventure.  After all, I learned in Boston that beauty can be found in some very unusual places.

Because I have so much fun exploring Pittsburgh with my children in this way, I am starting a series on my blog entitled Pittsburgh’s Beauty off the Beaten Path.  When my children lead me to a particularly beautiful, but underappreciated, spot, I will write about it.  My goal in these posts is not to dissuade you from having your own adventures or making your own discoveries.  God no!  My goal instead is to give you some inspiration and to remind you that Pittsburgh, for all its industrial buildings and soot-covered past, is a city of astounding beauty.  Please join us in our adventures!

Coming tomorrow…our discovery of the Courtyard at the University of Pittsburgh’s Frick Fine Arts Building.

My Heart is With You, Boston

Nadine Champsi

Nadine Champsi

I am a doctor turned write-at-home-mom who runs the Pittsburgh Mommy Blog and is editor of Kidsburgh. I have two wonderful young children and am happily married. My interests include cooking, green-living, gardening, being in the outdoors, listening to great music, checking out the city's cool art, coming up with creative things to do with my kids, and having as many adventures as I can!
Nadine Champsi
View from the Esplanade in Boston
View from the Esplanade in Boston

Like many other people, the Boston Marathon holds a sacred place in my memory. Although a Pittsburgh resident now, I grew up in the northern suburbs of Boston.  When I was a kid, my dad used to take me down to the city for Marathon Monday.  We would sit on the sidewalk near the finishing line of the race, munching on jelly-filled donuts from DD’s and watching the elite runners stream past.  My father would regale me with stories of African runners who trained for the Boston Marathon during his childhood in Tanzania.  When my father passed away suddenly five years ago, our trips to the Boston Marathon represented some of the happiest memories I had of him.

When I was older, I attended Boston University for my undergraduate degree in English.  Marathon Monday became the much-anticipated social event of the year.  There were no classes on that day and we started partying well before noon.  Despite the rumors to the contrary, I have always thought of Boston as an incredibly welcoming city and Marathon Monday always proved me right.  Every door was open.  We celebrated with complete strangers, attending house parties everywhere from the elegant brownstones of the Back Bay to the fraternity houses in the Allston/Brighton area.  Some of my fondest memories of college involve this magical day.

Boston is a city that gets under your skin.  Its beauty is overwhelming–the ocean, the Public Gardens, the cobble-stoned streets lined by historical buildings, the views of the Charles River on the Esplanade.  And for those who come to Boston to attend college, it is a special place indeed.   People from everywhere in our vast world (including me!) come to Boston to become adults–to cut the umbilical cord and discover their own sense of identity.  It is a city that charms all that are lucky enough to have ever called it home.

This morning my kids woke up and thankfully didn’t have a clue about yesterday’s tragedy.  It was business-as-usual for them.  Yogurt and granola for breakfast, fierce sibling rivalry about toothbrushes, and lots of “I’ll do it myself!”  But I just felt hollow inside.  Although I live in the Steel City now, a piece of my heart will always be in Beantown.  I love you, Boston, and mourn what happened yesterday more than you will ever know.

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