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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Matthew Paulson

#10: Five essential tips for survival in Pittsburgh

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Congratulations, you’ve just relocated to Pittsburgh! As a transplant who’s logged a good ten years in the Steel City, let me be the first to welcome you and pass along some survival tips I’ve learned in my decade navigating the hills and rivers of western Pennsylvania.

1. Learn where things used to be: Pittsburghers give directions based on landmarks that haven’t been around in years. You ask for directions to the nearest drugs and you’ll get, “Keep going straight till you get to where the old S&T Bank used to be and turn left. It’ll be right next to the Saint Margaret’s parking lot.” It doesn’t matter that Saint Margaret’s was torn down in 1986, you should still recognize that parking lot.

2. Much like Montreal, Pittsburgh is a bilingual town: Yes, Pittsburghese is its own language and you’d better learn it. Otherwise, you won’t know what to say if someone asks, “Yinz junna go dahntahn and watch the Stillers n’at?” Roughly translated: Do you all want to go downtown to watch the Steelers game and so on?

3. Pittsburgh has great local beer: Yes, the God-awful Iron City is probably the first thing that comes to mind, but Pittsburgh is the home to about two dozen great local breweries. So be sure to bend an elbow with a pint of Full Pint or a tasty Belgian Sour from Draii Laag. And if you must, the Iron City Light Mango is definitely a guilty pleasure: the perfect amount of artificial flavoring to sip on a hot summer’s day.

4. Show proper respect after a Steelers loss: The Steelers are big here. Like the Pope in Rome big. Billy Joel in Westchester County big. When they suffer a loss, the entire city goes into mourning for roughly three days. During this time, do not, I repeat DO NOT, take a lighthearted jab at the Black and Gold and definitely don’t say something idiotic like, “It’s just a football game.”

5. You now hate everything about Cleveland, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. There is no wiggle room on this.

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