Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pakistani Journalist Now Glad to Know All about Pittsburgh

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pakistani Journalist Now Glad to Know All about Pittsburgh

Article excerpt

I had never heard of Pittsburgh until I was informed, while living and working 7,000 miles away in Pakistan's capital, that I would be traveling there to work with the Post-Gazette for four months this year.

And now, shortly after the end of my stay, I'm happy to consider myself an honorary Pittsburgh-Pakistani "yinzer" who finds plenty of similarities between the city and my own hilly and beautiful hometown of Islamabad.

When learning of my fellowship opportunity, I hardly had any options to learn about Pittsburgh except to search through Google. That first Internet research showed me the beautiful images of Downtown, the bridges and the South Side.

Soon after my arrival, though, people started warning me about the South Side as a dangerous place to visit. After visiting the neighborhood, I was a little surprised -- in Pakistan we only tell people to be careful when they're going to the land of Taliban, and I was happy that there weren't any Taliban visible on the South Side.

Soon after settling in, I started to blend into life around Pittsburgh. I walked around Walnut Street in Shadyside often, drove around the city a couple of times a week and met people from all different walks of life. I was obviously not a Pittsburgh native, but I found the people hospitable, loving and warm to me. I take those memories back to a place where few people understand that Americans are by all means loving and humane people.

In my first week, I was taken to a baseball game at PNC Park without having any understanding of the sport. The field, positions, rules and scoring were all so dissimilar to cricket, in which a match can continue for days with teams scoring as many as 300 runs.

As my understanding of baseball improved, coincidentally so did the Pirates' performance. I am now a fan who bleeds in black and gold, delighted to see them atop the standings. I'm presumably one of the few Pakistani fans of the team, thousands of miles away and yet an avid follower and well-wisher. …

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