2 weeks with my brother in Pittsburgh + surprise visit with our parents!

Surprise surprise, I’ve been in Pittsburgh the last 2 weeks! My brother and I devised a master plan to surprise my parents in our hometown, which meant we needed a 2-week quarantine prior to our visit (my parents knew my brother was visiting but they didn’t know I flew from SF :P). I’m terrible at keeping secrets so it was quite a feat to hide this from our parents in our phone calls and even this blog. The surprise couldn’t have gone better and both me and my parents are so grateful to finally be together for the holidays πŸ™‚

With the cat out of the bag, I can finally share some updates from my 2 weeks in Pittsburgh. It was my first time in the steel city, and I must say, I had a really lovely time. My brother and I haven’t spent this much time together since high school, and I loved joking around all day and seeing his new apartment/life in Pittsburgh.

Before the official start to the quarantine, bro and I spent the first day running some errands and exploring. We shopped for groceries and explored local neighborhoods and Carnegie Mellon University (my brother is a professor there). I was pleasantly surprised by the historic feel to the charming metropolitan town. There were still leaves on the trees and the whole city had a cozy east-coast-meets-midwest vibe.

Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh visit

First snow of the season! I love going back to the east coast for the holidays because the winter vibes make the holidays feel so much more cozy.

first snow of the season

I got into a new routine during my visit. Since I was working west coast hours, my workday started at noon and ended around 8pm each day, which meant I had the whole morning to myself. I spent mornings reading, working out, and taking walks listening to podcasts. My favorite was walking through Schenley Park, a large park near CMU with a network of trails. My new routine was so refreshing, and I loved shifting my free time from after work to before work, which made my days overall more productive and energizing.

Schenley Park hike

It was fun seeing my brother in action at his professor job since I never heard him teach before. He definitely gets bonus points for his amazing lecture set up. πŸ™‚

professor lecture

Pittsburgh was much emptier than SF (especially in the winter time), which meant I had whole running paths all to myself. My favorite was running on the track & field at CMU – there was literally no one there which meant I could run in peace. I forgot what it was like to run without weaving in and out of people…it really did wonders on my joy for running. (Pro tip – a face mask keeps you warm in sub-freezing weather) πŸ˜‰

running on track

My brother and I cooked a lot during our quarantine. We switched off cooking for each other every night and it was such a treat to try some of my brother’s signature dishes. It was funny to see our very different in our cooking styles: my brother is super precise and weighs every ingredient + sets timers for every step…while I just measure with my eyes and cook based on how I feel, ha.

We had yummy steak πŸ™‚


And my brother’s famous Okonomiyaki.


And Detroit styled pizza with homemade crust AND sauce! (I never had this before and it blew my mind).

Detroit style pizza

My brother and I are huge coffee nerds so we sampled some bougie coffee.

coffee tasting

We are also beer fans and my brother had quite the collection of local craft beers. It was fun unwinding and sampling the different beers together πŸ™‚

beer tasting

I was originally a little nervous to be locked down for 2 whole weeks in a new city, but it went way better than I imagined, and I even feel a renewed motivation with my new routine. Being stuck in California all year was making me restless, so this change in scenery + time with my family has been really rejuvenating. πŸ™‚

2 thoughts on “2 weeks with my brother in Pittsburgh + surprise visit with our parents!

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