Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day! Here's The Downtown Pittsburgh Love Story Contest Winner!

Michelle and Pete met against the backdrop of the Three Rivers Regatta and have fallen in love doing so many of the things that we Pittsburghers love! Movies in the Park, visiting  Mt. Washington, a Pitt Football game and so much more!  We thank them and so many others for sharing their stories of how they fall in love with and in Downtown Pittsburgh! 

How We Met by Michelle Hanrahan
I met Peter Kaminski for the first time, face to face, on July fourth. After chatting back and forth for a month, we were finally scheduled to meet at the annual Pittsburgh Three River’s Regatta.

With the hustle and bustle of the Regatta attendee’s, I felt it was most practical to meet under the bridge that led to the Point. I vividly remember him handsomely walking up as I leaned on the side of the bridge.  After a swift hello, we continued on to visit the various activities that the Regatta has to offer such as the speed boat racing, sand art, live music and best of all, the Fourth of July fireworks!

Little did I know at the time, this event was RIGHT up Pete’s alley (this is where I have the opportunity to brag about him, even though he would never stand for it!); he is a U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduate with a background of competitive, collegiate swimming and currently works along the Monongahela River as an engineer for a towboat and barge company, as well as works as an Officer in the Navy Reserve.  With Pete’s knowledge of the rivers, I was able to drill him with questions about the boats that were racing, the engines aboard the vessels, the barges that were positioned to set off the fireworks and other questions in regards to the maritime industry. Although Pittsburgh is Pete’s hometown, and I am from a suburb of Philadelphia, Pete was competitively swimming for much of his younger years. I enlightened him to the Pittsburgh knowledge I had picked up from my college years, and he taught me maritime engineering.

Although I had a couple of friends “conveniently” enjoying the Regatta in case I needed a get-me-out-of- here-card, it was an evening of seamless conversation.  It was uncanny how many similarities we both possessed in general interests, religious views, and more! We both loved music; Pete as a violinist, myself as a pianist and vocalist. We both loved Long Island and New York City; Pete’s college Alma mater, the hometown of my parents and extended relatives. Ultimately, we both loved learning about each other. Between Pete’s background and my favorite holiday of the year being July Fourth, the Regatta made for an outstanding first date.

The next few dates included hitting a wide variety of neighborhoods around Pittsburgh; dinner in Station Square, a view from Mount Washington, summer Cinema in the Park at Highland Park, a Lawrenceville bar, touring my Alma mater (Hail to Pitt!), a movie in the South Hills, a Triathlon on the North Shore, and so many more. What I remember the most from all of those dates is that Pete was the utmost gentleman.

Upon exclusively dating, we have had the chance to explore the hidden treasures that Pittsburgh has to offer. It has been a whirlwind of events: Pitt football games, Penn Brewery’s Oktoberfest, South Hills swim meets, a drive-in movie theater, watching his dad officiate high school football in Moon, test driving cars in Monroeville, volunteering at the Cystic Fibrosis annual Passion for Wine event, surprise date nights, Mrs. Kaminski’s wonderful home-cooking, enjoying in the nightlife that is South Side, eating at Church Brew Works, and attending a Beatles Tribute by the PSO.

As a young couple, we have worked to find many things to do that fit both our schedules and budgets. We both work full-time but also keep busy with other activities. Pete is the head coach of his former swim club team of 8 to 12-year-old's in the South Hills, and I attend cake decorating & sign language classes, as well as volunteer throughout the city. With a young-adult budget, we have taken full advantage of all that Pittsburgh has to offer!  Many of those opportunities include the free festivals throughout the summer, strolling the Strip District, and attending as many Cultural Trust shows that our wallets and time will allow! For the Navy Reserve, Pete will be leaving Pittsburgh for a month to work along the east coast to fulfill his Annual Training requirement.  Until then, we will try to cram in as many activities and events around Pittsburgh as possible and continue to do so upon his return!

Never have I met a more genuine, respectful, kind-hearted man. And although we have not been dating for multiple years, when you find someone that meshes with your life SO smoothly, you just know it is right.

Michelle and Pete at the PPG Wintergarden

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