“Where are you from?”

It’s the question everyone asks when one American runs into another while living overseas. I can’t count how many times I was asked that question while living in Thailand for the past three years. Strange as it may sound, I was always a little surprised to hear the answer that came out of my mouth.

“Pittsburgh,” I’d tell them.

I was born a New Yorker and once believed I’d never leave. Then three years in China shaped me into a person who wanted to understand the entire world and tell its stories. But it is Pittsburgh, a place I came to a decade ago thinking I’d stay only a year or two, that has truly become my home.

I knew from the moment I started dating a Pittsburgher that this place was special. Ted Anthony had lived all over the globe, but he told me on one of our first dates that someday he’d move back. It was the ’90s, so I met that comment with a blank stare, having no idea what Pittsburgh was really all about.

He fixed my ignorance in a hurry. First time we drove here, he took us on what I now realize was a wildly impractical route for a very deliberate reason. Though we’d been traveling west on the Turnpike, he looped around, driving miles out of our way, so we could approach the city on the Parkway West just after dusk.

Why, you might ask? So that we’d slide through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, then suddenly emerge bathed in the glow of a bridge-and-building-studded skyline.

For a decade, even when travels take me elsewhere, I’ve owned a home in the North Hills and written about the region’s people and progress. During these past three years in Asia, I’ve watched from afar — and come home often — as Pittsburgh’s rebirth bloomed. From my home office in an apartment in Bangkok, one of the world’s most exciting and culturally diverse cities, I often found myself reading Pittsburgh headlines on my phone and marveling at all that’s been happening here.

When we decided that it was time for our next chapter, we considered possible next stops across the planet. But we chose this one because it fascinates us. Yes, we’ve got family here, but it’s so much more than that. The combination of heritage and trajectory, of tradition and possibility, was something we could not ignore.

Joining NEXTpittsburgh as managing editor after working with Tracy Certo years ago is a real treat. I’m excited to be diving into the stories and innovations unfolding here, and I’m thrilled to meet as many Pittsburghers, new and native, as possible. So please do email me: Tell me what you’re working on, what’s inspiring you and what you think Pittsburgh needs right now.

This place is ours. It’s up to us to shape it. I look forward to the ride, and to the traveling companions I will meet along the way.

Melissa Rayworth

Kidsburgh Editor Melissa Rayworth specializes in stories about culture, gender, design and parenting. She has written for a variety of outlets in the U.S. and Asia, and is a frequent contributor to The...