It wasn't until I got to college that I realized I identified with my city, not my state.
I wasn't just from Pennsylvania; I was a Pittsburgher, through and through (God forbid someone ever thought I was from Philly).
Pittsburgh natives are a rare breed; we're not quite from the Midwest, but not really from the Northeast.
We're stuck in our own little no-man's land and quite frankly, we couldn't be happier about it.
Now, as someone who was born and raised in Pittsburgh by a mother who was also born and raised in Pittsburgh, you could say I know a thing or two about what makes a true Pittsburgh native feel totally comfortable and right at home.
And even though I'm no longer a Pittsburgh resident, I run into many things on a day-to-day basis that instantly remind me of my hometown and favorite place on earth.
There is no greater joy than being somewhere far, far away from Pittsburgh, and hearing someone say, "We're headed dahntahn n'at."
And, while chances are sometimes slim you'll ever encounter a true Yinzer outside of Pittsburgh, it's been known to happen.
The sweet sound of Pittsburghese immediately bonds two people from the 'Burgh like nothing else ever could.
2. Sports fans.
Everywhere you go, you're bound to encounter some die-hard sports fanatics.
As any Steelers/Pirates/Penguins fan can tell you, there's no bond like the one shared between people who root for the black and gold.
There's also no true mortal enemy like a Browns fan or Capitals fan.
Even if you meet someone who just absolutely loves the Philadelphia Eagles, you can bond over your feuding of who's home team is better (even though we all know it's the Steelers).
3. Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller.
These two are Pittsburgh's claim to musical fame.
No matter where a Pittsburgher is, the distinctive melody of "Black and Yellow," or the truly inspirational "Pittsburgh Sound" makes you feel a swell of hometown pride, wherever you are. If Pittsburgh had an anthem, they'd be the ones to write it.
4. Edgar Snyder.
Never has one man so fully encapsulated a city. We grew up with Edgar Snyder. We love (or, love to hate) his commercials. We know that there's never a fee unless he gets money for us. It's as simple as that.
Really, any Polish food screams Pittsburgh, no matter where in the world you're eating it.
The truly delicious taste of a potato and cheese pierogi instantly transports you back to Polish Hill, or your own kitchen where you're mom lovingly prepared them.
And of course, let's not forget the pure joy you felt when watching everyone's favorite racing pierogies — Hannah, Chester, Saul and Oliver — as they sprinted around PNC Park.
2. Black and Yellow.
The song and the colors both instantly ease any Pittsburgher's mind and makes him or her feel right at home.
The opening beat of "Yeah, uh huh, you know what it is," blaring from the speakers, or the sight of someone (probably in a very tacky way) mixing black and gold on a non-Pittsburgh jersey instantly transports us to our childhood Steeler's Fridays at school or twirling that terrible towel around and around with gusto.
3. Amusement parks.
One word: Kennywood. In elementary school, there was no joy like waking up to realize it was Kennywood day, and you could spend the entire day frolicking around Kennywood's rides and roller coasters with your friends, sans parental supervision.
Ever since those glory days, all the other amusement parks — Six Flags, Magic Kingdom, etc. — transport your back to your childhood and that glorious first ride on the Steel Phantom.
We didn't get the nickname, "The City of Bridges," for nothing.
Pittsburgh has the second most bridges in the world, next to Venice, so there's nothing a true native loves more than a big, beautiful bridge.
No fear here; we can drive, walk or anything in between across a bridge without a second thought.
1. A bar (really, any bar).
Pittsburghers love to drink... a lot.
In fact, as of last spring, Pittsburgh's South Side neighborhood had the most bars per capita of any place in the country.
So, it's safe to say that every 'Burgh native loves a good bar — especially a good sports bar. Added bonus if there's Coors on tap.
2. Multi-lane highways.
Pretty much the second that learner's permit is in any 16-year-old's hands, he or she has to learn to navigate the fifth circle of hell that is also known as the Fort Pitt Bridge.
But, ever since his or her teen years, any true Pittsburgher can navigate a five-lane highway like a true champion because of the glory days driving home from Oakland on this insane bridge.
Everything has a silver lining.
Even if no Pittsburgh teams are playing, you're still probably repping your Lemieux or Ward throwback jersey.
Any game, at any stadium, in any city is like returning to your roots.
The screaming, cheering and of course, overpriced beer makes you feel exactly like you're back at Three Rivers Stadium or the Consol Center rooting for your hometown heroes.