It is nearly my birthday and I received an envelope informing me to pack a bag. I envisaged a romantic get away, maybe a trip to Paris or some other European destination. I asked if I needed my swimwear and sunnies and the hint to the destination was in the answer, although I didn’t spot it. I was told I needed layers.
As we drove up the motorway my mind wondered where we were going. I thought street cafe’s in pretty town squares and I looked forward to a few days child free time. Then I realised we had not turned off the motorway so it was not Birmingham Airport we were heading to, then we passed East Midlands Airport and I was confused. The penny then dropped, we were not heading to some European destination for a city break. We were still heading north and I realised that we were going back to our youth. We were heading to Middlesbrough and the chilly North East. I laughed before getting excited. We were not going somewhere many would class as romantic but for us it is.
We met at The University of Tesside. We have a shared history in the north east, it was where we met, where we lived for three years and the place where we planned a future together. Lee and I met at the start of our university experience, living in the same halls of residence. We have had fun, we visited all our old favourites. We walked the streets of where we lived, we visited the bars we spent our 21st birthdays in and we managed to even get into our old lecture theatres and the student union.
So much is the same and yet so much has improved and developed. A bit like us really! 18 years ago we left without looking back, we didn’t even think about not being here or when we would ever return. We were headed on the next stage of our lives as we moved to Ramsgate to to start jobs. Coming here is special for us. We have explored the area and reminded ourselves about the people we once were and the dreams we shared. We have done alright really, three happy kids later I would call that a success. We loved being at Uni and have had such fun whilst here again.
This time round we have visited some places that we didn’t see in the three years we lived here! Durham is stunning and yet we never went to the Castle or Cathedral first time round. It was more about the bars back then!
The weather is still as blustery and cold as we remember and the streets we still recognised. It is hard to believe that our own daughter will soon be thinking about universities and at the stage where I met her dad. Coming ‘Back to the Boro’ has been fun, it has been a wonderful birthday surprise and although it may not be everyone’s top destination for a romantic getaway the North East will always be special to us.
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