I knew within ten minutes of getting off the train, the first time I came to Newcastle, that this was where I wanted to be.
I was 17 going on 18 and applying to universities. Mainly on the transpennine express route, for some reason. Before the open day in Newcastle, I'd decided to go to Durham. (It was inevitable that I would end up in the North East, really.) I loved the overnight stay I had in Trevelyan College at Durham.
But there was something in the air when I got off the train in Newcastle. The sun was shining and warmed the air in the station. The taxi driver who took me to the University was chatty, telling me about how they'd changed the traffic flows on Percy Street, how they'd caused havoc. (Fourteen years on, it does take quite a while to get down that road, now I stop to think about it.)
I knew immediately that this was where I wanted to be.
I dropped out of uni in the end; too much socialising, not enough work. Or maybe I was kicked out; I never did work out which really happened. I ran, tail between legs, back to my parents' house. I lived there another two years, going out every night to drink soda water and play (bad) pool at a pub down a dark country road, because I didn't want to face the fact that I wasn't where I wanted to be and didn't know how to change it.
Then I got a boyfriend in Yorkshire and moved there once I'd found a job. I told myself that I loved the city I'd moved to - and I did. But it wasn't home. It was never home.
I split up with the boyfriend, got back with D, who I'd had a fling with years earlier. I applied for job after job and finally got one, moved back up north after three years in Yorkshire.
I never settled in Yorkshire. But ten minutes after moving back to the north east, I knew I was back home again. D's a geordie; he's never lived far from Newcastle. I can't imagine we'll ever leave.
Thinking about all this has got me thinking. Why do you live where you live? Was it something you chose or just something that you fell into? Do you feel like you are home? Will you stay where you live now? Is there anywhere you miss, or anywhere you'd pay to never go back to?