I had never lived anywhere but the city my entire life. It was not because my parents were born in the concrete jungle like I was, no. In truth, my mom and dad met, grew up, and fell in love with each other in a tiny town in Tynemouth, where my grandparents still lived. But they wanted to give me better opportunities than they ever had, so they saved up and moved to NYC before I was even born.
Life In The City
I would often see in the movies that kids who got uprooted from their hometown tend to have difficulty fitting in with everyone else. Well, I agree to disagree with that. Despite growing up in New York, I still felt as much of an outsider as my mom and dad ever felt the first time they set foot in the Big Apple.
I was never sure why I did not feel a sense of belonging in that city. My parents would always ask, “Is anyone bullying you?” I would reply no, and they would not believe me because I would continue to look sad and sluggish.
When I continued to act like that until middle school, my parents decided to take me to a counselor. Mostly, they worried that I might be entertaining some suicidal thoughts in my serenity. I would insist that that’s never happened – that I merely had nothing to say – but they had seen too many teenage suicides to take my word for it.
Although seeing a counselor was against my wishes, I tried to be as honest as possible when I met one. I told her that I did not feel like I belonged in NYC, and she said that some people tend to feel that way about a location. She clarified to my parents that it’s hardly due to bullying in my case, which allowed them to sigh in relief.
Then, the counselor suggested something we had never done before. “Why don’t you visit your hometown? Your daughter might benefit from the quiet life and fresh air there.”
My parents contemplated it the entire weekend. The reality was that I had never been to that little town in Tynemouth. Mom and dad tend to fly their parents to NYC every year for days of luxury and fun, but it was never the other way around. They insisted that nothing is exciting about seeing fields and waters left and right, so the new arrangement was better for everyone. However, because of my counselor’s suggestion, the prodigal kids had no choice but to come home.
Visiting The Small Town For The First Time
My parents showed me from the old photos; there was genuinely nothing to see in their old hometown. Since it was the UK, I expected it to be wet and cloudy all the time, too. But I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the sun shining brightly once we landed at the Heathrow Airport. I took it as a positive sign for our trip.
My parents had a lot of pit stops on the way. That made me feel like they were trying to do everything to avoid seeing Tynemouth again. Instead of copying their emotions, though, it made me more interested in finding out what’s so bad in that little town that they dreaded every minute they got closer to it.
A few hours later, I found out how sorely mistaken my parents were about their hometown. Tynemouth was beyond exquisite! It was a far cry from the modern city I grew up in, but its tiny houses and buildings held a certain charm that contemporary structures might take forever to have. I looked at my parents, and I saw a pleasant surprise on their faces.
“I see a lot of progress here, but the people managed to maintain that old-town feel. Wow!” my dad could not help but exclaim.
Every day since our arrival in Tynemouth, my parents and I would visit their old hangout places. Some of them continued to stand up to this day, but the others that got replaced still showed a semblance to the past. We would end each day with a dip in Prior’s Haven or King Edward’s Bay – two of the most famous beaches there.
Visiting Tynemouth was the perfect counseling advice I got. It was also something that would hopefully stick for the rest of my life. That’s especially true now that my parents fell in love with their hometown again and could not wait to visit it soon.
When I told my friends back home about my little adventure, they did not get the appeal of staying in a small town on purpose. Instead of feeling alienated by that, I merely shrugged and thought, “More of Tynemouth for me, I guess.”