What’s Your Story: Grace Bermeo

BHS senior explains the transition from the Big Apple to Biddeford, Maine.

Bustling streets, big schools, and bright lights replaced with pine trees, quiet nights, and a close community. For Grace Bermeo, this move from New York to Maine offered her so much more than a new zip code.

At the end of her fifth grade school year, senior Grace Bermeo and her family moved from Queens, New York to Biddeford. Coming from a big city to a tight-knit community offered challenges and new adjustments, but also provided a place for Bermeo to find her true self.

“I’m glad we moved because I’ve met amazing people. The people and places I surround myself with have helped influence me,” Bermeo said.

Deciding to make the transition from New York to Maine can seem drastic, but it wasn’t too new to this family. It proved to be a new home that was not only quiet, but also safer.

“What drew me most to Maine is my parents lived here. We always came down in the summer, the kids loved it here,” said Bermeo’s mom Susan. “I wanted them to start their teenage years in a good place.”

This place, as it turns out, was perfect to spend the middle and high school years, and now, extending to college.

“If I hadn’t moved, I feel like I would be a lot different. I would still be very shy and quiet and just not the person I am today,” said Bermeo. “I love the person I am today.”

I’ve changed by becoming a very social person. I always have to be doing something or going somewhere.”

— Grace Bermeo

Without this move, Bermeo never would have found amazing friends, including her lifelong best friend Sarrah Marcotte.

“My first best friend [in Biddeford] was Sarrah Marcotte. We became close in middle school and we’re still friends to this day,” said Bermeo. “We’re rooming together in college, she’s like a sister to me and I’m so grateful to have met her.”

Although Queens hasn’t been called “home” in years, it is still a big part of Bermeo’s life. Her family still visits twice a year to see her father’s family and old friends.

“I had a best friend in Queens who still is one my best friends currently. Our moms are best friends too and I still see them once a year,” Bermeo said.

Leaving behind the relationships and the environment of Queens was upsetting, but now Bermeo feels as though Maine is her home.

“[When I think about Maine] sometimes I’m like, ‘Oh my God get me out of Maine,’ but once I’m back in New York I’m like ‘get me back to Maine!’ so there’s definitely a balance between the two,” said Bermeo. “I don’t think I would ever [move back to the city], I prefer Maine–it’s lowkey and easy going, which I like.”

This easy going lifestyle is apparent in the difference between the everyday routines. Days spent in Queens involved dodging morning traffic and enjoying the public places around the city.

“I was young when I lived down in Queens, so a typical day would be getting up early. Because of the traffic, my mom would always have to drive us to school earlier,” said Bermeo. “After school, everyone would hang out at the park. It’s kind of weird now, but it was a thing everyone did back then.”

Not only has her routine changed, but her family has too. The daily life can involve a much more easy-going environment.

“Now, I get up typically 30 minutes before school, get dressed grab a coffee and head to school,” said Bermeo. “It’s more laid back here, and my parents are too. They used to be stricter when we lived there [in Queens].”

This more lenient home life allows Bermeo to explore and be with her friends.

“[I think] I’ve changed by becoming a very social person. I always have to be doing something or going somewhere,” Bermeo said.

Without this move, it wouldn’t have provided Bermeo with an opportunity to find herself and her lifelong friends. While Queens is still a big part of her life, Biddeford changed her for the better.

“My friends always say this thing ‘Grace we changed you. When you moved here you were so quiet, and we “broke” you,’” Bermeo said.

The experience of new friendships and moving to Maine opened Bermeo’s eyes to who she really is.