Dear twelve-year-old Mathilde,
This time next year, you'll be thirteen. Yes, that will make you a teenager, but it won't make you a woman. In fact, it will make you a snotty bitch. But it's okay, all thirteen-year-olds are like that. Can I just ask that you tone it down a bit? Seriously, it will be embarassing in the years to come. You are not too cool to talk to anyone. Enjoy being able to communicate now, because in a few years, you won't be able to. Right, I forgot to mention you move to Belgium. I know, Belgium, right? As it turns out, it's the perfect place for you to be. The language barrier is a bitch for the first month or so, though. So talk to everyone you know who speaks the same language you do while you have the chance. Luckily, even at twelve, you are pro at the foreign thing, so being a Spanish-speaking French-Canadian American immigrant in Belgium should be no problem. Also, don't listen to what people say about taking it slowly. Don't do anything slowly. You're too busy for patience. All that waiting will catch up to you when you're in Belgium and you realize you only have a year to do everything you've ever waited to do. All that waiting will have done nothing for you. There will be so many things you'll wish you had done before you came to Belgium, so that at least you were used to something. Nothing will go right. You'll break things and face humiliation at every turn because you've never actually done anything by yourself before. If there is anything you wonder about, even if it seems useless and strange, research it before you realize you should have known the whole time. Otherwise, there will be Google breaks at inopportune moments. Yes, a participant in the incident I am referencing will read your blog, and he will be either flattered or offended that you mentioned this particular event, but you'll be willing to take the risk because you're seventeen and an idiot. Also, be nice to your parents. I think they liked you back then. You like each other a lot more when you move out. You won't be homesick, but grateful. That right there is when you finally grow up.
It seems vain, but I'm sending this to you with love.
Mathilde in 2010