We Were Young

When I was 16 I wanted to get married at 23. I had this whole thing planned out. I would be graduated from college, going to law school and such. To top all my blessings I would be getting married to a man that is unapologetically in love with me. Being that I turned 22 two days ago and I don’t know anyone who wants to marry me anytime soon, I believe it’s only appropriate I write a letter to the 16 year old me.

Tangier with my boys

Dear Sixteen year old me,

I know you’re hurting right now, I know that you are sick and tired of the doctor and all the medicine. I know that you feel like you are never going to stop crying from the pain you are feeling inside right now, but mami we made it.

Not only did you get better, you also got stronger. Some amazing things have happened since, you are not in law school, not engaged to anyone, but you are living a life you so long prayed for.

You got into a great college and are studying Journalism and Politics. Believe me or not you enjoy being behind the camera. You love capturing moments and showing people things that they might not pay attention to themselves. You wrote 5 articles that got published signed Deborah-Julie Katsuva—I can hear you screaming.  Politics is a whole other story. Some classes are harder than others but you are learning in every single one of them.

Kati and Tamara doing their thing

The coolest thing you recently did and probably the coolest thing you’ve done so far is study abroad in Morocco—girl you should scream for this one. Honestly the whole process to getting there felt like a drag. From study abroad applications with lots of essays to visa applications, it was a drag that was worth it. In Morocco you grew as a journalist— as cliche as this might sound— you more importantly grew as a person. You made friends whom you share a passion with. It was so good to be surrounded by people who are fighting the same fight as you. Man those kids are sooooooo SMART. They were journalists, lawyers, film and documentary producers, artists, brothers, sisters, and most of all very passionate people.

MOJ 2017

Then was you host family—GOD BLESS THEM. You’re gotta love them. Your host mom is such a sweet and loving woman, your sister is such a princess (a bit annoying but truly loving), your host dad is your Bigest fan ( still more of a Barcelona’s fan than yours), your brothers really do bring the best side of you, the oldest one because of all the walls you can see he has built to protect himself, the youngest one because who wouldn’t love Soulaiymane. You won’t believe me but you are now used to eating out of the same place as 5 strangers—who will become family.

In other notes you finally have a Latina friend and yes she can be as typical as Gabrille on Desperate HouseWife. And not you never went out with Mbayi , call it boys being boys or whatever you want but it didn’t happen. No you are not sad about it, not at all actually you’ve grown out of it I guess. Oh Jennifer is a nurse and she is kicking ass so that went as planed.

I will update you as soon as anyone tells me that they want to marry you (us). Before then sit thight because the ride is about to get very interesting.

From D.R.Congo to Burlington, VT, all the way to Morocco and back,

I love you kid.

Dinner made by mama Nadia

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