Dear 13-year-old Devin,
I sit in another country writing this note.
You are only 13. A new teenager.
This year is going to be a big year for you and also for your country. I can only tell you so much right now.
I know you recently started go to school at the High School, because the middle school and High School are combined. Your class was used to being the big kids last year at the Elementary School, and now it will feel like you are the babies.
You found this note in your locker when you realized your best friend from 5th and 6th grade moved away without even telling you she wouldn’t be coming back. I know you are feeling alone. I know it’s hard, But, I promise that life gets better and that’s probably the last thing you want to hear at this moment.
You wont always have to be the lone wolf walking down the halls alone. Instead of looking at the ground and shying away from they other kids stares. Don’t worry about if they are talking about you behind your back.
Challenge the kids who make you feel insecure.
Stand up tall and smile.
Ignore their attempts at making you hurt or cry.
Continue to draw and write.
You will meet a great friend soon. Keep your eyes open for her. Her name is Silvia Atanassova. I promise she will be a blessing in disguise. She is an exchange student from Bulgaria.
She will inspire you to stretch your limits farther than you thought possible.
She will inspire you to travel across the ocean. It may all seem a little scary at this point, because I know you feel content at home with Tony, Cassidy, Mom and Dad! Which is fine, and good.
You will meet Silvia in the library, make sure you say hi and talk to her when you see her typing in a different language.
Another moment you may not quite understand… which will continue to confuse you throughout your life will begin on an early morning in September, you will be sitting in your science classroom. Your teacher will make his way to turn on the tv and Within the click of the power button, you will be shocked by what you see. An airplane will make its way through the first tower of the World Trade Center in New York.
It will be hard to believe. And no, it isn’t a joke.
It was an act of war.
I would love to say that your Country has fully healed from that scare that happened 12 years ago, but it hasn’t completely yet. I am hoping for great things in the future of America and I know that God has a plan.
Keep following him.
He has something big planned for you in the future. I am still unaware of everything at 25.
When Silvia looks for a college to attend in the States, you are going to be really excited, but when she isn’t able to. Stand strong. It’s hard when friends can’t stay.
You and Silvia both will make a pact to be in each other’s wedding one day. It is one of the hardest days to say good-bye to her, but you KNOW YOU WILL SEE her again. The day Silvia gets back to Bulgaria she will phone you. The concept of talking to someone so far away on the phone will be unbelievable to you.
Keep in touch with her.
Your Mom will start homeschooling you, your sister, and brother. It will give you a huge chance to see more, do more, and reach your dreams.
Have faith, because everything will turn out, even when it seems like it wont. You will meet people and go places you never Imagined.
So, I leave you with this final thought. Devin, you are beautiful. Don’t have low self esteem. Don’t feel depressed. Let all of that vanish. All that pain and hurt from the years of being bullied. You are blessed and beautiful and there is an amazing life out there waiting for you. Love you.
Devin (your 25-year-old self)
Note to readers from when this letter was first written: When I sat down to write this note, I was totally sent back to that time in my mind. I am so grateful that Silvia came to Minnesota. Yesterday was her birthday – June 8th. She added a light into my life. It was really nice to have a legit friend who loved me for who I was.
I just thought I would share this with all of you though, In 2010 when I was studying abroad in Australia. I was checking my email and found a letter addressed from Silvia.
I was so excited and opened it to find a note from someone else saying that he was Silvia’s English Teacher from High School. He said that Silvia’s Mom wanted him to respond to me. At that moment, I knew it couldn’t be good.
Yes, you all have guessed correctly.
My best friend from 7th grade had passed away.
I broke out into huge tears. It was so hard to read. All I could think of was the last time I’d seen her. How we’d promised to see each other again. She had inspired me and I was still set on going to Bulgaria to visit her when she got married. But, now that will never happen.
I will keep my promise to her though – I will go visit her in Bulgaria and will see her home. It’s always tough when things like this happen.