I hope this letter finds itself in your virtual archives, ready to be read in a world so advanced the keys it's currently being typed on seem absurd and inefficient. 

And while this world may now be so far ahead, I hope some parts of you remain the same. Like the softness that allowed you to exude laughter everyday and the way you've always saw people for what they could be. I also hope some things have finally changed about you- like how you're so overly sensitive towards things that shouldn't even matter and how you've allowed these "could've been" people take advantage of you. 

Are you still obsessed with the things you're passionate about? Like how you'd run home after school as a child, under the beaming Benin sun to articulate your huge imagination into art. I hope you've stopped being so hard on yourself, self doubt was always one of your biggest challenges. I hope when you look back at this letter, written on your way to work in an uncomfortably crowded train and you smile at the memory.

Remember when you were flunking your freshman year of college because you were going legally blind? HA! Now look at you with all these degrees and honors, still going at it to make a difference in the world. What about all the crappy jobs that got the bills paid but made you sob? Now look at you all proud at the lessons life has taught you. 

Through all the obstacles you've faced, I hope you continue to turn them into opportunities. I hope you've chased your dreams, like you did with those fireflies and frogs in the deserted summer nights of Guinea. You loved sitting under the mango trees and letting the breeze hit your face while you imagined your future at such a tender age. Do you still dream of seeing the world like you did as a little girl keeping up with click of your mother's heels in the massive airports? For what it's worth, you've spent most of your time as a new U.S. citizen, saving up and eating meal prepped lunches so you could see it all and mark it on your world map.  

You've had this thing instilled in you, where if you wanted something bad enough, you went after it by any means necessary. You've trained yourself to be independent, courageous and determined- I hope that never changes. Whatever you are going through right now, don't be so hard on yourself because I am proud of you. If you haven't already, please stop living in cognitive dissonance and go for what what sets your soul on fire. Never, ever settle and don't feel bad when those you have tell you that you should. 

I believe in you,

Love Aïchatou. 

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