10 years ago.

Dear Lisa,


It is 2007 and you’re 16 going on 17. This will be an exciting year for you, with many things happening.

You’ve recently dyed your hair black. After going gradually darker, occasionally throwing a colourful accent in there, it’s now properly, no-going-back black. I know you think you look really cool but I have to tell you that it’s not a strong look combined with your very pale skin. It’s okay, though, you’ll realise that yourself soon enough.

As of February, you’ve got your first ever boyfriend. It’s all very new and exciting and he will continue to be a part of your life for another two or three years, albeit that you’ll break up in December 2008. It will be one of those teenage romances, with many firsts and many lasts, but it won’t make an everlasting impression on you. Or maybe you just still don’t know the effects that it had, other than the usual experiences you make. The time you’ll spend with him has its ups and downs but that’s what a first – or any – relationship brings with it, isn’t it?

You’ll take a break from him (and he from you) for six months as you spend July until December in Brisbane, Australia. It will be the most formative time of your life and the reason why, once you’re back, you don’t really fit with your boyfriend anymore. However, you will try and fix it until the very end, as you will do with every relationship after. The time in Australia will help you grow so much, which is no surprise considering you’re living at the other side of the world, at the age of 16 (turning 17 while you’re there), without any family or friends. The fact that you don’t get along with your host family will be horrible at first but it will only make you stronger. I wonder if they still don’t know you accidentally kicked the dog through the living room when you came home late?

The fact that you’re drunk on Jim Beam every single weekend makes me wonder how you’ve got any brain cells left, but even now, I must say you did everything right. You made friends, you attended every social event there was and you lived your life to the fullest – as much as it allowed your underage-self, anyway (let’s not talk about the few times you broke the law. Got away in the end, didn’t you?). Also, how is it 2017 now and you still don’t know how you broke your foot after that (not so) memorable Oktoberfest evening?!

Your body changes a lot in this time. Not only are you dancing significantly less than when you were in Germany (proper dancing, that is. You’re still dancing a lot, especially once your friend Jim has made an appearance), but you mostly spend your time eating and laying on the beach, i.e. doing exactly the right thing. Don’t worry about the fact that your dad started to call you ‘full moon face’, it’s okay!

Isn’t it funny that you got kicked out of school and you nearly couldn’t even go to Australia? Why does that slip your mind all the time? It was the first time people treated you unfairly because you were different and had your own opinion, how can that escape your memory? I regret to inform you that it won’t be the last time people behave like this towards you; the fact that they should have been authoritative figures doesn’t mean anything. It never does.

You end the year with getting your lip pierced. After a year of trying to convince your dad, he finally lets you have it. Thank god you went to Australia and are now pretty much a grown-up, hey? You’re so proud of it and feel like this was the last thing that you needed to express your true self. Sorry to disappoint you but it will last all of four months until you take it out and can’t get a new ring through. The scar, however, is still visible at age 26 now (but only if you pout).

The difficult years are yet to come but 2007 was definitely a good preparation. You’re a pretty strong now-17-old, and by the way, I’m writing this from your room in London. I know that your time in Australia showed you how desperately you want to move away from Germany. Your dream of moving abroad has been born but don’t worry – you’ll fulfil it.

Oh, and you know that guy Newton Faulkner you’ve been listening to all the time? You’ll grow to love him and his music like no other and, well, you’ll also shed a tear or two at every single concert. Yeah, even as a 20-something woman. Sorry.

Stay strong x


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