Lancers in the Crowd: Lauren t’Kint

Scott Snow, staff writer

Despite the societal bubble engulfing most of the United States, signs of an ancient time still manifest around the globe. The tradition and history that has shaped the rise and fall of countless people still lives on, its cultural influence ever present, their heirs living on in plain sight. One may even be in your math class.

Many students dream of flying away from the nest to see a world unlike one they had ever imagined. A world of cobbled streets and gnarled oak trees, classical buildings and unpronounceable last names. A world that Baroness Lauren t’Kint de Roodenbeke has naturally grown up into, but let’s go with t’Kint for short.

The similarities Lauren t’Kint, a junior at Carlsbad High School, shares with her peers at Carlsbad end at the Belgian border. Once inside, this modest teenager transforms into a remarkably identical form, only distinguishable by her French tongue and noble title.

“I think most people don’t know about it,” t’Kint said. “My best friends know, but in general I don’t broadcast it very much.”

Understandably so, considering that many people would not know how to react to finding out the girl in their third period is a Belgian Baroness. However, this life has seemed far from abnormal.

“I began going to Belgium before I can remember, I’ve visited at least thirty times,” t’Kint said.

When she does go she stays in Ooidonk Castle, characterized by its two bookend towers, a draw bridge, and its 2000 acres. There lives t’Kint’s grandfather, Count Juan t’Kint de Roodenbeke, owner of an aristocrat’s highest possible title and descendent of one of seven original Belgian aristocratic families.

“Aside from seeing my grandpa we visit all the rest of my family in Belgium. There are at least 200 of them,” t’Kint said. “I don’t even know all their names.”

t’Kint’s father knew such family only too well, growing up within it since childhood. However, born with a rebellious streak he fell more naturally to straying from home. Such adventurism would reorient his entire life.

“My dad was a professional climber for 5-10 [climbing company]. One day he was building walls in France and my mom walked in,” said t’Kint. “I guess that was that.”

Despite being the first person to marry a foreigner, t’Kint’s father received the support of the family.

“He was always very independent growing up, he was always off skiing in France, and so the family wasn’t very surprised by his decision,” t’Kint said.

Even though the family has always greeted t’Kint’s mother with open arms, marrying an American can put a geo-social strain on things. A distance over 5000 miles makes it difficult to see family enough, t’Kint has to make sure she abides by all the Belgian tradition, and her uncle teases that if she doesn’t marry a Belgian they’ll sign her out of the family.

But though there are certainly challenges that arises from planting roots across the world, t’Kint believes her unique youth has given her insight others can hardly appreciate.

“Growing up in two countries, having traveled so much, it really effects you” t’Kint said. “I leave the country and get to have an entirely new mindset, meet new people and appreciate how many different ways of life there are.”

t’Kint’s global experience not only fills her life story with tales of travel, but dissolves all barriers from her perspective on life. She speaks fluent French, is President of Athletes for Rwanda, and her plans for college have no predestinate country.

“I’m getting my EU citizenship next year, so I could go to college anywhere” t’Kint said. “I really don’t know what I will end up doing. I could live in Belgium, I love speaking French and feel right at home, I could end up somewhere else. I don’t know.”

Soon Lauren will be taking a trip across with her friends, most of whom have never left the country.

“They get a chance to go figure it out,” t’Kint said.

Figure out what? Lauren couldn’t tell me. But you could tell it was special, and that Lauren knew too.