My morning routine for my past four years living in Hong Kong went a little like this: an alarm going off at 6:10, a tired body would lay still but a knowing hand would make its way to the snooze button, usually more than once. Around 7 o’clock I’d be dressed and pulling my favorite red thermos out of the cupboard, ready to brew my green tea to bring along with me during the ride to school. By 7:15 I’d be getting onto the public bus, or taxi, depending on how many times my hand made its way to the snooze button earlier that morning.
My morning routine here in the small, quiet, historical town of “Morretes” is a little different. I wake on my own each dewy morning. Usually early enough to still watch the sun emerging from behind the mist covering Mount. Marumbi in childish wonder. I’d then sit myself upon a tree trunk at my new host family’s wooden dining room table with sleepy eyes and pour myself a steaming cup of black sugared coffee into a glass cup that I’ve already established as my favorite. The glass didn’t leave much room for insulation from the heat and my fingers, so each morning I’d strategically hold the cup between both hands with only my thumbs and index fingers – the three remaining splayed out to the sides.
You see, the thing is, in Hong Kong, my predictable daily routine caused me to already think negatively by my first thought at 6:10 AM. I would be dreading to wake up, dreading to get out of bed, dreading to go to the class I didn’t do work for, dreading to run into that one person in the hallway. Dreading to see what I saw yesterday and dreading to do what I’d do tomorrow.
Here, things were anything but predictable. I’d wake up in wonder of the mountains, wonder would then turn into dread when I thought of the bike ride into town. Dread turned to anxiety as I think of speaking in my broken Portuguese, anxiety into excitement when I plan to walk around town and take pictures of the old historical buildings. Life here is slow but somehow ever changing. I feel almost every emotion within the span of a few hours, and knowing that has awoken me from what I feel now was an idle life. And so, each day, I wake up with a lust for life.