Dystopian mornings in London

I tragically fell into the habit of visiting a certain coffee and tea house every morning.

I’m a creature of habit; that’s one of the very few things I know about myself for sure. Routine grounds me, prevents my mind from running off into whirlwinds of worry and doom about there not being enough time (time for what? I don’t know, really, but I always feel like I’m about to run out of it.)

So when I realized that my sanity depended on the little chalkboard that said, “Coffee room open,” before the staircase that leads to the basement, I knew I was deep trouble. The fact that this certain coffee shop was a whole 5.5 thousand kilometres away from home wasn’t about to make anything easier.

(For the better part of 2019, I lived in London. I stayed there for another month and a half of 2020, but I didn’t develop this infatuation with that coffee house until the last two weeks.)

But I still went everyday, tormented by the thought that I’ll have to tear this part from my daily life soon. My mother joked that I met a lover there; that would explain why I was so dedicated.

(I didn’t.)

Inside the coffee house is another staircase, steep and a few hundred folds as claustrophobic as one outdoors. It takes you down to the cafe, and it honestly is a magical, magical thing how descending down that narrow set of steps brings about new sounds and noises and light, a little morning tucked in a coffee-scented basement in London.

I would drink my coffee in peace, with myself and everything else. I’m a terribly conflicted person inside, an anxious, angry mess. But I don’t think about it, or about life and what it may bring. I just have my flat white in such a serenity so foreign to me and the constant grinding in my brain.

This may sound incredibly romanticized, the half-hour I spend in a café being nothing more than daily routine to many. But it’d become a sort of ritual, a cherished and private escape from myself before anything else. I would read a tragic non-fiction book, Midnight in Chernobyl while listening to its audiobook, because I like it that much, and because Russian names are very difficult to keep track of.

In a sense I didn’t become unaware of the madness of the world above that little basement, but I just for a half-hour detached myself from it. There’s no dystopia more vivid than this reality– and I can’t tell if it’s a coping mechanism, our brain’s final attempts at grasping whatever thinning strands of hope it can find, seeking comforts enveloped within this world, hidden in it’s folds. But if it’ll spare me the torment of all this dread I’ll take it, delusion or not, for a few minutes of my day.

In the Land of the Rising Sun

This would be one of the posts I write as I go along (and I’ve forgotten how to write by the looks of it, so apologies in advance).

Anyways, hello!

I went on a trip to Japan for 10 days. I walked more than I had ever, and I saw lights and snow and mountains and shrines. I held up a hedgehog called Mina, and pet deer that roamed around the parks of Nara, and the owls in its cafes, and touched a shark and screamed when I felt its pulse. I hiked up a mountain to a monkey park and bought a Ghibli music box that made me cry when it played. I also sprinted across Hong Kong Airport twice cause I was too busy eating melons and almost missed my transit trip.

I ate so much, and I wore so much. It was colder than the last time we’d been there and definitely colder than Dubai. I started understanding why people who don’t live in the desert hate the cold, but I didn’t come to hate it anyway.

It was a wonderful trip, and now it’s over.

(Photo credits to my brother @_bnfahad)

I’m not really sad, I’m grateful about how smooth it went. It was the first two-person trip I’ve ever been on (joke’s on you and all the people of Japan who thought we’re a couple staying in different hotel rooms. I went with my younger brother), and the first I was primarily responsible for planning. Needless to say, I was anxious as heck every time we had to catch a flight or a train, or to check-in into a different hotel. Which means a lot of anxiety, because we stayed in 3 cities excluding the ones we went for one-day trips to.

But I’m feeling less grounded now. It’s hard to explain, but I was so dependent on this through 2018. Every time my thoughts would get out of control, I’d remember that there’s a trip waiting for me at the end of the year, so I would look up places to go to things to do. I’m glad the trip lived up to my expectations, and there is something I am anticipating in 2019, so I’m grabbing hold of that now, and using it to keep my eyes set on my goals.

Speaking of which, have you any resolutions? I generally don’t believe in them, but I’ve decided to write a small review/summary of (almost?) every book I read and movie I watch in 2019. I’ve gotten frustrated with forgetting the substance of all the media I consume, so what better time to begin something like this than the beginning of the year?

And finally, thanks for putting up with this loser of a writer (me) who posts once every blue moon. I wish you all years of happiness and prosperity 🙂