count your blessings


written more than a year ago, when I still lived in Hong Kong.
now that I am in Prague, I realize that my ambitions have not really changed.

monday was a public holiday in hong kong; in commemoration of dragon boat festival, which is also known as tuen ng festival and dumpling festival. in other words, it’s all about boat rowing, wine drinking, and sticky-rice eating. I indulged in none of the above, but I did spend the day on the sunniest and brightest beach in hong kong. lower cheung sha beach will remain our favorite for as long as we are here.

because picture this: perfect azure blue skies, with soft breeze, chilled drinks, and light summery food. greek salad with not enough feta cheese, chickpeas, and cucumbers; flat pizza with tomato and basil and cranberry-infused iced tea. I read mandela and I took pictures and relaxed. did a whole lot of nothing, but I could feel that it was good for me. my body relaxed, my mind thought of nothing in particular too much or for too long.

I wondered why I should ever feel guilty about not feeling guilty. why it was nearly impossible to take as many days away from work as one wished, to wake up when one feels rested, to eat healthy and fresh produce without splurging insane amounts of money, to feel amazed when the air is clean rather than taking it for granted. because the air should and needs to be clean. because the oceans need to be clean. because our bodies and minds need to be clean.

hong kong is a place that does not pay attention or devote any time to urban infrastructure, to cleaner living and eating, to create sustainable ecosystems and natural environments. despite the existence of green queen and hundreds of others. globally, it is not enough. it does not even scratch the surface and it angers me. it saddens me. everything is manufactured and fake, and nothing will last for too long, until it is replaced with something else.

something that once used to be normal has now become a selling-point in the sea of consumerism. I ordered a mojito for refreshment and frankie, the boy who made and brought it for me, proudly exclaimed: this is our mint from the backyard, but we have no more, so you will have to choose another drink later. it was not a problem, really, but I wondered why it needs to be like that. why it should be an extraordinary fact that the mint was homegrown, rather than store-bought. I remembered my grandmother’s garden; it used to be my favorite thing to do every morning. picking tiny strawberries to go with pancakes, and cucumbers to put into our salads for lunch, picking off leaves of basil and mint for flavored water. we used to have aloe vera, wild lavender, and small orange tangerines. we grew our own peppers, parsley and blitva – a vegetable not unlike spinach, but with more a profound and developed taste.

an idea that I am often revisiting and thinking about; one day I will have to leave the city and move to a secluded area, a piece of land that has not been destroyed, developed or expanded to suit the masses. I will have to move somewhere where the idea of a natural life is not a strange one, but a given one. something that no one even thinks about, but just does.

maybe then I will find contentment.