Even though I set an alarm clock, I’m usually up before it goes off. I think it’s because I hate the noise. I need to keep my mornings sane, and buzzing or ringing or music startling me awake isn’t conducive to tranquility and my overall pleasant demeanor.

When I get up in the morning, I fill the electric kettle with cold water and turn it on. I use cold water out of habit. In the United States, in the places that I’ve lived, warm and hot water carry more particulate. It’s cloudy. In Finland it’s clear at any temperature, but I still feel like it’s more pure when I start with cold.

I measure out ground coffee into the French press, which is just called a coffee press here. No slight against the French, but it’s not really a culture-specific thing. We’ve come to like this system better than an American-style coffee maker. Those do just one thing. I can use the kettle to heat water for a variety of reasons, and the press can also brew loose tea. In my opinion, the coffee from a press tastes better, too.

Depending on how early I’m up, I’ll journal. I usually look over the day ahead, write some things down, make a few lists. Then I’ll put on a pot of water to boil small Finnish potatoes, or I’ll make rice. I do rice in a small saucepan with a lid. It’s not hard. I don’t need a rice cooker. It comes out perfect every time, you just need to get your timing right and keep an eye on it.

So far, no electronics. No internet, no TV, no music. About the time Katie gets up I’ll pour the hot water into the press and let the coffee brew. I’ll take a pan, put it over medium-low heat, and add a small dash of oil and a pat of butter. Then I’ll whisk some eggs in a bowl, and make scrambled eggs to go with the potatoes or rice. I may add some spinach, or slice some fresh tomatoes. When mushrooms are in season I might saute some of those with onions. There’s always fruit as well, bananas or apples or oranges.

By the time the food is ready, the coffee will be too. I’ll pour, and Katie and I will sit and eat breakfast. We’ve got a “no news until after we eat” rule. It’s my rule, really. She’s looking at her tablet as soon as she wakes up. I don’t want to hear anytihng about the world until I’ve had a chance to wake up a bit, drink my coffee, and enjoy my food.

I need to keep my mornings sane.

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