Have you ever experienced a European sunrise? A cup of coffee cupped in both hands as the sun peeks over the horizon. In big cities, small villages, or out in the countryside where you can’t even see our neighbors, it’s always the same. In the pre-dawn hour everything stands still. Time stops and all is perfect in that moment.
Sure, Americans have that same hour every day. We even have coffee, although once you’d had a real espresso, American coffee never tastes the same again. Yet, somehow it never quite compares to the intense feeling of peace gained from experiencing the sunrise in Europe. I have tried and failed many times in the country I grew up in, to replicate how I felt waking up in faraway lands. In France and Belgium, among other countries, the perfection of the sunrise comes with a feeling that all is right in the word as the sunlight illuminates all that the night hides. There’s an inexplicable sense of being a part of everything. One tiny cog in a grand machine, yet irreplaceable and invaluable at the same time. A miniscule piece of the universal puzzle that would be incomplete without you to finish it and make it whole.
As a night owl, I never thought that any sunrise would have such an irrevocable effect on me or my life. Most of my life I’d gone to sleep right before this magical time of morning began. After spending some time in Europe, seeing family, meeting new friends, staying in hostels, riding trains, learning the history of amazing places and learning some valuable things about who I am, I know that I remain forever changed by those mornings spent in silence with a cup of coffee in my hands.