My friend Nazli sends us an annual questionnaire to recap the year’s key memories. I answered the same questions with some additions.
- Movie of the year: The Lunchbox. I saw it on the flight going to California and the flight back in addition to any flight that was showing it. Yes , it is that good and yes I’m obsessive sometimes!
- Best TV series: Didn’t watch much TV this year. The only channel I watched the most is E!
- Song of the year: Pimona
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- Favorite trip: India in Eid, San Francisco in July and Moscow in October
- Favorite gift: A huge map of the world. It was a gift that I gave myself. It keeps me inspired everyday. I also love my colorful pastel rug from India.
- Favourite Book:
So many good books but here are my favourite by category. Photography: The passionate photographer by Steve Simon and Within the Frame by David duChemin Fictional: Mornings in Jenin, Snow Biography: Out of Egypt Arabic: سمراويت , حول العالم في ٢٠٠ يوم
- Restaurant of the year: Urth Cafe, Pasadena and Katsuya in LA
- Show of the year: Pink Martini Live in Bahrain
- Favorite hangout: Words bookstore cafe
- Favourite party/gathering/social event: Reunion with Nat Geo friends August in Dubai. And another reunion with my friend Maha and her besties also in Dubai in November.
- Countries you visited in 2014: UAE (of course!), Jordan, Palestine, USA (California), Egypt, Qatar, India, Russia, Lebanon and new years eve in Sudan!
- Achievements: Getting recognized officially as a blogger and photographer. I was invited to be the first blogger/photographer among the first Gulf Air trip to Moscow. It was a historical day for Gulf Air and a day in history for me to be sitting among two ministers, the Russian ambassador and the CEO of Gulf Air among many key journalists in Bahrain. I also got published in many magazines including my first photoessay in Alef Magazine.
- A dream that came true: Sleeper Class exhibition (It was the best night of my year). Travelling to Palestine.
- A big gain: Meeting wonderful people specially in Palestine, Nat Geo friends, Steve Simon’s class and Moscow trip.
- Best memory: Entering Jerusalem we were all in shock I kept asking our guide are we in Jerusalem is this real ? It was just surreal.
The first day I arrived in Palestine the very first shot I took from Omar Mosque looking towards the church in Bethlehem. Opening the window shutters at Raas hotel in Jodhpur and having the blue city greet me every single morning and waking me on the sounds of Athan. Sitting at Younis Cafe listening to music and singing with Karim and Emilie without a care in the world.
- A Big Change: Started a retirement saving plan.
- Bad Memory: I prefer not to remind myself of bad stuff.
- Most embarrassing memory: Horse riding during the shooting of Nat Geo show. I hate animals, I’m scared of their unpredictable behaviour and I have fear of heights. All of those phobias made the experience so embarrassing trying to ride the horse in front of the camera. I was also wearing a tight jeans which was not practical for horse riding at all! I managed to get over the horse and take a quick round the field without falling but when they asked us to repeat the scene again and get on the horse one more time. I said absolutely NO I can’t do it again!
- Funniest memory: I laughed a lot when I was in Palestine with the most insane group ever. One of them was from Libya he was the star of the group always making us burst laughing.
- Something you regret: Not taking careful decisions at times. I also get sloppy in planning when I’m overwhelmed. For example I nearly missed my flight to Bahrain from LA. The transit in HongKong for the flight to leave at 1 am and I thought it was 1 pm. I actually checked in the airport hotel and took a shower then realised I need to be at the airport within an hour. I paid BD 150 for the hotel. It was the most expensive shower I ever had!
- A crazy thing you did: Booking back-to-back flights Qatar Bahrain then Bahrain Dubai. I had only few hours at home to sleep then went back to the airport ! Going to LA through HongKong was also a crazy thing!
- Favourite routine: 1) Sundays/Mondays. Anticipating Singapore Flower blossom buddy surprise delivery. Fridays Mornings at words bookstore cafe and bumping randomly to friends most of the time mostly Marwa and Basma. Saturday brunches with Reem.
- How did you spend your birthday? Packing for Moscow trip!
- You spent most of your time in 2014 doing this: Travelling or preparing to travel. Packing and unpacking
- You spent most of your money in 2014 on: Hotels, flight tickets and I guess food.
- Habits that changed in 2014: Started Yoga last Ramadan, I also controlled my shopping addiction to photography gear.
- What did you change about your looks? Toward year end I made a drastic very short hair cut
- Something new you’ve learnt: Yoga, Reiki and I became a better planner.
- If you could repeat all of 2014 once again, what would you change about it? I wouldn’t have wasted two weeks of my annual leaves participating in Nat Geo show. It didn’t add value to my portfolio nor to me as an artist and not even in publicity (I was and still doing just fine without the need of endorsements). But I met many great people and made lots of friends during the show I wouldn’t change that part. It was a fun experience the only regret is wasting a big portion of my limited number of leaves shooting the show.
- New Year resolution: Not to let others waste my productive time with insincere promises. To negotiate and say “What’s in it for me”. I also wish to travel more to new countries.
- When did you fear for your life? When I was going back to the hotel with my friends in Palestine, it was late around midnight and we were stopped by Israeli army at a checkpoint and they started searching the vehicle and took our male friend for search outside the car. It was the longest couple of minutes. The same night I decided to change my flight back to go home earlier. I also feared for my life when I was in Darjeeling. The hills are scary and the drivers are reckless.
- Favourite room view: Blue city in Jodhpur and the hills of Darjeeling
- Mostly influenced by: David Hobby’s talk at GPP, Steve Simon’s the passionate photographer and Habib Toumy’s motivational chats.
- Favourite event: GPP shootout
- App of the year: VSCOcam
- Best hotel experience: Raas hotel in Jodhpur and the Ritz-Carlton Moscow
- Favourite walks: Beirut early morning, Moscow at sunset and Pasadena walking to the workshop center
- A new trend: Started doing baby photography
- Connecting with inner child: Toy Train in Darjeeling
- Longest Flight: Bahrain-Dubai-Hong Kong-LA it was crazy!
In Summery it was a great productive year. I met wonderful people who are now part of my life. I hope 2015 is a continuation of the hard work and success I gained. I also want to thank every single person who believed in me (there are too many to mention). Thank you for always having my back and giving me a tough time when I needed to.