A few days ago, I was tagged by the lovely Raiha Buchanan, fellow Twitterer and blogger based in Stockholm, in a chain-letter style challenge to write seven facts about myself that I have not already revealed here — then I, in turn, get to choose seven others to do the same. Seeing as I seldom disclose anything more than basic personal specs and general unsensationalized opinion on-site, it comes as the perfect excuse to do something a bit different, especially seeing as I’m now very much obliged… And so, after two months of not having posted despite the initial plan promising otherwise, what follows below is a deviation from the usual — which I hope helps to shed a little light behind the anonymity that so easily surrounds us online.
1 I’ve moved house seventeen times, eight times of which were overseas. I moved to Cairo three months after I was born in Hampstead, London — then came Manama, London, New York, Cairo again, London again, and back to Cairo until I finally landed here in London once more. Contrary to popular belief, neither of my parents are diplomats, but the moves were due to my dad’s work throughout my childhood. The recent bout of chronic relocation, however, is entirely my own fault. And as much as I’d like to settle down in one place and feel what it is to have real roots in one place instead of a dozen, I certainly wouldn’t rule out moving again in the foreseeable future (and might already have a place in mind)…
2 Conventionality is not my forte, although that’s more general consensus than it is fact. The fact is I’ve never been through second grade in elementary school because I was mistakenly put in third grade a year early. I did tenth grade twice, left high school twice, finished secondary education without having officially graduated, and left university two times over. I originally wanted to be an architect but studied for degrees in Law and International Relations. And after setting out in web design when I was fifteen, starting work as a graphic designer at eighteen and taking a couple of gap years since, it seems it’s taken me forever to realize that what I’ve loved to do part-time is precisely what I should be doing full-time.
3 I’m missing a ligament in my left knee. My anterior cruciate ligament, to be exact, which I tore during a school basketball game when I was fifteen. Because I couldn’t warm up to the prospect of sticking in reallocated tendons with metal screws, I decided not to have the routine reconstructive surgery and opted for physical therapy and life-long conditioning instead. So for a few months I had to wear a brace that looked a lot like this, only mine had tiny flecks of silver on it because at the time I thought it would make an otherwise embarrassing clunk of aircraft aluminium look slightly cooler. A year later, I returned to basketball and started long-distance running at my new school after I moved again to Cairo.
4 I shaved my head when I was eighteen. The reason I did it would require another post of its own, so I’ll spare you the tale of teenage angst. Suffice it to say it involved long hair, a pair of scissors, and a leg razor (until I remembered there was an electric clipper in the bathroom cupboard). I also have seven piercings, none of which would require indecent exposure to view in public. I’ve thought about tattoos, but have too big a fear of commitment to get something done that would require a laser (and more than £100) to remove — which pretty much sums up my personal character when it comes to taking risks with seemingly permanent consequences.
5 I’ve been a vegetarian for ten years, with the exception of seafood. I’ve also been (involuntarily) wheat-free for five. Admittedly I am one of those home-grown, pro-organic, green-thumbed, animal-loving, unprocessed, canvas-bag-toting types who dislikes parabens and will happily wash out and separate all recyclables. But I much rather practice without preaching, and also tend to avoid other associated stereotypes such as meat substitutes and communal living.
6 I often unintentionally collect things. Books, teas, magazine cut-outs, old photographs, photographs of nothing in particular, Chuck Taylors, hard drives, Moleskines, cardboard, tableware, JPEGs in duplicate, more links than I can realistically sift through before we colonize Mars. Things I used to collect: mixtapes, wine, magazines, old ticket stubs, unused SIM cards, PDFs I’d never get around to, domain names, foreign currency before the credit crunch became an entry on Wikipedia. And for the sake of conveniently moving house, at no point may the sum of all things exceed the interior dimensions of a 6-seater van (two suitcases, four medium boxes, a backpack and 10TB).
7 My favourite place is at the summit of Mt Sinai. I’ve done the night climb to watch the sunrise at least once every year (or whenever the available time-to-money ratio has permitted), and the sheer overpowering magnitude of absolute silence whilst up there is worth every effort. In general, I love places without the frills that turn every location into a five-star destination brochure. Other places that I love and enjoy include Hampstead Heath, Djurgården, Massanutten Mt, Jardin des Tuileries, the coral reefs of Dahab, and any place where there’s an evening spent in good company with memorable conversation and great music.
So there you have it, the minutiae of an otherwise ordinary existence. And now next in line for the public dissection challenge, I’ve chosen three people whose posts on design, music, and other cultural miscellany continue to intrigue me on a daily basis: they are @inahill, @Goreki, and @H_C (in whose case a run-down of top 7 albums in a journal entry on Last.fm would be fine as well!). The rules of the challenge are written out here more clearly than how I described them above… I look forward to reading, and good luck!
Sarah Badr © MMIX