It seems like only yesterday that I was writing a round-up of 2009′s activities yet its been a whole year and this year is already almost gone.
We spent the beginning of 2010 in Manama, Bahrain at the Ritz-Carlton ushering in the new year with friends Andrew and Tosin. It was my first trip to Bahrain so I was able to “add” another country and city to my list!
And I did that many more times during the year! This year’s travels brought us to five new countries and many new cities.
Our summer holiday was a 10-day land tour of Morocco followed by a cruise with 7 stops in the Western Mediterranean.
Morocco, especially Casablanca, was somewhere I’d wanted to go to since forever. We met some nice people during this trip from our tour guides Mohamed and Tata, to the staff at Riad LaRoussa. There were many highlights of the trip but a few we will remember most would include our stay at Riad LaRoussa in Fez, the home-cooked lunch at Tata’s family home and the night we spent in the Sahara Desert. We also caught the Sahara sunrise and that was memorable too.
We went to Rome again this year to board the Costa Pacifica for our cruise. And it was great to eat in our favourite Italian restaurant – la Capricciosa again! I think they should give a loyalty card because we could have eaten there for lunch AND dinner everyday!
We did some sightseeing of places we had missed the last time we were in Rome and of course some shopping too. We also made a day trip to Florence and Pisa since we had never been there before. We enjoyed the cultural experience thoroughly and not only that, but hubby also found his iPad, of all things, in Florence.
I also found something I had been looking for but it wasn’t an iPad No prizes for the right guess!
The cruise was more relaxed for us this time and we added Monaco, Malta and Tunisia as new destinations! The Costa Pacifica was a fine ship but there were some things we did not enjoy about it so we don’t we will be going on another Costa cruise.
The highlight was definitely meeting Rose and Joe Saliba in Malta. I was glad that I managed to contact them before the cruise and they were waiting for us when we arrived in La Valeta. We had met them on our second cruise which was to the Caribbean in 2006. They hadn’t changed much at all – it was great to see them and we spent the entire day with them seeing the sights of the island of Malta.
Monte Carlo was also fun – we walked all the way up to the top along the Formula 1 circuit – and I loved the quaint city of Taormina when we stopped at Sicily. Overall the cruise experience this time was just average and it was a little sad that we didn’t meet anyone interesting like we had done on previous cruises.
During the year, we also planned and organised a long-awaited trip to Beirut, Lebanon and across to nearby Damascus, Syria. It was to take advantage of the the long holidays in Kuwait for the national and liberation days in the third week of February. Of course I looked forward to it as, after almost 7 years in Kuwait, I was quite tired of answering my Lebanese friends’ questions: when are you going to visit my country?
We had to cancel that trip because of an emergency.
2010 will go down in history as the year Mummy suffered a stroke which left her paralysed on the left side. We flew home in a hurry to be with her and the rest of the family. I stayed 6 weeks in Malaysia till mid-March and saw Mum everyday at the hospital. I was back again in the first week of July and stayed 2 1/2 months until mid-September. We found a very good Physiotherapist for mum and he goes three times a week to do various exercises with Mum to help her develop her strength and do all the things she was doing before the stroke. Mum is doing very well and insha Allah, she will be on her feet again soon.
I spent the whole of Ramadhan in Malaysia, and hubby spent it in Kuwait. This year we “celebrated” our 14th wedding anniversary on Skype and it was the first time we ever did so. We both agreed we would do something together for the anniversary when I got back from Malaysia. Eid came and went and we went on a family trip together with Danial to Cambodia for a few days after Eid before going back to Kuwait.
It was a humbling experience being in that part of the world.
It was also World Cup fever in 2010 and we experienced the fever in various locations – on the streets of Rome and on the cruise ship. Back in Kuwait it got more exciting as Spain made it to the quarter finals and we joined the Spanish community to watch the match and cheer Viva España! I watched the finals in Malaysia with Danial while hubby watched it with other Spanish people in Kuwait at the ballroom of a hotel – all organised by the Spanish embassy!
The most important thing we discovered in 2010 was “la dolce far niente”, thanks to the movie “Eat, Pray and Love”.
I never knew that the concept of doing nothing could be so rewarding.
To me it had always been important to make sure that every moment should be spent doing something “productive” so we were always planning, organising, writing down to-do’s and then ticking them off. It always gave us a sense of achievement and it felt like we wasted TIME if we didn’t do anything. We had an opportunity to live this out on our trip to celebrate our anniversary in Mauritius in November. For the first time in our history of travelling, we went with no itinerary, and no plans. Just a general idea of what we would like to experience and a lot of clothes to suit anything we wanted to do. We over-packed big time! LOL
It was a very interesting holiday and for the first time we felt truly relaxed.
Hubby didn’t do much business travel this year but we went to Paris together when he had to deliver a paper at the World GSM conference at the end of October. It was almost completely unplanned but I ended up meeting a couple of Malaysian friends who now lived in Paris. It was good to see them and relive old times and make new memories.
Towards the end of November and the whole of December, hubby travelled virtually every week to Dubai, Sharm alShaikh and Amman for his strategy meetings. I was supposed to go to Dubai with him to stay with our friends there but had to cancel it because I needed to do a lot of things in Kuwait!
This year I picked up on my Spanish with a great new learning series by Michel Thomas and am more confident about saying things in Spanish. I still have a bit more to go through before speaking the language fluently but one of my resolutions is to keep it up and speak more with hubby so that I don’t lose it!
Now on this trip to San Sebastian I can understand a bit more and am willing to try and say things in Spanish and not be too embarassed!
I didn’t do as much painting as I would have liked to but added quite a few new students through taster classes I held in February and December. My advanced students came and painted a nice large canvas and Nina especially, painted a few interesting things as usual! Kudos Nina for your adventurous spirit in painting.
I started an oil painting a few days before leaving on the final trip of the year to San Sebastian and it’s coming along great. So great that I wished I didn’t have to stop and do the packing for our trip!
The top to-do for 2011 is to paint more oils on canvas. This I promise myself.
Danial is doing really well developing his career and building his career in his consulting job at Deloitte in Malaysia. This year he started kickboxing and seems to be enjoying it a lot.
He recently celebrated his 25th birthday. Dan, the man. And I continue to miss having him with us.
We are now in Valladolid, Spain spending the day and evening with hubby’s uncle, aunt and cousins and tomorrow we return to San Sebastian to spend the traditional new year’s eve dinner with my sis-in-law, her husband and her in-laws. Her mother-in-law will make the evening memorable with more of her special dishes, I’m sure.
2010 also marks the end of a decade of living and working abroad for us and I’m grateful that we’re blessed with good health and a good life.
What awaits us in 2011?
I don’t know but lets put 2010 behind us and don’t fret about that list we didn’t complete! A new chapter begins and we go on another trip around the sun. But I promise myself to make every day good. In whatever way. To touch the life of another. To do something I couldn’t do before. To be better at something. To savour life and create meaningful experiences.
So, goodbye 2010, and welcome 2011!
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