To Remember The Virtual Dinner Guest

American University, Washington DC

How  was  I  involved in the Virtual Dinner Guest ?

The first Virtual Dinner Guest: Cairo American University,Washington DC, began with a Skype chat with our counterparts from Cairo. Tough, the sudden electricity power-off in Cairo added some dramatic elements to it, for me and many of my classmates, it was determined to be a life-time memorable experience.

The conversation was more than a Skype chitchat. We both sides finally came up with a question which drove us to the street, listened to public opinion. In the end, we would produce a 6-8 mins video to show at the second dinner guest.

“Is America the best place to come to build a better life?”

The rainy weekend kept my spectrum in the mall close to my home. Like any other busy Saturday, people gathered at every corner of the mall. Teens, young ladies, wandering middle-age men and seniors hanged around with various spoken-languages buzzing in the background.

To be honest, the fluffy microphone on my DSLR kind of made me as clumsy as I could imagine. I didn’t remember how many times I strolled around the fashion center,  Nordstrom and Macy’s to find a target.

I foremost depended upon my six sense, running  into somebody with a voice inside my head telling me he/she was the person you needed to talk. So I did as it said. The past journalism experience and another course I’m taking informed me that I should be honest with the interviewees about everything. I obeyed these principles, told them about the project and the intention, most targets denied at my first mention of camera. I failed many times.

Gradually, I realized I should tune my openings a little bit. I kept the honesty and I declared my identity as a grad student at AU and our interaction with Cairo, which seemed work because it brought me two nice interviewees.

The production period of the video is a team work, which I liked a lot. Stephanie, Jesselle, Kristine, Anqi, Merissa, Emily and me took the most part of editing, under the help of Tim. We brainstormed a lot of good ideas for the beginning and ending, which I think refined our video beyond basic level. I envisioned a montage inspired by the ending of the movie Love Actually, and my great help, Stephanie added very instrumental ideas onto it.But it definitely was another self-challenge because I’ve never done nor experimented before. But I knew, if I made it, it will be the perfect ending for our clip. Therefore, to some extent, due to my perfectionist mania, I spent 5 hours laboring myself on 8 seconds. Luckily, it fruited finally. And we, as a team, we all fruited finally.

To give special thanks to my dear colleagues. You are the best of the best.

How do I  feel about  this project ?

Cairo

I think the impact of this project will be life-time long.  This project gave me an example that you don’t have to travel if you want to dive in  the culture.  That’s how we are  connected by technology. As long as based on mutual respect and mutual tolerance, people are able to conduct international communication smoothly.

If people like me are sort of growing  in American culture, but Egypt is totally a mystery. But The Virtual Dinner Guest is helping me close the gap.  I’ve talked to the locals, learned from the locals. That’s how the image of Egypt altered in my mind from the time I was too young too naive.

Winter Snow Sweet Moment

Several photos I took with my iPhone, using app called 360 Camera. It has some great filters, enabling me to adjust  the color, exposure,  shadow as well as definition a little bit.

The day was heavily snowing, but never stopped parents took kids out and had fun on the ice, which was really sweet for me to capture that.

IMG_0350

My favorite one of these photos is  the first panorama of ice skating ground. Because for  the first time I managed to catch the falling snow, so clear and delicate.