I was reading Time magazine's issue on its 100 most influential people in the world and I wondered whether each of them has ever influenced me. Hmmm...Some faces I recognize; some names I don't. And worse, some names I don't even know how to pronounce.
There were some familiar ones: Michelle Obama, Angela Merkel, Aung San Suu Kyi and Kim Clijsters, the tennis mom.
And if I enumerate: Oprah Winfrey, Felisa Wolfe-Simon, Bineta Diop, Aruna Roy -- I bet you would only recognize the first one. Like I did.
So, in between those flimsy Time pages, I began to think that perhaps some of the 100 may have actually influenced me (or my TV habits!), there were and are people who influence my life. Time has its own team who gathered these 100 names. But I didn't need a team to help me gather. All I need is an iced cafe mocha. Ha-ha-ha!
The names that would definitely come up are those of my grandma, whom I called Wawa, since I could not properly pronounce Lola (grandma) when I was little (and all the adults around me called her Wawa, too, as her name became endeared to everyone), and that of one grand dame, Tita Luz, who led a life of prayer, wisdom and philanthropy. In short, she was a real . If someday, I decide to write a book about the people in my life, these two women would definitely get top billing.
Of course, naturally, my hardworking parents have influenced me as well: both very diplomatic, friendly and talkative. Ha-ha-ha! They both love to tell stories. Before, stories of their kids. Now, stories of their apos (grandkids).
But there are other people I would love to pay tribute to. These people I talk to everyday, I bump into everyday, and people who make my day easier.
There's the driver of the Green Bus 0018 (formerly 2013), who would open his door to let this commuter in and ferry him to Yongsan on weekdays. And of course, on rainy days, the taxi driver who stops to pick up this passenger from the rain and gives him a dry ride to Yongsan.
There are the engineers of Subway Lines 4 and 6, who make sure that the trains moving through Sinyongsan Station to Samgakji, and to Itaewon get there on time so that this passenger arrives at his playground safe and quick. (Ha-ha-ha!)
Of course, the people cleaning my neighborhood and gather the trash everyone leaves behind at the dump, making my day smell-free and pleasant. Without them, this neighborhood would smell and look trashy.
And there are the baristas (Ha-ha-ha! I need to mention them!) of Starbucks in Itaewon who generously put extra spoonfuls of green tea powder so that this customer will enjoy his extra sweet green tea latte. (And that latte generates a lot of creativity. Ehem. Ha-ha-ha!)
And years of playing tennis on clay and hardcourts in Seoul, my tennis friends Lynette and Rene, Jin-woong, Dong-Eun, Seung-Ho, Dong-Hyun and all other friends whom I have played with and against -- have sharpened, improved and polished my game, and of course, helped me lose a few pounds while running around the court. And a couple of Korean instructors, who, even if they could not speak English, have reminded me to get rid of bad habits on court through sign language. Ha-ha-ha! And most especially, those tennis stars like Rafa, Pete, Roger and Martina H. (whom I have seen up close), and Monica and Steffi (youtube.com. Ha-ha-ha!) for helping me learn a trick or two.
And of course, my friends in Korea: Pinoys, Koreans and other nationalities, who make my life fun and enjoyable, and who never forget to feed me with kare-kare, pancit malabon, biko, ensaimadas, brownies, buko pie, chocolates, cheese rolls, dulce gatas, valenciana and a lot more! They all make my days sweet, yummy and fattening. Ha-ha-ha!
I am not sure if 100 is enough to list my own most influential people. I don't even feel I could complete my list. But complete or not, I thank them for making my day, for cleaning my neighborhood, for giving me safe ride, for sharing a dish or two, for welcoming me into their homes, for making me run around the court, or for simply helping me out with the language.
Time came up with their 100 most influential people because they have a magazine to sell.
I am just coming up with my own 100 because I have people to thank and a life to enjoy.
Now, who are your 100 most influential people?