Day 9: List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
Wow. 10 people? I'll try my best here, the following are in no particular order.
1. Mrs. Byrnes, my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Byrnes was by far the best teacher I've ever had. She instilled in me such a love for everything academic. I still fondly remember projects from her class, from building castles to reading the Hobbit (yes, we were smart and we read the Hobbit when we were 8 years old), to creating out very own Opera. I can still recite the poems she had us memorize every week, including but not limited to Jack Prelutsky, William Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She is everything I aspire to be as an educator. Plus she never yelled. And she had Big Deal Meal.
2. Mom, my always teacher. Does this one really need any explanation? My mom is everything I aspire to be as a mother and a daughter. She is the most non-judgemental, giving, understanding, patient, incredible person. She loves me unconditionally, even though I'm a brat who doesn't put her dishes in the dishwasher and leaves her laundry in the dryer. I'm so lucky to have her as a mom < 3
3. My cousin. This month marked the 3rd anniversary of my cousin's death and I miss her more every day. We weren't that close- there was an age and personality gap that sort of kept us apart. But she lived her life in such a way that she was more fulfilled in her brief 18 years on earth than some people could be even if they lived to be 180. She was a vivacious and incredible force and that lives on in our family and always will.
4. My baby sisters (who really aren't babies anymore, by any means). Though we may fight light cats and dogs one second and love each other the next, there is no doubt that these two knuckleheads have influenced my life. I'd do anything for them (even stay up all night to help them proof and edit their papers for school). I remember being in 4th grade, sitting in the library with my teacher and the rest of my class. My teacher asked us what the greatest gift our parents had ever given us was, and I said my sisters. And then started crying and had to leave the room until I calmed down, because it is so true and I have no idea what I would do without them. Oh bother, now I'm crying again.
5. My Grandma and my Uncle who have taught me the value of human nature, and how to never give up and to constantly give back to others. They have both been through a lot in their lifetimes, and I am lucky to be their granddaughter and niece.
6. All my students, ever. All 77 of them. As much as they drive me UP A WALL and never do their homework or stop talking, they've shown me the entire range of humanity even though they are less than a decade old. These tiny humans give me a reason to make this world a better place.
7. Not at all a positive influence, but a group of people who showed me everything I never want to be, hereby known as the Morons. Unfortunately these Morons are related to me, and their negativity, greed, pompous attitudes, condescending nature and embodiment of everything in this world that is evil is what proved to me that I have to always be a better person. At least in a few months I'll be rid of them forever and will never have to communicate with them. And of course, Karma will come and bite them in the ass. And if she doesn't then just wait until the next lifetime when I'm sure they will come back as the most despised creatures on this earth.
8. Amy Sherman Palladino and Dan Palladino Their creation, in the forms of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore have helped me forge undeniable friendships. That, and I wish I was Rory. In all seriousness, some of my fondest memories are hanging out with my friends and my roommate, lounging around, eating salad and watching Gilmore Girls.
9. I don't think I realized the influence of this person until fairly recently. Today is A few days ago marked the anniversary of my dance teacher, Rachel's death. Not only was Rachel the most incredible photographer, but also this unwavering spirit with unmatched passion. She taught me how to follow through with a creative vision, even if it meant choreographing the week before our recital, or changing choreography three hours before nationals. Rachel also tried to teach me to dance for myself, and no one else. She understood the cattiness and incredible meanness of some of the other girls I danced with. When they made fun of me, she told me that it didn't matter. Of course, to my eleven year old self it did matter, a lot, but now when I look back- Rachel was what mattered. Her love for dance that she so desperately tried to instill in all of her students was what mattered.
10. And last but not least, my friends, all of whom influence me on a regular basis. Whether it is giving me book recommendations, eating dumplings with me, stopping in dunkin on the way to work/school, commiserating over drinks, adventuring around Disney, going to Mets and Jets games, pinching David Wright's butt, crocheting together, laughing together... the list could go on and on. My friends mean a lot to me, even if they are all absolutely out of their minds. :)