20 February 2012

Happiness is...

 ... getting an autographed copy of Children of the Philippines from its writer and photographer, Dr. Terrel Hill.

Dr. Hill, the former UNICEF Philippines Representative in the late 90s up to 2003, is one of the sweetest people I know. I'd gladly adopt him as my grandfather if he'd let me. He turns 69 this year and is as sprightly as ever despite an injury on his right arm. Last year, he gave me such a strong bear hug that he actually lifted me off my feet for a few seconds. I think if it weren't for his present injury, he would have done the same kind of hug again.

Today, he wrote the most loving message on my copy of his book, which he insisted on giving to me for free in spite of my protestations. Children of the Philippines is a book containing beautiful photos which Dr. Hill took during his stay in this country. He loved the Philippines and its children so much that even when his term as Representative ended, he decided to set up a foundation for Filipino children and make this book.

He visited the office today, on a Monday that's normally like other Mondays which come with a barrage of tasks that all need to be accomplished A.S.A.P.  Whenever Dr. Hill visits, I feel calmer, lighter. And loads happier. People in the office tend to gravitate towards him, smiles breaking across their faces--because he does generate that kind of reaction from individuals. You can tell that he's always welcome in our workplace.

Thank you, Dr. Hill, for your hugs and for your written message, which gave me a galvanic kick to the heart on a day when I welcome it most.


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