Please introduce yourself.
Hello! My name is Mary June. I was born in Metro Manila and moved to Rockford, IL, 11 days after my seventh birthday. I attended Catholic schools for a majority of my life, including Marquette University until my junior year of college. Due to personal conflict, I was unable to complete my college degree and moved to Las Vegas, where my parents and sister had been residing since 1999. It was in “Grace” City where I met and married my husband, had both of my children, and re-established my relationship with Jesus Christ. I currently am working on finally completing my Bachelors degree in Business Communication through the University of Phoenix, while staying at home, raising the kids, and volunteering within several ministries at our church.
What does being Filipino-American mean to you?
For me, being Filipino American means having amazing values and a bit of higher standards and tolerance for life in general. It means valuing the people around you as well as pride in yourself. Lastly, it means having yummy food to eat, which I find to be a big bonus. =)
What made you decide to create wifenmom.com?
I started blogging in 2003 as an outlet for all the changes I was experiencing. When I had our first child, I actually quit temporarily for two reasons: (1) most of my friends/readers were single with no children, and (2) I simply got busy. After the birth of our second child, I realized how much of a release blogging truly is for my mental sanity of staying at home with two young children, so I created wifenmom.com. At this point, when I am unable to talk to my husband or friends, I am able to discuss how God’s grace is allowing me to overcome my fight 14 year depression, how my family life is going, share new milestones with relatives living in the PI, Illinois, and other parts of the country, or writing about random topics pop into my head (such as American football since we are headed into a playoff season).
Are you in or have any experience with any organizations or clubs relating to Filipino/Asian issues?
I was involved in the Filipino community in Rockford, IL, while we lived there and Bayanihan Student Organization for the first two years at Marquette.
What do you feel needs to change with Filipinos and how the world views Pinoys?
What I realized the last time I was in the PI and every time I log onto Facebook or other social networks is that Filipinos are becoming more Americanized. We are not a country living in the Middle Ages. However, there are some people living in poverty there, like in the US and other parts of the world, and we need to help each other out. Instead, the rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer. I find that greed can ruin any country.
I also ask the world to realize that the Philippines has overcome a lot in the last several years. Before President Obama, the Clintons, and Sarah Palin in came into the national picture, we already had two women presidents. The country may have issues, but it has already progressed in bigger leaps than other “forward-thinking” countries.
As a Filipina who grew up in the U.S., do you have any words of wisdom for Filipino youths who face stereotypes and adversity?
Always be proud of who you are. Never forget where you or your family has come from. One of the things that I love about the Philippines is how over 90% of the country believes that Christ is their personal Lord and Savior, and in my personal opinion, that fact can make all the difference.
What advice can you give for Pinoys/Pinays who decide to enter an interracial relationship with intentions to marry in the future?
From my experience, the couple has to truly know and accept each other’s culture and history. They must understand that it can be a little more difficult and a bit more work trying to find a middle ground when it comes to combining two very different backgrounds. I was blessed to find a guy who was willing to try new things and wasn’t afraid to learn more about the Filipino culture. He not only likes our food, especially Calderetta, but also wants our kids (and he himself) to learn Tagalog and likes visiting the Islands. Even though he stood out, he was inquisitive and respected everything there.
By accepting each other cultures, the couple can determine what combination of actions and attitudes will best suit their family. This feat won’t allow either person to lose himself or herself to the relationship because they combine what they feel is the best of each other.
What is your favorite Filipino dish?
Mama’s (my maternal grandmother) Kare-Kare. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2001, but we were blessed to have my mom make it this past Christmas for our celebrations.