Josie Disterhoft Interview (1 of 2)

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Main contributors
Michaela Shapiro; Josie Disterhoft; Ji-Yeon Yuh
Michaela Shapiro (Born October 8 1995), a freshman in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, participating in the Winter 2015 class "Oral Histories and Migration" interviews Josie Disterhoft (Born October 29 1943). Josie Disterhoft is a female immigrant from the Philippines, highly educated in early childhood development and administration, became involved in the Filipino community fairly recently and much later in her life.


>>Michaela: Is it working? Ummm so I guess the easiest thing to start with would be, I guess, your childhood. If you don't mind talking about that. Where you grew up

>>Josie: Yeah, I grew up right outside of Manila in um a city called Quezon city, which is actually the capital of the Philippines but Manila seems to be considered, you know, it's right outside, but people still think it's a suburb of Manila. Umm I 

>>Michaela: Could you describe the town

>>Josie: It's, wow, it's a metropolitan area um it's it houses the University of the Philippines for instance it also, I don't even know what the population is. I know that metro Manila is over eleven million people and I imagine Quezon city would be um considered part of it. I don't know those facts but at any rate

>>Michaela: That's alright

>>Josie: So I was born in the provinces, in a province called Tarlaq but my parents were um in Manila so in the Manila area so uh they chose to live in Quezon city um I essentially, as the oldest of five children

>>Michaela: Wow

>>Josie: and we were Catholics and my father one wanted to have a boy very badly so did not stop having children until the boy came. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: And the boy was number five. 

>>Michaela: Wow

>>Josie: So...

>>Michaela: That's a big family.

>>Josie: So we are four girls and then then the boy came. And my father also believed that we needed to go to Catholic school. I don't think it was so much for the faith part of it but the Catholic schools in the Philippines have been known to offer the best educational opportunities. You know...because the public school system had not worked before and unfortunately it's still not working. Much like in some areas of the United States. Um

>>Michaela: Would you say religion played a big role in your life?

>>Josie: Devotional religion was, meaning we needed to go to church every Sunday as prescribed and it was important enough in that my parents were in sync with most of what the Catholic religion required in terms of ethical standards. You know, when we were growing up um we weren't questioning. We started questioning maybe a little later, like maybe middle school and high school. 

>>Michaela: Were you still in Catholic school in middle school and high school?

>>Josie: Yes, and actually into college. And uh yes, and again it was in addition to its being Catholic there was really the question of standards and good preparation for not just life but they thought that you know the nuns and the priests introduces better sources of learning. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: ...than many of the Filipino schools at that time. You know, I studied under Belgian nuns and the Belgian nuns were very proud that they were the first graduates of the university of Leuven as women. You know so, there was that and there was at the time great competition among some of the Catholic schools. I went to an all-girl school because you know the nuns took care of the nuns...

>>Michaela: Exactly

>>Josie: ...kind of thing. And so there as a lot of competition in terms of wanting to be the best in something as a school. And our school. our set of nuns, prided themselves in saying that they taught us how to think. You know, which to me was kinda cool and the only other group, they said, that taught as well were the Jesuit schools.

>>Michaela: Yes, I've heard that before.

>>Josie: Yeah. But they, uh, they taught men at the time only so there were a boy's school you know. And I don't know, they were also always wealthier. I don't know 


Josie: I don't know why that's the case. The Jesuits had better access to resources.

>>Michaela: I guess that's possible, they've definitely been around for a long time.

>>Josie: Yeah. And maybe they knew better how to do it. Maybe they were better connected. Not just, you know there were Jesuits from the US, there were Jesuits from, you know, there was a lot of intermingling of the faculty as well as I imagine resources too. But um, but I'm grateful for my education, I really think values formation was stressed and there's some semblance of the ability to think. You know, and study on our own that I appreciate. I don't think it was enough but maybe at my age that was the best that I could have gotten.

>>Michaela: Why would you say it's not enough?

>>Josie: Because when I came to the US, I did not think I was as competitive as I should be.

>>Michaela: Really

>>Josie: Yeah

>>Michaela: I guess in what way? Academically? Or..

>>Josie: Academically, in terms of the breadth of knowledge and interest. I just felt a little clueless.

>>Michaela: So, what subjects would you say you studied in Catholic school before coming to the US?

>>Josie: There was a lot of literature 

>>Michaela: European, or Filipino?

>>Josie: Not Filipino, American a lot of and European. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: There was a lot of that. We did not stress the sciences although we were fairly good in math. You know, but the science I don't know...maybe I got super sensitive because my husband is a scientist so 

>>Michaela: He must know a lot

>>Josie: Yeah, he knew more than I did. Anyway, but...but I don't think. Then we weren't as...I don't know, for some reason I got into the world of art, literature, film. Maybe it was inclination, maybe it was opportunity. But I didn't feel as though I knew enough about current events, you know, a lot about politics and a lot about science.

>>Michaela: Ok

>>Josie: You know

>>Michaela: Were you exposed to English? Or...

>>Josie: Yes...yeah. When I was in school, the national language was still English.

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: It was only when I left in nineteen sixty-six that somebody had a brilliant idea that we should have a national language. But the Philippines has an incredible number of dialects and languages, so it was a question then of their deciding we will choose one of them dialects and languages and make it the national language. But that was problematic because the school books were all in English, so in a sense many of those who spoke another dialect or language had to learn Tagalog first, and then english after because of availability of the kind of books and resources.

>>Michaela: Was that the case for you?

>>Josie: No, it wasn't. It was straight english. 

>>Michaela: Okay, did you speak English at home?

>>Josie: We spoke English at home, my parents also spoke a dialect called Ilocano. Yeah.

>>Michaela: Okay.

>>Josie: But, yeah. We spoke English.

>>Michaela: And then, you said you came to the US in nineteen sixty-six?

>>Josie: I came to the US. I came to graduate school.

>>Michaela: By yourself?

>>Josie: Yeah, I thought I was 

>>Michaela: That's very brave

>>Josie: actually, oh, I don't know, everyone seemed to do it. 

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: It seemed easier before, you know. I wanted to be a clinical child psychologist. You know, when I came, and at the time too, I, we were a different, you know. When you talk about the Filipinos, or you hear about them, there's all sorts of waves of Filipinos who had come before. And they came as people who work in the railroads, people who were in plantations, people who were you know and but then in my group right about the sixties maybe, many of us came as professionals wanting to pursue further degrees. And then there was a whole bunch of people who came as nurses and physicians...

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie:..You know, which made the brain drain bad for the Philippines. That's my judgement, yeah. But we were very different, so now, and it's still distinguishable now.

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: Now, when you hear about the Filipinos, there's an incredible proportion who come as people they called overseas foreign workers, O-F-W.

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: Um, and uh, a lot, even with college degrees sometimes become like domestic workers because of the economics of the Philippines at this point, people can't find jobs. You know, which is, which is really sad, which the pope addressed too, you know like

>>Michaela: Pope Francis?

>>Josie: Yeah. who I really kind of like.

>>Michaela: He seems pretty great.

>>Josie: Yeah, he was conscious of, you know, the conditions of the Philippines that drive people to go elsewhere in order to find um a means of livelihood. And in the past many of the workers were men... 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: But then when the service industry opened up, and they needed people, you know, in hotels or in homes, then many people came to be maids or to be nannies. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: So that meant women came as well. But the tragedies sometimes of the women coming is that no one was really left to take care of the children. 

>>Michaela: In the Philippines?

>>Josie: In the Philippines, you know. So they were left in the care of relatives, you know. So, uh, but as I said there's a distinction between the people who came and work here as professionals and then those who came as domestic workers.

>>Michaela: Did they come in different time periods? Or they came at the same time?

>>Josie: Yes they came at different, so I think this. So I came in the sixties, 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: and I think this was way after, like maybe the seventies to eighties, the nineties, and now even so but it has persisted.

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: So, then those are the migration patterns I think in the Philippines. I don't know if there are any other um nations elsewhere who leave for overseas work as much as the Philippines. I think the fact that we speak english 

>>Michaela: Yes, that probably helps

>>Josie: Yeah

>>Michaela: I think it's definitely one of the largest Asian countries to send immigrants to come to the US.

>>Josie. Yeah. You know because uh we...we presumably are about one hundred million people right now and that's also what happened in the Philippines is that because we're very Catholic and this old-fashioned Catholic prescriptions of no birth control. When I left in sixty-six we were about thirty-six million people and now we're a hundred million...I mean 

>>Michaela: That's a large population

>>Josie: That's a's, the Pope said something about you know, the fact that you're Catholic doesn't mean you have to be like rabbits.


>>Michaela: That's so funny 

Josie: Which I thought was perfectly said. You know, without offending people

>>Michaela: Exactly, yeah, it's a very nice way to say it.

>>Josie: Yeah, he said, you know, I mean we're Catholic but it should be responsible parenthood, you know. 

>>Michaela: I mean, would you say that's the reason a lot of Filipinos come to the US? There's too many children and then they want to pursue an education?

>>Josie: Yeah, they want one, some livelihood, opportunities, there's just, there's too many children. And there's not much change in the infrastructure you know in the building of the roads and cities you know and opportunity and there's no jobs and there's no uh not enough opportunity for health and education.

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: So, so it's right for people to go elsewhere, but, I'm being very judgmental I don't think it's a good thing.


>>Josie: I don't think it's a good thing. 

>>Michaela: Why would you say they come to the US?

>>Josie: Uh, well for one thing, so many people have relatives in the US by this time, and then their ability to speak English and to fit right in.

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: You know, so. The US has ben preferred, you know, right and because the United States had come to the Philippines and, in quotes, colonized us, right

>>Michaela: Yes

>>Josie: So we're familiar with the culture.

>>Michaela: Ok

>>Josie: Kind of 

>>Michaela: Would you say you were fluent in English before you got here?

>>Josie: Yeah, yeah because it was the means of instruction.


>>Josie: You know so I did my GRE in English, I mean you know .

>>Michaela:Yeah, you must have taken exams in English

>>Josie: Yes, kind of 

>>Michaela: Okay, and did you have family here when you came or were you the first?

>>Josie: I, my father claimed that he was a stowaway in the boat in a boat during, right before the depression in nineteen-thirties. And he came with good friends and he went back to get married and settled. 

>>Michaela: He went back to the Philippines?

>>Josie: The Philippines. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: And he said, he told us to call his relatives like aunts and uncles and some were blood relatives but many were just friends. But you know that’s another characteristic of Filipinos is the extended family. 

>>Michaela:I was gonna ask, because my family is Brazilian so for us, I mean you call almost everyone aunt and uncle no matter how close they are. Is that how it is in the Philippines?

>>Josie: Oh yes, absolutely. And if your parents said this is your aunt or uncle, you better make sure for your entire life you address them as that.

>>Michaela: Exactly, exactly, it's the same way. So when you came here, who did you stay with?

>>Josie: umm, I went to New York by myself I stayed in a dorm

>>Michaela: Oh, New York first? Ok

>>Josie: Yeah, I went to graduate school in New York um in a Jesuit university. Fordham University 

>>Michaela: Oh, okay. That's not so far from me. Yeah. And you said

>>Josie: That's right, you said 

>>Michaela: I'm in, I'm right outside of the city, about an hour uh so what did you study in graduate school?

>>Josie: I started with psychology, you know, I was gonna be a clinical child psychologist and then I figured out I did not like it wasn't action oriented enough

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: I didn't have that personality, I kinda wanted to be, so I shifted to early childhood education.

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: And that's what I became. And you know it gave me the opportunity to be a little bit to be noisier than as a psychologist.


>>Michaela: I guess you get to interact a little more

>>Josie: You, yes and you know and there was more possibility for-for action you know than a psychology, I'm not a researcher type.

>>Michaela: Okay


>>Josie: So I cannot wait for all the data to come in before I can speak my mind. So that's what I studied. I became an early childhood educator. So I was, and then I went into administration. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: For early childhood education

>>Michaela: And then at Fordham were there other Filipinos, or were you one of the few?

>>JOsie: Yeah but I was not uh I...I did not belong to a Filipino group. I had some friends who had to graduate school at the same time as I did and they were in Minnesota and Chicago. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: And and one or two in New York and that would be you know our circle. This was even before the internet but 


>>Josie: But that was to a we kept like together in a sense and developed an identity.

>>Michaela: And how would you say that influenced, I guess, your learning? Would you say it effected how you were taught or how people, I guess, interacted with you?

>>Josie: I think it was freeing it was only later that I felt when I finally realized that I wanted to give back a little to the Philippines then I sought more Filipino action groups. But that was much much later...

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: my life, you know. It's almost as though I had my children, I got married and I had my children first you know I had some sort of job or career and then towards the end of all that I kinda felt that there was something incomplete and there was the desire you know, to give back and then, so now I'm a little active in things that are happening in the Philippines, you know,

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: Which is kinda nice. 

>>Michaela: That is really nice. 

>>Josie: Yeah

>>Michaela: Uhh, so you graduated form Fordham, so, what did, how long did you stay in New York after that?

>>Josie: I was there from sixty-six to nineteen-seventy.

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: And then I went, I also went to Bank's street college of education

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: for the early childhood. You might be, you probably are familiar 

>>Michaela: Umm, I actually don't know where that is exactly but it's in the city?

>>Josie: It's in the, it's in the city, it started in Bank's street and then it moved to near Columbia. 

>>Michaela: Oh okay. I do know where Columbia is. Okay

>>Josie: Yeah, yeah, and then it's uh, it's known for its early childhood uh you know, so I did that uh and then I moved to Pasadena because I got married at the time and John went to California Institute of Technology. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: For a post-Doc, you know. So I stayed in Pasadena. Uh I taught in Pacific Oak College which is a specialty school like Banks street. And I was part of the administration you know

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: So um I stayed there and then John moved so I moved also to Northwestern. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: in seventy-three and and I had been in Chicago since then. 

>>Michaela: Wow, okay

>>Josie: Yeah, we're a very long time. 

>>Michaela: That's really sweet. How did the two of you meet?

>>Josie: We met in graduate school. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: We actually met at Fordham. 

>>Michaela: That's so nice

>>Josie: His uh you know he started off being um a physiological psychologist and now he's a neuroscientist. 


>>Michaela: That's very impressive.

>>Josie: Well, you know, he likes to study the brains of people. Of animals and of people.

>>Michaela: Oh, okay. 

>>Josie: Yeah 

>>Michaela: So then did you end up working, or, after you graduated?

>>Josie: Yeah I, I worked all the while and for some as an early child administrator. You know, in New York I worked with um child development programs slash daycare programs of Catholic charities. 

>>Michaela: Okay, that's so sweet

>>Josie: And then and then in California I worked with the compensatory education

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: I was a consultant like for Headstart 

>>Michaela: Oh, I've heard of Headstart. They have it here I think, right?

>>Josie: Yeah they have it all over. And then I joined a faculty at Pacific Oaks College you know and I taught you know, I taught language development and all those nice courses. And then when I moved here you know I thought I wanted to complete a PhD at Northwestern but I almost completed it but I didn't. I wanted to be in a very active mode, I became a very active like child advocate, child and family advocate 

>>Michaela: For Filipinos specifically, or?

>>Josie: No, no no no, all this while I wasn't very conscious about being Filipino. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: That sort of came later for some reason. I just thought I was a professional in the field who happened to be Filipino and yet in many ways I didn't want people to make allowances because I was trained elsewhere or I came from, I...I just wanted to be as good as everybody else. I don't know if that makes sense

>>Michaela: I understand that. No, I completely understand that

>>Josie: It's like oooh no I don't think there should be any allowances kind of thing. As I said it was only later that you when I had, when my children were growing up and I said of course there is a difference. They have a different heritage and then I became a little bit more intentionally practicing as a Filipino. Yeah

>>Michaela: So okay, so then you moved to, you were in the Chicago area

>>Josie: Yeah

>>Michaela: And then you had kids here? 

>>Josie: I had kids here, yeah 

>>Michaela: And then did they study at a Catholic school here?

>>Josie: No they didn't they went to the University of Chicago laboratory schools. Yeah, so which was in our neighborhood and it's very interesting because you know they were very, they were close to their grandparents and 

>>Michaela: That's nice 

>>Josie: to, parents came when our son was born 

>>Michaela: Okay. They moved from the Philippines to Chicago? 

>>Josie: They moved to the Philippines just for a little bit to help with, this is probably very typical of Asian families, I don't know. Filipino families anyway, so they were free so they came for and stayed for one or two years

>>Michaela: Oh, wow

>>Josie: When Jason was born to help out. 

>>Michaela: That's so nice. 


>>Michaela: That's a long flight 

>>Josie: That's a long flight, and it's a long way. And um but so Jason went and Judith, and Jason was curious but it was, it was... 

>>Michaela: Jason's your oldest son?

>>Josie: Jason is the oldest, yeah, but it was only after that we became more and it was on his initiative that he wanted to really know the Philippines more. So when he went to school, his school had this "Let's go Travel" I don't know if you're familiar 

>>Michaela: No, I'm not. Would you mind explaining it? 

>>Josie: It's, it's let's go travel is like guidebooks for backpackers 

>>Michaela: Oh, okay 

>>Josie: It's, it's published by Harvard, you know

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: So he got assigned, he wanted to learn about the Philippines, so he wrote the first description of how to travel in the Philippines

>>Michaela: Wow

>>Josie: Yeah

>>Michaela: That's amazing

>>Josie: And he said, "Mom, you know, travel is very hard in the Philippines. You either need..."

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: " know a lot of people, so you have to be intensely network, or you have to be very wealthy."

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: It's not as, it's changed now, you know, but it's not, it's not as single-traveler friendly as other places had been. It, it has changed now but he did this, when was it, maybe ten years ago 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: And it wasn't as popular to be a backpacker in the Philippines.

>>Michaela: Why would you say that? I guess..

>>Josie: The infrastructure is not developed, you know, as well, so he was, like he was one of the first ones to say ok you, these are instructions you should take a bus from point A to point C, we weren't conscious of that. It's also because the Philippines are are so intensely networked. You kinda need to know an incredible number of people to get form point A to point B to point C, you know. But, but people became more savvy, so now there are travel guides and there are opportunities. You know, there are even organized, like ways to tour Manila on bikes I mean

>>Michaela: Wow

>>Josie: That was unheard of 


>>Josie: And, not only that it's they're made of bamboo bikes like rather than steel 

>>Michaela: Oh, okay

>>Josie: They have developed a way of using bamboos for the frame kind of thing. So, but, so Jason did that and then Jason stayed for some time. And then Judith who's seven years younger, six and a half, seven years, you know went and they would spend two to three months. You know with their cousins. 

>>Michaela: So both of your kids were very interested in the Philippines?

>>Josie: They were very interested in the Philippines. And, and what's very nice too is that it was, it was of their own free will at their time, it was not something we kinda pushed on, on them.

>>Michaela: Do you think having their grandparents stay for a year made a difference?

>>Josie: I'm, I'm sure it, that it did. I think, you know, when you grow up, you know, you learn about other cultures, you also become very interested in your own heritage. And it's that, I think that made it...They were aghast at, like the Pope, how friendly everybody is. They were also aghast at the enormity of the poverty in the Philippines. You know, so, so now, they're working, they contribute, you know it's very hard when you're a young professional, you know, to have a lot of time, but one of the things that I have done, I told you I became a little bit more conscious about wanting to give back is there's a group of people who are trying to, help the very poor in the Philippines. So they are building villages. 

>>Michaela: Wow

>>Josie: Yeah, you know so there are and Gawad Kalinga is the name of this group, it means to give care and it has a very simple mission, it's to lift five million people out of extreme poverty by the year two-thousand twenty-four. So what we've done is to try to raise funds and to get people to help build, help them build as well so with two-thousand five hundred villages, you know, at this point, you know, but every time we think we have more and then sadly typhoons come and then...

>>Michaela: That must be hard

>>Josie: Yeah, but the resilience of the Filipinos is incredible too and ok so, rather than give up well some do, but you know, they just pick up and go, but children are you know, conscious of that connection that we're responsible for the poverty there too. I know there's a lot of poverty in the US but to me that's relative poverty.

>>Michaela: I can understand that, if you have a personal connection that makes a difference as well.

>>Josie: Yeah, yeah 

>>Michaela: So, was that an organization you started or you became a part of?

>>Josie: No, I'm part of it,, it was started by a guy named Tony Meloto, you know

>>Michaela: Okay 

>>Josie: About ten years ago, so 

>>Michaela: And when did you get involved with it?

>>Josie: Um two "o" "o" five

>>Michaela:  Okay

>>Josie: Yeah, so I had more then, I wasn't responsible. And in fact I, I retired from my position, I was working until six months ago so I can devote a little bit more time

>>Michaela: That's very recently

>>Josie: Yeah. Gives me something to do with life 

>>Michaela: When you first moved to Chicago, did you live in a Filipino community, or no? Because at the time that wasn't an interest of yours, I can understand that

>>Josie: Yeah, I, that's one of the things that I think is nice about the Philippines, but it's also not nice. The fact that some people and this is true of very many groups in the US that they kind of tend to sort of be with one another

>>Michaela: Yeah

>>Josie: One, I think you don't learn, I mean of course it's very nice to have a support group, but in a way it's unfair to your adopted country.

>>Michaela: I guess so

>>Josie: That's life really, anyway, you know, so I said be Filipino but be America and in fact it's be American who happens to be Filipino descent.

>>Michaela: So, your goal was to assimilate, when you came?

>>Josie: Yeah, and..and..and I don't know that it was was both intellectual and it was also quite emotional. It's like I find it very constricting, you know, like in the Philippines appreciation for my education was that it opened worlds. And when I was in the US I also wanted, you know, to have like an open life you know 

>>Michaela: That's so sweet

>>Josie: Not being unfair to my heritage, but I don't know if I 

>>Michaela: Well it seems like you're doing a lot to help the Philippines now 

>>Josie: A little bit, yeah right so 

>>Michaela: So you said when you were raising your kids, that was kind of when you started to have an awareness of being Filipino?

>>Josie: More, you know, because of the questions that they...the questions that they asked you know, because especially since growing up in Hyde Park you know you are even more aware, which is very good, of ethnic identities and races and heritages, you know. Like Martin Luther King is an important part of our of their upbringing and their reality. And so there were questions like I remember Judith coming and...and trying to categorize who's white, who's peach, who's brown, who's black, you know etc. 

>>Michaela: It's a difficult concept

>>Josie: Yeah as a child wants to know and maybe it wouldn't have made a difference but you hear about it all...all the time at one point no it was Jason who did it, but Judith just wanted us to make sure that we know that we did terrible things to other people and you know so that kind of ethical growth I think and compassionate growth was very important then to articulate for a very young children at the time, which is good, you know, so...

>>Michaela: So, I guess how would you describe living in Hyde Park at the time when your children were growing up?

>>Josie: Umm was very, well one people thought many people...many of the colleagues of John who live in Evanston thought that he was risking our lives by living in Hyde Park 

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: Because they though it was, they had all sorts of stories about how dangerous, you know, a place it is but it was very comfortable to us. We made many friends who were like us, and it was totally stimulating and we thought...

>>Michaela: What do you mean by "like us?"

>>Josie: Um mixed, you know, like...

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: ...with very different interests in, not just academic but also life interests but also of different backgrounds, you know. So John is white and so we're Filipino but next door neighbors might be Peruvian or you know it made us feel very good as though we were part of the world you know.

>>Michaela: That's really nice. Did you ever encounter any, I guess, prejudice or discrimination against a mixed marriage? 

>>Josie: Not...not in Hyde Park. I think elsewhere. 

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: That would be...

>>Michaela: Could you recall an instance?

>>Josie: It would be very little things, like sometimes I would, I used to like enter a bank and people would suddenly talk to me loudly as though I might not be understanding what it is that they say you know and I'm...stuff like that you know so I think in the circles that are more educated than not you don't find it but I think like you know a bank teller is not necessarily, you know


>>Josie: Hotels, elsewhere, like I always thought that they give me a different treatment, different than from what they would give John you know, and sometimes I felt uh that it would be not very educated people of my own race who would be more discriminatory than not and they're subtle things you know.

>>Michaela: Why would you say that?

>>Josie: They probably...I think because people are so...desirous of wanting to be with the triumphant class or the triumphant race that they become crazed sometimes but these are petty things, you know these are not like I..they are not systemic discrimination uh I don't think...I don't think as a Filipino I have been discriminated against as I have seen you know black people in this country are yeah

>>Michaela: There's been a lot going on with that 

>>Josie: It's and I think it''s real up to now. But I don't think we, me myself or my children were discriminated against in any way. Well, for one thing, the image they project you know we're we're Americans, we're...we're educated we're kind


>>Josie: I mean, I don't know it's the arrogance of youth, which is very good self-confidence of youth which I thought is very good 

>>Michaela: And you said your children never faced any discrimination, you would say?

>>Josie: Uhh I.. later on when they were out of Hyde Park I think in school,'s very interesting like when Jason was touring Europe for these books but he was..he thought discriminated against because they thought, not because he was Asian but they might have been Turk, I mean he looks a little you know 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: In some cases it wasn't necessarily because he was different, but because the people he was interacting with had built-in discriminations, you know, that were

>>Michaela: That's so interesting 

>>Josie: I...I think there, what's very interesting now is their choice of where to do, Jason is working for climate change with the rainforest action network you know so his...his view of life is global I think you know because the rainforest he's trying to save is in Malaysia and the people who are ruining the rainforest because for economic interest. And Judith has chosen to be a community...she's doing an internship now as a family medicine person one of the poorer areas of Chicago by Austin you know and...and there's she's finding out things like boy you know there are really poor people um in Chicago and they're not very, they don't take care of themselves because they don't know how to so they come to me very sick and they're also very arrogant in terms that they sometimes think that they deserve to be treated differently. And, you know it all comes with poverty

>>Michaela: That's so interesting

>>Josie: So it's an incredible learning experience for her. She went back to volunteer in the Philippines um and she thought she was going to be treated as a student but because the hospitals are so poor for I think eight weeks she was in ob/gyn unit and she says, "Mom the first night I was here I delivered six babies by myself without supervision."

>>Michaela: Oh my So they treated her as a doctor then the whole time?

>>Josie: They treated her as a doctor 

>>Michaela: Yeah

>>Josie: and she says, so her conclusion was anybody can deliver babies 


>>Michaela: That's so funny because I mean, you'd think, I thought you said that there weren't that many opportunities for professionals in the Philippines, but I guess there's still a need for doctors?

>>Josie: There's a need, there's an incredible need, I should probably say there was not very opportunities for you to earn a living wage but there were not you know, it was better to come, and it was all monetarily 

>>Michaela: Okay, and here you could earn more 

>>Josie: ...motivated, here you could earn much more, but things have changed so a little bit you know um

>>Michaela: You think they're retaining more professionals?

>>Josie: They are retaining more, a little, and there are many people who are going back to the Philippines and establishing little businesses

>>Michaela: Would you say they were ones who grew up here, or grew up there and then came?

>>Josie: Both

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: And then they go, um and they're now social entrepreneurs

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: Meaning they have little, either little or bigger um businesses that include um better wages for the poor including you know not just the bottom line but also doing...that's happening I think it's's very exciting

>>Michaela: That's amazing

>>Josie: You know kind of thing. So but...but I think you know our...our children growing up from like an American-Filipino household has instilled with them, in them, like a global perspective. And I'm kind of glad to know they're kind people...for the most part.


>>Josie: You know, and I really attribute that to because they grew up in a dual-race dual reality household and uh we made sure that they continued to be exposed to...and my husband of course because of his work, his colleagues are quite international you know they're very used to...who are better scientists? Germans....


>>Josie: .... English, French, you know etc. and of course Japanese, you know, they're the better scientists, better than Filipinos. Filipinos have not had the luxury of wanting to be research scientists yet, because um you have that kind of talent you of course try to earn a little bit more money. I guess the mentality and culture of the Philippines is still that of being a very poor country so any chance you have, you know you try to, and it''s um I think, you think of not of the Philippines as a whole but of your family and your clan first.

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: Which is not good for the Philippines. Like the overseas workers, you know, they sent a lot of money back home to take care of their children and then to build uh houses you know, but it's houses, so you know, they say you have a lot of great big houses standing in the middle of nowhere because you know it's an anomaly, it's not very good. And that's one of the things that prevents the development, is that you''re not thinking of the bigger whole, you're thinking only of your family and your clan and that's one of the things that I think this movement we're part of with Gawad Kalinga is that you think of the entire village, you think, you know, not just...

>>Michaela: I guess, in a bigger perspective?

>>Josie: Yeah, kind of thing, you know,

>>Michaela: Are you still connected with your family in the Philippines?

>>Josie: Yeah I have a sister with, three children of her own, one adopted, and there are five children and we are of course responsible to make sure that uh they have the funds to complete college, which yeah. I have a sister here 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: Yeah and I have a sister in Toronto we kind of help you know that's one of the characteristics of Filipinos, right, it's like family, you said Brazilian like, family needs are important for you to feel responsible

>>Michaela: Everyone's needs 


>>Josie: Everything

>>Michaela: I definitely understand that

>>Josie: Yeah 

>>Michaela: I guess, I was gonna go back and ask you, so you said when your children were growing up, that was obviously I think I brought that up before that you started to have more of an awareness, how did you bring in I guess, Filipino culture and heritage when they were growing up?

>>Josie: It starts with food, I...I don't know...

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: I don't know food is

>>Michaela: Would you describe the food? I've never had Filipino food

>>Josie: Oh 

>>Michaela: You want to tell me any restaurants 


>>Josie: Yeah uh there's Little Quiapo close to Evanston ummm it's a combination of um Chinese and Spanish food, you know.

>>Michaela: That sounds really good

>>Josie: So we...we have um like there's a dish that's considered um I don't know, the national dish? Um it's called Adobo and it's...and you can make Adobo of everything but in our family the Adobo we like is chicken and pork and it's marinated and cooked in a mixture of uh white vinegar, soy sauce, a lot garlic, and uh whole pepper and (basil?) you know it's that and rice of course

>>Michaela: That sounds really good

>>Josie: And then we have bitter melon you know 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: I don't know if you've ever...

>>Michaela: I've never heard of that 

>>Josie: Oh, it's like a really bitter...the skin of the vegetable almost looks like corrugated something or other but it's, you know and then we add that with shrimps you know or beef something and then there's something Pancit something, you know, it's a noodle

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: it''s a noodle dish and that of course appears at every single birthday because it symbolizes uh long life and uh and then there is uh that's why we are hypertensive people just roast pig you know like... like the English had it like...pig um roasted on a spit 

>>Michaela: Oh okay

>>Josie: kind of thing that, we call that Lechon and that's 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: That's prototypically of Philippine um you know. So really binds us and in every single important occasion there is a mixture of American and Philippine food so that's part of it. And then there are ways of respecting, I don't know if Brazilians are like that too, but you really respect your elders, you know, so that's really part of the culture of the Philippine. It's not that the Americans don't do it, but there are certain rituals I think

>>Michaela: I definitely know on my Japanese side of the family there's also a lot of respect for your elders, so 

>>Josie: Huh in Brazilian not as much? Your mother was...

>>Michaela: My mother was Brazilian and Japanese, so my grandfather's family was Japanese and my grandmother's was Brazilian. 

>>Josie: Huh, boy that must have been fascinating to

>>Michaela: Yeah


>>Michaela: It was quite different. It's two very different sides of the family. I tend to see my Brazilian side a little more, but yeah

>>Josie: Did your mother grow up in 

>>Michaela: In Brazil

>>Josie: In Brazil?

>>Michaela: and then she came to study in the US for graduate school. She got her MBA at Duke.

>>Josie: Huh

>>Michaela: So, kind of similar

>>Josie: Yes, right 

>>Michaela: I definitely hear a lot from my family about wanting to come to the US and for them they see it, I guess, as such a paradise. I don't know if that's kind of how they see it..

>>Josie: Yes

>>Michaela: the Philippines

>>Josie: Yes, absolutely, all the stories and then there's a lot of American television.

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: Yeah in the Philippines. So the picture of people, you know, having a very good life here overrated? You know yeah

>>Michaela: So, I guess when they come they expect to have that, do you think they usually realize it?

>>Josie: Uh, one way or the other, like many of the nurses who came, like the different wave, who were not, yes, you know. So for portions of their lives, they might...they might choose to live like in dormitories style just to save money to send back to the Philippines and also to accumulate quite a bit here. Many of the earlier physicians who came became very successful  and very wealthy in the US because there's something about Filipinos that really will not stop working.

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: You know, if there's an opportunity for, they call it, "betterment," but it's not always like intellectual betterment, like people here, like the physicians it's like latest research etc. There it's almost, to augment the money that you...that you make 

>>Michaela: Right

>>Josie: yes, and then...and then many of them are known...the older ones, not so much the younger ones, do have accumulated quite a bit of wealth so that they live really very well, they would be upper-middle class after a while.

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: Because medicine used to be different, now, with Affordable Care Act, etc, the compensation for physicians are not as much before

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: You know, but..but before they really you know were...whereas now physicians might make like two hundred, a hundred fifty thousand dollars, depending on your specialty and..,and then maybe three hundred. Before they would make into the millions

>>Michaela: Wow 

>>Josie: You know, the cleverer you are, you know, those were the physicians. So that, in a way, there is a, I don't know, a deification of, you know, that profession. You know, so 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: That's why well John just thinks there should be some Philippine nurse scientists but I don't know they all go into medicine because of that-the economic rewards of that.

>>Michaela: So you would say, of the professionals back home from the Philippines, they go into medicine? That's the area they tend to go to?

>>Josie: Yeah, they...they...many of them would have been trained abroad and then they do their residency here.

>>Michaela: Wow, ok 

>>Josie: Yeah

>>Michaela: And then do they tend to stay? 

>>Josie:...and then they establish and many of them just stay here.

>>Michaela: Okay 

>>Josie: But, as I said, just they've started to make things a little bit more attractive in the Philippines, but not enough, you know, to stem the tide yet. 

>>Michaela: In what way started to make it more attractive?

>>Josie: There are...there are hospitals that are really very good to work in, a few, it still does not cater to the hundred million. It might cater to a million, kind of thing

>>Michaela: I guess it's a start

>>Josie: It is a start, you know. It's very different, I don't know what Brazil is like, but...but Japan is so in a way, I use the word socialistic but there is...there is a better distribution of the middle class. 

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: You know, in terms of the professions then there would be

>>Michaela: In Brazil it's pretty extreme 

>>Josie: It's probably more like the Philippines 

>>Michaela: Yeah, I think it's difficult to find a middle class.

>>Josie: You see, yeah. That's probably the sometimes I'm aghast in the Philippines at the worship for like designer things.

>>Michaela: Yeah, I've definitely heard of that before. My family in Brazil, same thing

>>Josie: It's like, you know, cars, houses, shoes, etc. and then I appear you know without all those trinkets 


>>Josie: But..but it's almost like, "wow," like why are know, and then I say, "I came here so I can go to later, to be with the very poor, to build houses etc., "Why are you talking to me about stuff like that?" You know that I...but it's almost like in a society that hasn't developed fairness yet too much. That's become...America's becoming like that supposedly, right

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: You know, like they're the very very wealthy whom I don't know anybody of, etc, and then there's like the lower class, like. They say in Chicago fifty percent of the people who go to Chicago public schools are considered from the poor, I mean they are income eligible, you know, and then you hear here like the incredible amount of money that's being made by eighty people in the entire United States. That's the kind, but I think in the US there's still the middle class, the educated middle class. 

>>Michaela: Would you say in Chicago there is too, specifically?

>>Josie: The educated middle class? Yes

>>Michaela: There definitely is?

>>Josie: There definitely is.

>>Michaela: And would you say it's pretty, I guess, mixed ethnically or would it tend to be immigrant on the lower side?

>>Josie: In Chicago? 

>>Michaela: uh-huh

>>Josie: Umm, in Chicago Chicago in general I think in Chicago in general have a lot of very very poor people but it also has some of the wealthiest people. But it's a very small proportion. I think the incidents of really wealthy people are more in New York

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: And in the New York area.

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: You know, and then they would be proportionally, is what I would think. Now with the Filipino groups, there's some that are very wealthy, I don't know what percentages are, but there are also...and there are some who are comfortably middle class and there are also some who are quite poor. But apparently the household income of Filipinos are among the highest 

>>Michaela: I did see that 

>>Josie: Yeah, because everyone...because of the way they count household. Everybody lives together.

>>Michaela: Okay. So they tend to have multiple incomes.

>>Josie: Yes

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: and they work all the time 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: If there's overtime to be had, they will work overtime. Yeah, that means you have an incredible amount of stamina. And to me it also means you're very narrow interests, but that's a judgement. 


>>Michaela: You know, because sometimes enough, enough is enough kind of thing. So I don't know, but I have heard that...that the income levels, the household income level of the Filipinos, as an ethnic group, is really quite good. Not just in Chicago, but in the US. But then, as I said, you know, they need to be more explicit about the finding. Who constitutes the household, because maybe you don't have one or two income-earners, you might have quite a number like three or four.

>>Michaela: Okay 

>>Josie: But..but among the middle class in Chicago, if they can afford education at all there's still an incredible belief that education is the thing to do in order, you know, yeah

>>Michaela: That's good, education is definitely...

>>Josie: And preferably to many Filipinos, they prefer Catholic education, at least for elementary school and high school.

>>Michaela: Do you think that's for religious reasons? Or carrying over from the Philippines where you said the schools...the Catholic schools

>>Josie: I think it's for religious reasons. There's one thing that they really, that many still believe in, they are anti-abortion

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: And they are anti-...they're anti a number of things so that's I think a carry-over so they really...and they also believe I think that value formation is better done within the Catholic schools in the US than in the public school

>>Michaela: And do they tend to be predominantly Filipino schools? I guess, or are they mixed race Catholic schools?

>>Josie: No, they're parochial schools so it would be a mixture. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: Kind of thing, so, but...but they will make sacrifices for their children to go to...which is good I suppose I said

>>Michaela: And I know when you came, you chose not to live in the Filipino community, but would you say there was a very tight-knit Filipino community in Chicago? Or not really quite yet?

>>Josie: Oh there are, and you know, and one of the thing...there are an incredible number of...of groups in Chicago and they are together either for regional reasons like they might come from the same area in the Philippines, you know, so they might come from Bicol or southeast, and they are and they're very um competitive

>>Michaela: With each other?

>>Josie: With...with each other


>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: They are very competitive. That's probably why I'm not, I'm not built to compete in areas like that so and there are strict rules you know of belonging. Maybe one of the people that you should interview is somebody who does belong to groups like that 

>>Michaela: I could suggest that to my professor

>>Josie: Yeah you know

>>Michaela: That's so funny

>>Josie: Yeah, we will yeah

>>Michaela: They must have a very different perspective 

>>Josie:'s yeah I'm probably an outlier in terms of I didn't grow up as part of a group, you know. But it's not just here, in the Philippines too, I mean, we're social, but we're not groupies you know

>>Michaela: I mean, so I guess you tend to just stay more with your family as opposed to the region?

>>Josie: Yeah, and friends you know, you know, selected friends from all over. 

>>Michaela: All over the country? 

>>Josie: Yeah, yeah 

[background conversation-interruption]

>>Josie: He's very proud of his [John Disterhoft's] view of the lake


>>Michaela: Oh, well it was really nice 

>>Josie: Yeah, kind of 


>>Michaela: Let's see what we were talking about 

>>Josie: Now 

>>Michaela: with the communities?

>>Josie: Yeah, that would be a very interesting, I mean, area I think to really ask questions about. 

>>Michaela: But you're getting more involved now, you said aren't you getting involved?

>>Josie: Yeah, but I'm not really, yes, but..but I don't know how...I don't know''s really almost being...they're very close-knit groups and it's more than just family. Although families tend to all sort of belong to the same group, it might, as I said, it might be religious, but might also be because of the region that you come...

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: ...come from, you know, and there are incredible uh advantages, I suppose it's nice to feel that you always have somebody, but I think it can impede growth in other areas or commitment to the country-this is so judgmental

>>Michaela: No, no that's what makes it interesting!


>>Josie: Yeah, commitment to the country you're in, but it's the same behavior that if you apply to the Philippines, you are not doing well for, you know, your town even, you're just taking care of your clan or your group. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: You don't have, I would call it, and Jerry would probably use the word "civic consciousness" 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: You know, like the greater good, you know, the public good. That would be a fascinating thing for you to discover and write about.


>>Michaela: I can definitely look into that

>>Josie: Yeah, yeah, I mean, you know, you don't have that in like, I know the Japanese folks here are loyal to their, their Buddhist temple for instance, but I don't find this as exclusionary or 

>>Michaela: I guess, my Japanese side of the family is not very religious.

>>Josie: Oh

>>Michaela: So for them and then they really wanted to assimilate I guess to Brazil and so they are definitely more Brazilian than Japanese. 

>>Josie: Okay 

>>Michaela: Um 

>>Josie: What part of Brazil are you from?

>>Michaela: São Paulo

>>Josie: Oh

>>Michaela: And right around, they're in a small-well not that small a town, but they're a town outside of the city so, yeah it's nice I like going down there.


>>Josie: Yeah, it''s almost like the Japanese and the Brazilian culture are like very different from one another

>>Michaela: They are, it's funny, isn't it?

>>Josie: Yeah, because one is a little bit more modulated, and the other is totally expressive. This is my

>>Michaela: No, I would definitely agree with that

>>Josie: You know, it's like, wow...what, how interesting.

>>Michaela: Yeah, I would definitely say the Japanese side tends to set, I guess they're more reserved in some ways

>>Josie: Yes, yes

>>Michaela: And then Brazilians are very out there, and they'll say whatever they want

>>Josie: Yes, yes


>>Josie: Exactly

>>Michaela: I guess, I don't know too much about Filipino culture, I mean, how would you describe the Filipino...

>>Josie: It's out there

>>Michaela: It definitely is too?

>>Josie: It's definitely out there, yeah

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: You know, they...they like to sing, they like to...I'm the only person, the only Filipina you'll ever meet that cannot dance 

>>Michaela: I'm the only Brazilian that can't dance!


>>Josie: It's like, sing, dance, food, you know and in that sense, I didn't bring dance, I brought food a lot of it into the culture of my family.

>>Michaela: And you were the one who prepared the Filipino food?

>>Josie: Yes, but I also have a sister who's very good, you know, so she helps, but I can cook some. 

>>Michaela: So you would regularly make Filipino food? Or was it just for special occasions?

>>Josie: It's so time-consuming as my husband says, it is built on the theory of slave culture. And everybody had a maid and

>>Michaela: Okay 

>>Josie: And everything so, we tended to do it only for special occasions, you know

>>Michaela: I did know a Filipino woman, she was telling me about on New Year's, um you tend to wear, is it circles? Or something about to represent longevity of life, I'm not positive, she was telling me about it 

>>Josie: Huh...

>>Michaela: I might be off

>>Josie: No, no we didn't do that. One of the things we did at New Year's was to have firecrackers all over

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: Yeah, all over the place, and then Christmas is a major holiday, you know, so nine days before Christmas you start celebrating.

>>Michaela: What do you do?

>>Josie: Um people go caroling

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: And then they end up in something called Misa de Gallo, which is mass of the rooster, so four-thirty, five-thirty uh masses and then of course outside the church in some areas there were goodies being you know, being cooked, you know, like something flour-based you know rice-based kind like of goodies you know and then people were expected to go to work you know the next day so for nine days you just wasted yourself completely.

>>Michaela: And then you did that while your kids were growing up?

>>Josie: No, we didn't do that.

>>Michaela: Oh really?

>>Josie: You couldn't do that in an American setting, you I used to say, in America when you go to work you're expected to be at work 

>>Michaela: Yeah


>>Josie: It's's a very different, you know, so, so 

>>Michaela: So, in the Philippines that's not necessarily, around the holidays just?

>>Josie: Around the holidays there's you know at the time when I was growing up there was...there was a greater...there was more lax about you know

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: They...they, they understand. One of the things that the Filipinos have done here is that they the mass things, so they have assigned in Chicago like they call it "Simbang Gabi" like the mass of the evening 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: So parishes are assigned you know to have that mass, but it's at a better time like at six o'clock in the evening and then there's food of course. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: Afterwards, but you know parishes are cooperating. 

>>Michaela: And is that for Christmas still?

>>Josie: It's for Christmas

>>Michaela: Oh, okay

>>Josie: It's the nine days before Christmas. 

>>Michaela: Okay, and that's the biggest, would you say that's the biggest holiday that you guys would celebrate?

>>Josie: I think..I think yes, from my perspective anyway it's like Christmas. Christmas and New Year 

>>Michaela: Okay. What did you do to celebrate those two? You said you had cracker...firecrackers for New Year's 

>>Josie: For..yes and..and there's you know, it's the mass, the caroling, and the...the food and the giving of presents you know. So in a way we tended, I tended to avoid going to the Philippines for Christmas because

>>Michaela: Oh really?

>>Josie: know after a while because every single person that you ever knew needed to have a present. 

>>Michaela: Wow, yeah 

>>Josie: You know, from know, just from that point of view so I...I would go like right after Christmas, then you just gather people for...for a party or something rather than, you know...I mean Brazilians are probably that...there is endless, endless

>>Michaela: Endless presents

>>Josie: Endless presents, and seeing and eating and partying. Which is okay if you have the stamina for it I think

>>Michaela: It's definitely exhausting.

>>Josie: Yeah..yeah it's a very different frame of mind. I'm not typical Filipino in that sense you know.

>>Michaela: It's okay 

>>Josie: Yeah

>>Michaela: So you would say, so through food and through the holidays that was how you brought most of the Filipino culture into that house?

>>Josie: Yeah, and then...and then to talk about respect for the elders. That was 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: That was really...

>>Michaela: I guess that's values 

>>Josie: Those values

>>Michaela: How about language? 

>>Josie: We didn't...we didn't speak Filipino or I'd sing some songs 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: To them because we didn't think it was very useful, you know

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: Because they...they weren't the Philippines everybody they ever interact with would be speaking English and it wasn't useful for life in America.

>>Michaela: So when they visited, they would still speak in English there?

>>Josie: They would speak in English. Yeah

>>Michaela: But, um, and then you spoke, what dialect of the language did you speak?

>>Josie: parents spoke Ilocano and my...and then we spoke a little bit of Tagalog you know

>>Michaela: And that's the, you said that's was the main...that was the one they chose

>>Josie: That's the Filipino...yeah, that's the national la...language 

>>Michaela: And do you still speak it? Or do you...

>>Josie: I can speak it particularly now since many people like to publish in Tagalog too, but it takes me a while to read it and to translate it, you know to myself.

>>Michaela: Did your children ever want to learn it, or...?

>>Josie: Yeah, a little bit, particularly when they would go visit and...and now we have a grandchild. There, Calvin!

>>Michaela: Aw, he's so cute!

>>Josie: Jason's, grand...Jason's child, you know

>>Michaela: How old is he? He is so cute 

>>Josie: He was one and a half there, he's two and a half now

>>Michaela: Okay, he's adorable

>>Josie: So he..he's fluent, totally bilingual in Spanish

>>Michaela: Oh?

>>Josie: Because his nanny is Peruvian. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: But I have gotten to teach him like Philippine songs and I don't see him very often because he lives in Berkeley 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: We see them maybe like four or five times a year. 

>>Michaela: That's...that's a nice amount. 


>>Josie: But, you know it would be nice. But he mimics the way I speak 

>>Michaela: Really?

>>Josie: know

>>Michaela: Children learn it so easily

>>Josie: Yeah, and and he also learns the...the few words that I teach him. You know, so

>>Michaela: And does Jason ever speak Tagalog or one of those languages there, or no?

>>Josie: In Spanish, Jason can speak Spanish 

>>Michaela: Oh

>>Josie: and German.

>>Michaela: Wow, okay 

[laughter, coughing]

>>Josie: Because, it was their choices for school, you know Judith spoke French and know when you're in school they ask you 

>>Michaela: You have to choose a language

>>Josie: Yeah

>>Michaela: and then go with it 


>>Josie: I'm sure that's what they're doing

>>Michaela: That's amazing well I guess the last thing I wanted to ask you about was you said...


>>Michaela: sorry go ahead and take some water if you would like


>>Michaela: Um I guess what motivated you and I guess when to start becoming more involved in the Filipino community here?

>>Josie: It's something that happens, I mean all thr...all throughout like I...I would's not involvement to Filipino here it was involvement to the Philippines that motivated me. It''s's almost like the Filipinos here-I have friends, like Filipino friends, whom I'm close with you know, and I belong to a group in the Philippines there were like eighteen of us and we were, you know part of this group that was considered...we were considered like future leaders of the Philippines so we did some training together. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: Like there are nine of us who are based outside of the Philippines and we tend to keep in touch with one another.

>>Michaela: Oh wow

>>Josie: And know and it''s New York, Hawaii, Washington, you know, so 

>>Michaela: It's all spread out

>>Josie: So we are's almost like we were practicing for professionals each in our own way in our own milieu. And we would be connected to the Philippines because there were eight of us there as well in addition. So, you know, I was on the board of one of the groups, it's tough like that 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: And..and then here but it was always this..this nagging feeling that I am not connected with things that are important to the Philippines. An important thing was when they...they had a revolution, the episode when...when they deposed you know, when there was the flower power kind of thing and..and they march against martial law 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie:...kind of thing so you know against Marcos and all that. I was, that was nineteen eighty-six, I was not part of that. 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: And there's...there's part of me that said that was so important in my country and I wasn't, I wasn't part of it. And, all this while, so we would help, they would ask us to help you know like student leadership conferences there but all we could do is give advice from far or give money

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: But..and listen, but there was part of me that said, in addition to my family, I need to be involved in something important in the Philippines. And Gawad Kalinga was perfect for...for the likes of...for the likes of me. 

>>Michaela: That's amazing

>>Josie: So, it's happens, I think it will come if we are quiet enough and we listen will nag you. I mean there's no escape, I think in life 

>>Michaela: So now that's what you're doing?

>>Josie: That's one of the things that I'm...I am doing. You know we're raising money for our third village and we are 

>>Michaela: That's amazing

>>Josie: We are, I am in touch with people who will choose the site and all that kind of thing. So I'm befriending them in the Philippines 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: And also I have to befriend the Filipinos here too in addition to my American friends, so they can be part of the fundraising as well. 

>>Michaela: That's really neat 

>>Josie: Yeah, so, you know we do what we can know, and then I'm very conscious that, you know, I'm not gonna live forever, I don't know, I keep on saying maybe twenty more years or maybe, you know, but who knows it might be shorter than that. So, I think of life now as in five year chunks 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: So I say, "Okay," you know, "Next five years I can do this." Uh

>>Michaela: That's amazing 

>>Josie: So that's the way it''s, its different like suddenly, oh wow, I can no longer think about the future like in big, big ways it's like, but I'm you know, it's's okay.

>>Michaela: Well, the work you're doing is amazing. 

>>Josie: Oh, it's something to do, it gives me a sense of...identity? Like you know, it's a way of being, they say, kind. I'm not a naturally loquacious kind person, so I can do some thing that might...might be helpful, so 

>>Michaela: That's amazing. It's very impressive, I'm amazed by it...I think that's all I have to ask you. Well thank you so much for your time

>>Josie: Yeah, this is exciting

>>Michaela: It's definitely, yeah, and I'll definitely, I think I'll definitely meet with you one more time if that's alright with you.

>>Josie: Okay, yeah, sure

>>Michaela: I think it'll be sometime within the next month 

>>Josie: Okay

>>Michaela: I don't know if you know we're on the quarter system so classes go by so quickly

>>Josie: Yeah, yeah, yeah let...let give..give me a little bit of warning

>>Michaela: Of course

>>Josie: Because...yeah I'll be gone...

>>Michaela: I'm sure you're busy

>>Josie: ...for two weeks. No, I'll just be gone two weeks in the this quarter 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: Like beginning of February and the beginning of March.

>>Michaela: Okay, I'll tell my professor that, because she needs, I don't know if she necessarily needs me to do the second interview so if I do I'll let her know that you'll be away uh maybe if you wouldn't mind email...emailing me the dates you'll be away?

>>Josie: Sure, I'll...

>>Michaela: That way I can tell her ahead of time...

>>Josie: Sure

>>Michaela: ...I won't be able to do it then 

>>Josie: Sure 

>>Michaela: Okay

>>Josie: Okay?

>>Michaela: Let's see...

Cecile-Anne Sison; WCAS MMLC
Oral History; Interview
Gawad Kalinga
MMLC Student Work
WCAS Multimedia Learning Center

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