by Heidi M. Pascual
When a New Life Chapter Starts
Part 2 of 2
Life in the United States of America

A new chapter in my life started when I migrated to the USA. Leaving my original country had two very important reasons: bonding with my mother
and siblings, and creating a new life for myself after a painful failed marriage.

There is a saying that we cannot have everything, so I simply accepted the fact that in life, there is always a balance of opposites, but may I add…so
long as we come out better than before. Thus, living abroad gave me a lot to learn and new challenges that colored my life in many ways that made
me happier, stronger, and more accomplished than ever before.

I became associated with people of color in Madison, Wisconsin, having been hired as associate editor of a Black newspaper, keeping the job for
almost 7 years, and later starting my own publication which has been focused on Asian American issues. In these roles, I experienced first-hand the
struggles undergone by people who belong to races other than Caucasian. Discrimination was real then and now, and being profiled was most
hurtful, particularly among Black Americans.

The stories that I used to just hear in the news, read from books, or watch in movies and documentaries, came to reality as I met and talked to
people of color when I became a writer and later publisher. Indeed, unless we wear other’s shoes, we wouldn’t really know how it felt to be non-
White. It was difficult to be educated in college for a lot of them because they didn’t have the means. Their parents were poor or incarcerated or doing
a number of menial jobs a day that many had to beg for government help in order to feed and clothe their children. The sad part was, these parents
couldn’t even take care of their own children as they struggled to find food for them. And we know what happens to children with absentee parents.
My take was, the shadow of slavery in American history has remained, despite Barack Obama’s ascendance to the presidency, though it boosted
people of color’s pride and dream to be on equal footing with the rest of American society.
As an Asian American, I observed that many Asian parents — except
for refugees from war-torn countries — came to America already armed
with education. They carried with them cultures that obliged them to
take care of their children and support their education even through
college. There simply was nothing to stop these parents to fully guide
their kids until they were ready to stand on their own. Even my friends
from the Hmong community whose parents swam to cross the Mekong
River from Laos to Thailand during the Vietnam War now have high-
education degrees and professions that could confirm my observation.
A lot of folks from India, Vietnam, China and the Philippines, likewise
had reached many of their economic goals that allowed them to
support families back in their original countries.

The United States of America is a land of promise for many
immigrants. My family and I have had the opportunity to explore that
belief. We, however, took the challenge with a lot of patience and
sacrifice, knowing fully well that without determination to succeed and
make things happen, nothing would ever come out of our resolve.

As editor and publisher of Asian Wisconzine magazine, I became
witness to many success stories of Asians in America, as well as a few
downfalls that easily could break one’s heart. Suffice it to say that in this
particular chapter of my life, I met the best of friends in a very colorful
world that I could only describe as challenging, but great, for it gave me
the confidence to face this world with a better perspective.