Editor's corner/ Over a cup of tea
Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the
Year for the State of
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When Change is Right for You
By Heidi M. Pascual
enough to keep a nice home, a car, maids, and many of life’s perks. I would be away from two of my older children who
had married and were over 21 years old at the time. On second thought, I would be rejoining my mother, would be able to
take care of her in her old age, and I would be reunited with my four other siblings again! I thought of how we were
separated in our youth (when my mom left for the U.S.) that we never grew up together. This would be a happy reunion, I
told myself. In addition, I thought of starting life anew with my husband, by taking him away from all the heartbreaking
aches and pains of his womanizing, alcohol dependency, and most of all, the corrupt practices of the agency he had
worked for. We could still work, begin a career in the U.S., and live happily ever after, so I thought.
But my husband--now my ex--didn’t want to change his life, so I ended up changing mine...alone. I went abroad with my
youngest son. My mom was staying with one of my brothers in Glenview, Illinois at the time, while my youngest sister was
earning her master’s degree from UW-Madison. It was my sister who encouraged me to stay with her so my son could
enroll at UW.
It was truly a good decision to stay in Madison, Wisconsin. Here I started a career in journalism. My very first job was
assistant editor of a Black newspaper, whose owner was then the local NAACP president and former CEO of the Urban
League. That job exposed me to the issues that affect communities of color in Wisconsin, and introduced me to
outspoken people in the community, particularly the leaders from the Black, Latino, and Asian communities. It was a
learning experience that I never had encountered in my college days. This life’s change was definitely right for me!
It took me more than six years in that job, and thereafter, I decided I was ready to start an Asian American publication, this
one you are reading now. I started it in 2005, and 12 years after, it is still alive. My magazine used to be printed and
simultaneously online, but when recession happened in 2009, another change had to happen. Many publications ended
up closing shop. Fortunately, I was prepared to keep Asian Wisconzine by making it exclusively online. I am thankful I
foresaw the possibility of getting rid of printing in the future...that was 2004; so I studied how to do a website on my own! It
took me two-three months of self-study, every night, until I was ready to publish online. Thus, my first printed magazine
was also online, though it was very rough and elementary, I should say. Succeeding issues were better and I was able to
publish online each page as the months went by. Patience and perseverance paid off. Another life’s change that was
right for me!
In Madison, I found my best friend, my soul mate, an extraordinary man who’s loved by the community for his beautiful
heart and love for people of color. And I want to thank him profusely for making me believe that life is beautiful when you
serve. Jonathan Gramling, thank you for all you do for me and our Madison community. You are truly a community person,
committed to service and justice. I also found my second parents, Paul and Atsuko Kusuda. Despite my absence in
Madison, we are keeping in touch regularly, Paul continues to write for Asian Wisconzine online. And most of all, they
support me 100 percent in whatever I do and whatever project I get myself involved in. I named my new home in the
province of Laguna “Casa Kusuda” to express my love and appreciation for the Kusuda couple. They are the parents I
never had. I would be remiss if I don’t mention my “family” in Madison, the Wisconsin Women Of Color Network, Inc.
(WWOCN), especially the people who inspired me to serve and be the best at what I do – Agnes Cammer, Sharyl Kato,
Frances Huntley-Cooper, and Lakshmi Sridharan. Their values, record of community service and life achievements
became my guiding principles as I adapted and adjusted to American way of life.
In 2010, I decided to go back to my original home country. I wouldn’t consider it failure for not amassing wealth in
America, though. I earned a wealth of experience, new knowledge and skills, and lots of good friends. This new chapter
in my life back home has been another right change. I am enjoying the company of my former high school friends and I
For more than 20 years after I got married, raised three children and pursued a career, I never
bothered to even think of changing my life. At the time my children were growing up, my family
was my only life, and regardless of challenges that came my way, my only goal was to keep
my family together and help my children become productive members of society. This, despite
my other half’s wandering soul and uncontrollable vices that went with a man’s success.
When each of my children graduated from college and started a family of their own, I simply
focused on my career and remained a faithful wife and mother, ready to help whenever
necessary. But change was definitely forthcoming without my knowing it. The immigrant
petition for me and family earlier filed by my mother, an American citizen who lived in Chicago
area since 1968, had been approved and I had to decide to accept it and move to the U.S.
I had to ask myself repeatedly, “Is this the right time for a change?” I had to analyze the pros
and cons of leaving my country. I was about to leave a good job as deputy executive director of
Plenary Affairs Bureau in the Philippines’ House of Representatives. I was earning more than
could see and visit my children and their
families once in a while! I do a lot of
ballroom dancing for exercise, gardening in
a huge, beautiful yard in the barrio, and
getting to know many of my relatives, too.
Recently, I won a beauty pageant titled “The
Most Beautiful Grandma of Laguna 2017”
during ANILAG Fest (Laguna Harvest
Festival), and on May 14th, I will be he
Reyna Elena (Queen Helena) at the
Santacruzan Festival of a barangay in my
hometown. I am happy with these life
changes, and I thank our Lord for such a
fruitful, wonderful life. The challenges that
came my way as the journey progresses
have made me stronger, and they are
miniscule compared to the blessings that
were pouring constantly every step of the
To me, change is good. The decisions I
have so far made in my life have been
blessed from above. At my age, I can say
that all I did was to be myself and be a
good person in the first place.