) had a suburban childhood growing up in Sicklerville, New Jersey. She describes it as a middle-class town, where most families she knew had two or three kids and a dog. One day in the fourth grade, her mom took her to join a Filipino folk dancing group based in South Jersey and Philadelphia. It was there, away from her hometown, that she found a community of Filipino-American kids like herself. ➡️ to listen
In the fourth grade, my mom signed me up for a Filipino folk dancing group. And so I did that up until I was a sophomore/junior in high school. It was interesting because I would have that, and be very “Filipino” in that way on the weekends. But then at school, I hung out with my friends who were mostly white. You know, when I was younger, our parents would make us go, we would complain. But at the same time, that was the first time I made a group of friends that were similar to me in upbringing, as far as being a Filipino American in suburban towns. And that’s something that I'm very grateful for, to be surrounded by that. That was something that was important to my mom, that I stay in touch with that part of my identity and adopting it as part of my identity, because she knew that I wasn't getting that at school.
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