City National Bank, Multicultural Author Series, Los Angeles, CA – May 8, 2015

With Pam DiMaria. Behind us is the map of the world where the audience pins the country/countries where their ancestors came from

With Pam DiMaria. Behind us is the map of the world where the audience pins the country/countries where their ancestors came from.

I was invited by City National Bank to present to their staff during their Multicultural Author Series. Many thanks to Noemi Refuerzo and Pam DiMaria for coordinating, and Diego Mojarro for making this video.

Please click at the link below to watch the presentation:

Leslie V Ryan Presents at City National Bank’s Multicultural Author Series

With my friend and former elementary school classmate Noemi Refuerzo.

With my friend and former elementary school classmate Noemi Refuerzo.

I applaud City National Bank’s commitment to diversity in their workforce. Their staff, who comes from all cultural and experiential backgrounds, lends a variety of perspectives and enriches the workplace and enhances their ability to serve the needs of their clients and communities.

City National Bank’s Multicultural Strategy and Initiative

 

Author Appearance at Jumpstart Spring Literacy Fair: Saturday, March 8, 2014, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, OC Heritage Museum, Santa Ana, CA

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With fellow authors l to r: Cori Gibb, Dennis Yang, Ron Noble, Ryan Afromsky, Leslie Ryan, Shawn Otomo

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Author Ryan Afromsky, Cat in the Hat, and me

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JFAD Flyer- English copy

 

Address: OC Heritage Museum, Santa Ana, CA

 

The Diversification of Reality TV – Specifically The Bachelor, Season 18 – 2014

This year, I noticed a lot more contestants of mixed heritage.  Maybe I am more in tuned to it because of my Flippish kids and that I am in a mixed marriage?  Nah, I have been married for 14 years and I would have noticed back then if the show had a diverse pool of contestants.  FYI, I have been watching The Bachelor since Season 1.  I don’t know if I should be admitting this, but there you have it.  The cat is out of the bag.  I have been watching 18 seasons of The Bachelor.  It is my guilty pleasure and all you nay sayers can just get over it.

It took lawsuits and complaints against ABC Network that The Bachelor contestants are not very diverse.  I agree.  Throughout the years, a very small amount of African Americans, Asian, and Hispanic were picked for the show.  I was very happy when Puerto Rican American Mary Delgado won the heart of Byron Velvick during Season 6.  Unfortunately that union didn’t last.  After Season 6 I thought there will be a more diverse group of contestants or contestants of mixed heritage.  Or maybe they didn’t stand out or get any air time for me to notice.  And believe me, I notice everything.

Last year, during The Bachelor 2013, we watched Flitalianish (Filipino, Italian, Scottish) Catherine Giudici win the heart of All American Sean Lowe.  I noticed her immediately as soon as she got out of the limo.  I knew she was of mixed heritage.  Her looks or mixed ethnicity weren’t the only things that caught my eye, but her great personality, humor, and positive attitude made me root even harder for her from the beginning.  It was pretty sad she didn’t get much air time.  I guess the ones who creates the biggest drama gets the air time.  She seemed to disappear in the background until later on in the season when Sean finally noticed her.  Finally!  When Sean visited Catherine’s hometown, my kids and I were excited to see that she is part Filipino.  The viewers saw Sean gamely don an apron and learned to cook lumpia.  He seemed to embrace Catherine’s family just like my husband did when he met my family.  Now they are getting married.  I know their kids are going to be multiculturally beautiful.  They will have a lot of great cultures to pull from.

Now we come to Bachelor 2014.  Juan Pablo claims to be the first Latino (he is from Venezuela) Bachelor, but complaints have been made that he doesn’t look it because of his fair coloring.  OMG, no matter what, people will still complain that he is too white, too dark, too ethnic, too non-ethnic.  Blah, blah, blah.  My former nanny is from Peru and she has blonde hair and green eyes and considers herself a Latina.  Just like the USA, Latin America comprises of immigrants of European, Asian, and African ancestries.  Former president of Peru Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) was of Japanese ancestry.  I rest my case.

On to the contestants:

Back to the list of multicultural women that diversify the contestant pool.  They include 1 African American, 1 Latina from Brazil, no Asians, and 5 are of mixed heritage.   I have linked their names to The Bachelor website so you can check out their bio.

Ashley was born in Hawaii and moved to Texas.  She looks mixed doesn’t she?

Clare tells us she is part Mexican.  I was shocked.  Who would have thunk?  She may not look it because she got more of her father’s European complexion.  Just like in my kids, people are shocked to find out they are half Irish.

Chantel is the only African American on the show (aka ABC is being PC).  Need I say more?

Danielle is a stunning woman of mixed heritage.  She reminds me of a writer friend who calls herself Afro-Viking.  I won’t hold it against her that she dislikes my favorite food in the world – sushi.

Lucy the cute free spirit claims she is part Latina – hence her last name Aragon.  She is a little too free spirit for my taste, but as long as it makes her happy, who am I to judge?

Victoria hails from Brazil.  By the looks of tonight’s preview she seems to be a bit of a mess.  I will refrain from commenting further.

Finally, my favorite — but not everyone’s favorite…

Sharleen the reserved opera singer from Canada has a wonderfully mixed heritage.  Her mom is Chinese and her dad is a mix of Irish, French, English, and Aboriginal.  Thus her beautifully exotic look that captivated Juan Pablo.  She is very classy and very reserved.  Frankly, I don’t know why she signed up for a show like The Bachelor?  However, I give her props for the gumption to do something so different from opera.  She got flack for being standoffish and not screaming with joy when Juan Pablo gave her the first impression rose.  Viewers, its called class.

There you go, folks.  Out of 27 contestants, we have 7 women to diversify The Bachelor, Season 18.  Wow!  Maybe I have missed some?  If so, please let me know.  During Sean Lowe’s season there were 6 people of color.  That is more than Season 16 (Ben Flajnik) who had zero.  I am tempted to go through each season to see how many women of color were picked to diversify the pool of contestants, but rather not waste my time counting.  I might get disappointed.  So, Bachelor producers, you are heading in the right direction.  It’s a great start but 7 women out of 27?  You can do better than that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading and Book Signing in Virginia! December 7-8, 2013, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Sweet City Desserts, Vienna VA

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I am so excited to bring “I am Flippish!” to Virginia!  Sweet City Desserts is hosting my reading and signing for both days.  Thank you to my cousin Manuel Tagle and Mitzi Pickard for inviting me and organizing this event. 20% of the sales proceeds will go to Caritas Manila Foundation to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan and the earthquake in the Philippines.

There is nothing like having a personally signed book to give to kids for the Holidays.  So get some of your Holiday shopping done, and preorder your personally signed copies of “I am Flippish!”  Please email me at LeslieVRyan@gmail.com to reserve your copies.

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Please click image for Sweet City Website

131 A Maple Avenue West, Vienna VA 22180

(703) 938-8188

 

Will The Real Mrs. Ryan, Please Stand Up?

 

What’s in a name?  When you hear the name Leslie Ryan, how do you envision what she looks like?  Close your eyes and try to say the name out loud.  What do you see? You see a typical Irish lass, am I  correct?   Or when you hear the names Deborah Yamamoto or Lydia Bolts, what do you see? Would you think one is Asian and the other Caucasian?

Well, my friend Deborah Yamamoto is a fair skinned, red head of Scottish ancestry.  She married a Japanese American named Andy Yamamoto.  She told me that she always gets a look of surprise from people when they meet her for the first time.

What about my husband’s aunt, Lydia Bolts?  She is a petite woman with dark olive skin and black hair, whose family immigrated from El Salvador.  She told me that it wasn’t easy for her in the 1960’s when they got married.  They thought she was the nanny or the housekeeper, and couldn’t be married to my uncle who is Caucasian.  She has many stories to tell.  (Stay tuned for my next blog.)

Leslie Ryan doesn’t have blonde hair or blue eyes nor white skin.  She is a short Filipino American with tanned skin, brown eyes, and black hair – she is me.  I married a blonde haired, blue eyed handsome Irish American, took his last name and became Leslie Ryan.  It has been 13 years since we were married, and we still experience misconceptions and stereotyping based on my name.

If you tell me that when you hear those names I mentioned above you immediately thought Leslie Ryan is Filipina, Cindy Yamamoto is Caucasian, and Lydia Bolts is Hispanic, then you must be lying.  Thirteen years since I changed my last name to Ryan,  I have experienced several misconception on what a Mrs. Ryan should look like.  Here are my top five moments:

5.  Ten years ago, we moved into our home in a neighborhood that wasn’t very diverse. A salesman knocked on my door, and when I opened it, he asked to talk to the lady of the house.  I turned around and yelled “Hey, is the lady of the house in?”  Then I turned back to the guy, and I sweetly replied, “That would be me!” Then I closed the door in his face.  I guess I didn’t look like a homeowner.

4.   My husband and I were in the process of interviewing landscape contractors.  One morning, we had an appointment with the contractor, but  I had to drop off our kids to school and pick up my nanny.  When we got home, my nanny went into the front door first, and I was right behind her.  We were both in the entryway  when I saw that the two male contractors stood up and walked over to greet her and shake her hand.  My husband said, “That’s not my wife.  That’s our nanny.” Whoops! Their red complexions weren’t from working outside all day.  I took the high road and greeted them nicely. I think the guys tried to make up for their faux pas because they answered every question and concerns I had.  Sometimes when it comes to construction talk men usually would look and address their answers to their fellow men even if the questions posed came from a woman.  These guys knew how to get the contract because they looked at me and addressed me with their answers.  I think they knew that even if my husband liked them, I got the last word on whether or not they got the contract.  They had a lot of making up to do after the faux pas. They turned out to be the best contractors we ever hired.   They have always been respectful and went above and beyond to accomplish all my requests.

3.   Twelve years ago, I was on a flight home from Chicago.  I was almost six months pregnant, large as a house, uncomfortable, and dreading the six hour flight home.  With that in mind, my husband bought me a business class seat on United Airlines so that I was comfortable during the flight home.  After I sat down and put my seatbelt on, the flight attendant came over to me, huffed, and asked me in an accusatory tone “Where is Mrs. Ryan?”   By the tone of his voice, he probably thought I was from coach, snuck into Business Class and stole a seat.  If he asked me for my ticket and driver’s license, I probably would have lost my temper.  I politely replied that I was Mrs. Ryan, and the look on the flight attendant’s face was of surprise.  The only thing he said was, “Ohhhh…”  finally understanding how this short, dark, and pregnant woman could be named “Mrs. Ryan.”  He then turned around and marched back into the galley.  He was nicer afterwards.  Or maybe because he looked at my husband’s airline mileage plus status and saw that it was Platinum?   I couldn’t imagine how it was forty to fifty years ago when mixed marriages weren’t as prevalent.

2.   Recently, I had several really large and heavy pots delivered, and when I opened the garage door to let the guy bring the pots in, he asked me where Mr. Ryan was and if I worked for him.  Seriously?  I was even dressed up that day.  I was so annoyed, I made the poor guy move the heavy pots a couple of times.  Then I felt bad and offered him some water.

1.   This is the most recent and most ludicrous incident.  I schedule a one on one tutorial at an Apple store, and when I arrived, I was seated with three other women who were Caucasian. The Apple tutor I was assigned to went to the first woman and asked if she was Leslie Ryan.  She shook her head.  I raised my hand and said, “I’m Leslie Ryan.”  The guy ignored me and went to the second woman and asked if she was Leslie Ryan.  Second woman said, “No.”  He then went over to the third woman, who already shook her head before he asked her.  I was the only one left at the table, and he finally looked at me.  I gave him a look that says I’m the person he was looking for.  I couldn’t resist and asked him, “What, I don’t look like a Leslie Ryan?”  Awkward, right? The rest of the hour was a little disconcerting, to say the least.  Even though this incident happened an hour ago, I still left the store shaking my head in disbelief.

Some of the above incidents happened twelve years ago to just recently.  One would think there would have been progress where people no longer assume what a person looks like based on their name.

What about multiracial children?  My son’s name for example is Sean Patrick Ryan, but he looks more like me.  My husband and I thought it would be cool to give him a full Irish name.  Did we make a mistake by doing that?  Should we have included a Filipino name and hope that they would see he is half?  What is he going to experience when he grows up?  How will he handle situations of misperception and stereotyping?  I can only hope and pray that he doesn’t resent us for giving him that name.  So far, he hasn’t experienced any of this.

How do I teach my children to deal with misperception and stereotyping?  My husband and I discussed this matter, and we decided that the first thing is to make sure our kids have a strong sense of who they are.  As long as they are confident about themselves, nothing can break them.  Incidents like I have experienced will just roll off their backs and afterwards, they can laugh about how ignorant people can be.  The next is to lead by example.  If I get angry and throw a fit over every incident I have experienced, then that is exactly what they will do.  I usually say something funny or use humor.  It diffuses an awkward situation and makes the other party feel dumb.  However, if the situation is not based on ignorance but malice, then I will fight and stand up for what is right.  I pick my battles.  Hopefully my children will learn this as they grow up. I feel that I can’t protect my children forever.  Neither can I control what other people say and do.  All I can do is teach my children to be confident about themselves and try to lead by example.

Our country is the most diverse than it has ever been.   Mixed marriages are prevalent worldwide.  More schools celebrate and teach multiculturalism and diversity.  Parents seek to raise global children.  Traditional and social media often talks about multiculturalism and diversity.  Movies, television shows, and commercials are incorporating multicultural families to get with the times.  At some point in this century, issues like this will be a thing of the past.  One can only hope…

#mondayblogs

“I am Flippish!” is coming to San Francisco! – Filipino American International Book Festival, October 19-20, 2013, San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch – San Francisco, CA

“I am Flippish!” is coming to San Francisco!

Filipino American authors and artists have come together to share their stories at the second Filipino American International Book Festival.  Hosted by PAWA, a Northern CA based 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization and independent publisher of Filipino American lit.  PAWA’s main goal is to create and encourage literature and arts for the preservation and enrichment of Filipino and Filipino American historical, cultural and spiritual values.

I am honored to be invited by Mrs. Linda Nietes of the Philippine Expressions Bookshop to participate in this wonderful event.  Come to this free event and get your signed copies of “I am Flippish!” and other wonderful books written by my fellow Filipino American authors.  You can find our books at the Philippine Expressions Bookshop’s booth.

This event will be held:

San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch
100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

My assigned schedule at the event is as follows:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

12:30 – 1:30 Fisher’s Children’s Center, 2nd Floor – Reading “I am Flippish!”

2:00 – 3:00 Book signing at Philippine Expressions Bookshop’s table – Table A

Sunday, October 20, 2013

1:00 – 2:00 Book signing at Philippine Expressions Bookshop’s table – Table A

Click Here For More Information About The Filipino American International Book Festival

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#mondayblogs #hapa #multiculturalfamilies #biracial #mixeracefamily #filipino #irish #multicultural #kidlit #sanfrancisco

 

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on Sunday, April 21st, 2013 – USC Campus, Philippine Expressions Tent #33

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I had a wonderful day at the LA Times Festival of Books.  The Philippine Expressions tent had a great line up of authors from different genres:

  1. Historian Jay Wentz, of “The Pacific”
  2. Giovanni Ortega, Leaves from the Silvelake Barrio
  3. Albert Mortiz, Discover the Philippines Cookbook
  4. Sumi Sevilla Haru, Iron Lotus: Memoirs of a Filipina activist in Hollywood
  5. Carina Monica Montoya,(also known as Carina Forsythe) Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown (Images of America Series); Filipinos in Hollywood (Images of America Series); Santa Maria Valley (Images of America Series) co-authored by the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society; Let’s Cook Adobo, a juvenile cookbook
(l to r) Jay Wertz, Albert Mortiz, me, Giovanni Ortega, Linda Nietes - owner of Philippine Expressions Bookshop, and Sumi Haru

(l to r) Jay Wertz, Albert Mortiz, me, Giovanni Ortega, Linda Nietes – owner of Philippine Expressions Bookshop, and Sumi Haru

 

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Author Visit, Felton Elementary, Lennox, CA, March 27th 2013

I had a wonderful time with the students and staff of Felton Elementary.  I was met by their librarian extraordinaire, Mrs. Fernandez who showed me the school’s amazing library.

I began my visit by reading to very well behaved Kindergarten students.  They filed in quietly and listened to my reading with enthusiasm.  Then I headed to their cafeteria where I read “I am Flippish!” to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.  After my reading I proceeded with my lecture on ancestry and immigration.  The students were very engaging!  I was very impressed when I started talking about the Irish immigration to Mexico, one class knew about it.  We talked about the different ways to immigrate in 2013 and in 1620.  The children were shocked.  I also showed them what it was like to travel in the Mayflower and a modern day cruise ship.  All in all, the children got a glimpse of what some of their ancestors went through to come to this beautiful and blessed country called America.

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Latest review of “I am Flippish!”

Please check out the latest review of my book “I am Flippish!” by InCulture Parent book editor Meera Sriram.

http://www.incultureparent.com/2013/02/a-multicultural-book-for-mixed-race-kids/

InCulture Parent is a fabulous online magazine focusing on raising global citizens.  I suggest checking it out for your little ones.

http://www.incultureparent.com/about/

 

The Launching of Echo Park Library’s Philippine Heritage Collection, October 27th 2012 – 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Los Angeles, CA

It was an honor to meet Ruben Nepales, author of My Filipino Connection: The Philippines in Hollywood and the chairman of The Hollywood Foreign Press

Launching of the Philippine Heritage Collection
Echo Park Library
1410 W Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Saturday, October 27, 2012

11:00am – 3:00pm

October has been designated as Filipino American History Month all over the US. In celebration of this event, the Echo Park Community Group (EPCoG) in collaboration with the Los Angeles City Public Library is launching the Philippine Heritage Collection at Echo Park Public Library. The collection will be the foundation of the literary, historical and cultural documentation of the Filipino American and Philippine experience. The “story” or experience will also highlight the contributions and sacrifices made by Filipino Americans as immigrants to this land and will showcase literary works of local Filipino authors, especially those writing about their Filipino American experiences and the development of Historic Filipino Town. Future programs will include book talks and signings, lectures and cultural presentations.

Two Keynote speakers – Cathy Serafica Deleon and Greg Villanueva. Cathy Serafica

Deleon is the Branch Manager of the Los Alamitos-Rossmoor Library of the Orange County Public Libraries. She will speak on the importance of libraries to our community and what a historic phenomenal event this is – the establishment of Philippine Heritage Collection in the Los Angeles Public Library. Greg Villanueva is an Echo Park native and successful architect, and who brought up the idea of a Philippine Heritage Collection as part of the Echo Park Library. He will share the reasons that sparked the creation of the collection. Michelle Magalong of the MyHiFi group will present a Filipino-American Historical Perspective.

A number of local Filipino American authors will also be attending. Linda Nietes of Philippine Expressions Bookshop, a mail order bookshop located in Rancho Palos Verdes, (310) 514-9139 http://philippineexpressionsbookshop.wordpress.com will be on hand with books for purchase or for donation to the collection. The Southern California authors who will speak and sign their books are: Noel Alumit, author of Talking to the Moon, a novel set in Historic Filipinotown; Lorna Dumapias, author of Filipino American Experience: The Making of a Historic Cultural Monument; Sumi Haru, author of Iron Lotus, Memoirs Sumi Sevilla will share her experiences in her successful Hollywood career ; Lorenzo Paran III, author, Pinoy in America: The stateside life in the time of Barack Obama, Facebook and Pacquiao-mania which is all about life in America; Leslie V. Ryan, author, I am Flippish, a book for juveniles, which tells a story about mixed parentage, and in this case, pride in being Filipino and Irish; Juanita Santos Nacu of San Diego and author of Storytelling. Project heart to heart: A Means to Bridge Generational Gap in post-1965 Filipino Immigrant families; Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier,author of Seeking Thirst, a novel with an Echo Park setting; Zosimo Quibilan, who will read from his book-in-progress, a poetry regarding the Filipino American and Percival Cruz, will read from his book, The Drama Queen and a two-minute story entitled My Way, about an ex-jeepney driver who became an American Idol contestant. Because the event is in celebration of Filipino American History Month, the themes of the authors’ talks and readings were chosen to fit the occasion.

Also expected to attend and sign their books are Ben Aniceto, author of Stay Tuned:The Golden Years of Philippine Radio; Teresita (Tita) Pambid Domingo of UCLA and author of Come On, Let’s Speak Tagalog; Marc Lawrence, who is married to a Filipina, a martial arts teacher and author of a primer, The Basics of Filipino Martial Arts; Albert J.Mortiz, author of Discover the Philippines Cookbook; Ruben V. Nepales, author of My Filipino Connection: The Philippines in Hollywood; Maria Ciocon, Linda Nietes-Little and Julie Wolski who will sign as contributors to the book, The Magnificat: Mama Mary’s Pilgrim sites edited by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard who is out of town. The three contributors have shared their personal experiences of healing of mind, body and spirit after their pilgrimages to sites dedicated to the Blessed Mother in Lourdes, France; Fatima in Portugal; Our Lady of Vailankanni by the Bay of Bengal in India and the Black Madonna in Poland.

Co-chairs of this event are EPLCoG Board members Caroline Lorenzo and Jose Sigala. Also on the EPLCoG Board are Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal, President; Lisa Baca-Sigala, Treasurer; Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier, Secretary; Dr. Marc Caratao; Cora Marte; Isa Meksin and Ramona Souza.

We hope that you will come and support this project which is a wonderful outreach to build the Filipino American community in Los Angeles, with full support from Philippine Expressions Bookshop.