Mihaela Hinayon (Mihae) was born September 19, 1987 in Batangas, Philippines. Growing up she described her life as very sheltered and reserved. Referring to her daily routine as living in a “two block radius”, she would only go from school to home, and carried on this pattern until she graduated college. Most of the English influence in her life came from American Disney and war movies along with classes at school.

Upon graduating college with a degree in communications in the Philippines, Mihae traveled to Hong Kong where she started her career for Pfizer, a

Mihaela Hinayon

Mihaela Hinayon

pharmaceutical company, where she entered into a management-training program. While working for Pfizer, Mihae met a Rhode Island man who would later become her husband. After two years in Hong Kong, she traveled back to the Philippines for six months before moving to Rhode Island to get married and live with her husband. Rhode Island proved to be a great place to settle for Mihae in many aspects. She described her first memory in America as a cold winter day, but it was apparent that her love for the snow and cooler temperatures were short lived. Winter, as she described, was one of her more difficult adaptations to American life.

“…I don’t know if this is the only place I’ll live in, but I really like that the first time I came here I came to Rhode Island, because its so small, its small enough that when you go you don’t feel overwhelmed…”

However it was not as much the process of moving to America that proved to be challenging for Mihae, but the time after the transition. Her parents seemed to struggle the most with her move and it then caused a strain on their relationship.

The disapproval of her parents was due to their cultural background. Mihae expressed that not just in the Philippines, but in most Asian cultures as well, they stressed focusing on one’s community and family traditions and less on individuality. Moving to America for Mihae symbolized the fact that she could make her own decisions not only in her personal life but in her career as well. This is reflective of her idea of the American culture.

Yet after overcoming these obstacles, this has not stopped Mihae from allowing her career to flourish and her experiences in America to suffer. Now living on the East side of Providence, she enjoys trying new foods and desserts and exploring the “sweater” side of American culture. She also shifted her career focus to a more creative field in visual arts. Mihae is currently employed at Hasbro where she works in the graphic design department. Additionally, she showcases her artistic passions through photography. Since moving to the states, traveling has also acted as a major priority in her and her husband’s lives both nationally and globally. Recently coming back from Barcelona, she hopes to travel to South America and explore more of Europe and states within the U.S. She enjoys the freedom the country offers when making her decisions along with the lack of pressure of starting a family. Mihae also intends to further her studies and career while continuing to live in Rhode Island. Recently after much hard work, Mihae has passed her naturalization interview and became one step closer in gaining her full citizenship to America.

Written and compiled by Elizabeth Woodall, Hugh Armstrong and Brooke Clarke