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Indo Of the Month – June – Written by Monica Jansen

Hello! My name is Monica, maiden name of Jansen. My father Johan was born in Tjilatjap, Indonesia in 1949 to parents who were both Indos, he is the 5th oldest of 12 children. In 1951 my Opa and Oma were forced to leave Indonesia and move to Valkenswaard, Holland with my father and his siblings. They lived in Holland until 1960 and then immigrated to the United States where all but two of my tantes, who now live in Holland, still reside. My father met my mother Sylvia, who is Mexican American in 1969 at a dance in San Diego and eventually married and had my brother and I.

Unfortunately I never had a chance to meet my Oma, she passed away before I was born. I was fortunate enough to have known my Opa and spend time with him. He passed away when I was in middle school but up until then my Indo family had always kept in touch and would often have family gatherings which always involved food…good food!! Lumpias, pisang goreng, nasi goreng, bread pudding, schotel, saute and my favorite roti kukus. I have also had the opportunity to visit Holland a couple of times and meet many cousins, tantes and oms that live in Bergen op Zoom.

I was born in 1975 in San Diego and have lived in this county my whole life. I am married and have 4 children who each look very different from one another, in skin tone, eye color and hair color but each of them has a touch of what we call ‘Jansen’ which means it’s the eye, nose or mouth shape…oh and personality, meaning strong willed, not sure if that’s specific to Indos but it sure is for Jansens! Though I am part Mexican my features resemble my father completely, my mother is fair skinned and green eyed, and growing up in Socal I am almost always presumed to be only Mexican. Once in a great while I will run into someone who can distinguish the difference and has actually heard of Indonesia (believe it or not I have actually met people who had no clue it existed or where it is!). I am very proud of my mixed heritage and value the many traditions and customs of both of my parent’s families. I cherish when I hear stories from my father or my tantes about their journey here to America. I am very proud to say that each and every one of my Jansen family has contributed to this country in so many ways, whether through serving in the military, teaching or creating a happy family.

When people speak of immigrants and what they do and don’t do for our country, I don’t have to look any further than at my father. He came here as a child, lived very modestly, became a citizen as a teenager, has worked very hard for his family his whole life, always setting an example of integrity and value of family and is now retired busy gardening, building decks and helping babysit his grandchildren. He is the example of the American dream and how immigrants have helped make this country great and that is what makes me most proud of being a Socal Indo

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