I always thought my eyes looked strange on my face.
Nothing else about me appears characteristically Asian; my thin brown hair, my Mediterranean nose and my olive skin tone could fool anyone into thinking I am some form of Southern European. But my almond-shaped eyes with a slight tilt at the edges say something different. I suppose if eyes can be the window to one’s soul, mine also are the window to my heritage. But I never knew the woman who had my eyes.
My grandmother, Belén, was born in 1923 in Manila, Philippines. My father told me that she was orphaned at 8 years old, lived through World War II under Japanese occupation, and in 1946, came to the United States, alone, on a war bride ship. In 1985, she died of cancer before I could meet her, but my father kept her memory alive through stories he would tell me each night before bed.
He would talk about her four older brothers and younger sister, Carmen, about their impoverished lives on the streets of San Miguel barrio, and how they would wait each day for the rain to fall so they could wash the dirt from their skin. He spoke of my grandmother’s stern intellect, which she attributed to the nuns who helped raise her, and of the school she attended as a girl, and how she watched the Japanese chain its doors and burn it and everyone inside. But although she lost family, friends, her country and her home, my grandmother survived. After the war, she left the Philippines and never returned.
This was all I had of my grandmother — vague memories and pieces of her life strung together in a fairy tale narrative that could no longer discern between fact and fiction. I had this, and my eyes. But over time, I grew dissatisfied. I found myself wondering more about her, her parents, the nuns and her siblings. Stories were not enough.
I traveled to Manila for the first time last year, during the summer after my sophomore year of college. I stayed with my cousins, the children and grandchildren of my grandmother’s siblings, who, like my grandmother, had passed away years before.
Manila looked different than the way my father’s stories had described it. The streets were lined with motorcyclists, the houses were supported by large pieces of scrap metal, and nobody spoke my grandmother’s native tongue, Spanish, anymore. The place I felt connected to no longer existed. The Manila I saw was not my grandmother’s Manila. The Japanese had burned nearly everything during the war, and most of the city’s historical monuments, old churches and Spanish buildings were gone, their remains buried beneath paved concrete roads.
But parts of history went undestroyed. On a day when the monsoons did not swallow Manila’s streets, I went to El Hospicio de San Jose, the orphanage where my grandmother once lived.
It was one of the few places significant to my grandmother’s life that was still intact. The orphanage still functions to this day, and also now serves as a welfare house for the homeless and the elderly.
The building stood, as it had for over two centuries, on Isla de Convalecencia, a small island within the Pasig River on the eastern edge of the city. Down a shaded path of malaanonan trees, I arrived at a large brick archway where a small woman waited for me. She shook my hand and led me past a bright green courtyard where a statue of the Virgin Mary stood, dressed in light blue with her hands held out, as if offering help to those who walked toward her. “Come in here,” the woman said, opening a small door with a key.
I could almost feel the dust multiplying around me, collecting on old books, photographs and chipped statues of patron saints, the way winter’s first snow blankets the grass. In the far corner of the room stood something that looked like a round mailbox with a doll inside. “That’s the baby window,” the woman said. “Where mothers would leave their children for us.” To the right was a stack of papers filled with scribbled writing. “Those were left in the window with the children,” she told me. “Letters, from their mothers.”
As I wandered around the room, I noticed a stack of registers in a bookcase and pulled out one from the time my grandmother was at the orphange.
I opened the book and flipped to C, hoping to find her there, Belén Calma De la Rosa. But she wasn’t. It was naïve to think I could find any remnants of my grandmother here; history had been turned to ashes by Japanese flames long ago. But as I ran my finger across the pages of the index, the faded parchment smooth beneath my skin, I realized the entries were organized by first name.
I turned to B … Bienvenida Tanjuakio, 1925, 13 years old … Baldomera Alcantara, 1926, 11 years old … Belén Calma, 1927, 4 years old …
I was shocked. All my life I thought my grandmother was orphaned at the age of 8. This was the first anyone in my family had heard of her being in the orphanage before then. I touched her name. I stared at it and thought about the last time she was here. It had been over 72 years; so much of her city, her country, her home, was lost. But her name was not.
I thought about her sacrifice, her strength, and the courage she had to leave everything she knew behind for a foreign country and a man she had just met. I thought about why I had come here; about the longing children and grandchildren of immigrants feel for the place they come from. I thought about immigration, about assimilation, and how they require sacrificing certain aspects of heritage in order to embrace the customs of a new and different home.
But it is not easy to forget roots that have been planted in faraway places. They linger, in memories, traditions, and in stories that mold an equivocal identity, a curiosity, and a desire to know more about who you are.
That night I rode back from El Hospicio de San Jose to my cousins’ house on a bus the locals call a jeepney. I looked out the open window, the thick Manila heat whipping against my face, and the eyes my grandmother gave me watched the little moon touch the sea that once guided her east, to a new home.
Isabel Guarco is a junior at Yale.B:
【女】【帝】【的】【气】【息】【如】【同】【一】【把】【利】【剑】【将】【八】【臂】【族】【等】【人】【庞】【大】【凝】【实】【如】【实】【质】，【如】【同】【山】【峰】【压】【顶】【一】【般】【的】【气】【息】【刺】【破】，【让】【其】【他】【人】【压】【力】【大】【减】。 【同】【时】【也】【让】【八】【臂】【族】【众】【人】【大】【为】【惊】【讶】。 “【人】【类】【还】【有】【这】【样】【的】【高】【手】？”【八】【臂】【族】【使】【节】【团】【诸】【人】【脸】【色】【微】【变】，【目】【光】【带】【着】【阴】【霾】。 【人】【类】【有】【这】【样】【的】【高】【手】，【那】【很】【多】【手】【段】【就】【不】【好】【用】【出】【来】【了】。 【可】【怎】【么】【可】【能】？ 【人】【类】【和】【八】【臂】
【晚】【上】【七】【点】【整】，【正】【在】【喝】【酒】【的】【城】【卫】【军】【统】【帅】【杨】【凤】【宓】，【几】【乎】【是】【同】【时】【得】【到】【了】【两】【个】【消】【息】： 【首】【先】【是】【城】【主】【已】【经】【同】【意】【所】【罗】【门】【王】【要】【的】【一】【百】【枚】【灵】【石】【的】【请】【求】，【但】【是】【这】【灵】【石】【却】【没】【同】【时】【带】【过】【来】，【并】【言】【明】【让】【杨】【凤】【宓】【自】【行】【筹】【措】。【杨】【凤】【宓】【刚】【准】【备】【骂】【娘】，【紧】【接】【着】【她】【的】【亲】【兵】【就】【带】【来】【了】【第】【二】【个】【消】【息】：【唐】【丁】【越】【狱】。 “【那】【你】【还】【在】【这】【站】【着】【干】【嘛】？【赶】【紧】【去】【加】【固】，【不】【行】【再】
【李】【铁】【与】【张】【春】【光】、【李】【彦】【霖】【出】【发】【去】【往】【镇】【守】【太】【监】【余】【苍】【山】【那】【儿】。 【李】【铁】【算】【是】【当】【了】【一】【回】【和】【事】【佬】。 【反】【正】【不】【知】【道】【李】【彦】【霖】【和】【余】【苍】【山】【两】【个】【人】【最】【后】【会】【不】【会】【真】【的】【和】【解】。 【但】【表】【面】【上】【看】【起】【来】【倒】【是】【和】【和】【气】【气】【的】，【都】【说】【不】【计】【前】【嫌】，【一】【定】【要】【通】【力】【合】【作】，【为】【振】【兴】【江】【南】【省】【而】【努】【力】…… 【李】【铁】【也】【只】【能】【做】【到】【这】【儿】【了】。 【不】【然】【还】【能】【怎】【么】【着】？ 【李】【彦】【霖】【肯】正版通天报彩图100“【说】【的】【对】！【怕】【个】【锤】【子】【啊】！【左】【边】【那】【两】【只】【武】【级】【的】【恶】【灵】【交】【给】【你】【了】，【右】【边】【这】【四】【只】【交】【给】【我】，【速】【战】【速】【决】，【打】【爆】【它】【们】！” 【阚】【宁】【说】【完】【双】【臂】【一】【震】，【金】【灿】【灿】【的】【手】【套】【将】【的】【他】【手】【掌】【全】【部】【的】【覆】【盖】。 【二】【人】【很】【有】【默】【契】【的】【从】【隐】【蔽】【的】【岩】【石】【后】【面】【冲】【了】【出】【来】，【一】【左】【一】【右】【的】【向】【着】【各】【自】【的】【目】【标】【冲】【去】，【武】【级】【恶】【灵】【现】【在】【以】【阚】【宁】【和】【极】【光】【的】【实】【力】【对】【付】【起】【来】【是】【丝】【毫】【不】【费】【力】【气】
“【是】【毛】【莹】【莹】！” 【毛】【莹】【莹】？ 【龙】【青】【阳】【住】【了】【手】，【摘】【下】【拳】【击】【手】【套】【扔】【在】【一】【边】：“【你】【会】【跟】【她】【约】？” 【李】【冬】【去】【饮】【水】【机】【接】【了】【两】【杯】【水】，【递】【给】【龙】【青】【阳】【一】【杯】：“【她】【住】【院】【期】【间】，【你】【不】【是】【给】【她】【找】【了】【护】【工】？【她】【要】【谢】【谢】【你】，【知】【道】【请】【不】【动】，【就】【让】【我】【代】【劳】【了】！” “【草】！【这】【也】【可】【以】【代】【劳】！”【龙】【青】【阳】【喝】【了】【口】【水】。 “【她】【请】【你】，【你】【去】？”【李】【冬】【撇】【嘴】，
【轰】【隆】【一】【声】，【整】【个】【斯】【台】【普】【斯】【中】【心】【都】【在】【摇】【晃】。 “【好】【厉】【害】【的】【炸】【药】！”【克】【雷】【西】【心】【中】【暗】【惊】。 【乔】【治】·【邓】【迪】【对】【着】【镜】【头】【道】：“【现】【在】，【你】【的】【人】【没】【了】。” 【斯】【台】【普】【斯】【中】【心】【下】【方】，【加】【里】【森】【所】【在】【的】【地】【下】【廊】【道】【整】【个】【塌】【陷】【下】【来】，【里】【面】【不】【可】【能】【还】【有】【人】【能】【够】【存】【活】。 【作】【战】【会】【议】【室】【安】【静】【了】【下】【来】，【五】【星】【上】【将】【一】【屁】（【和】【谐】）【股】【坐】【回】【了】【椅】【子】【上】，【面】【色】【苍】【白】
【苍】【姝】【笑】：“【若】【是】【早】【就】【有】【所】【察】【觉】，【那】【么】【就】【更】【没】【有】【什】【么】【可】【以】【担】【心】【的】【了】，【文】【官】【先】【行】，【武】【官】【必】【定】【在】【后】。【大】【人】【此】【番】【只】【是】【为】【了】【寻】【找】【线】【索】？” 【陆】【终】【闭】【上】【双】【眼】，“【你】【很】【厉】【害】。” 【得】【到】【他】【的】【夸】【奖】【可】【不】【容】【易】。 【苍】【姝】【笑】【笑】，【却】【听】【他】【道】：“【可】【惜】，【你】【的】【话】【太】【过】【理】【想】。” 【苍】【姝】【一】【愣】，【陆】【终】【道】：“【一】【半】【一】【半】【罢】，【可】【惜】，【我】【们】【并】【没】【有】【其】【余】