Years ago I worked at Correctional Services Canada. At an event it was my job to ensure the Elders (Indigenous Elders working with offenders) were taken care of. So I took them to the casino. Seems logical, because it was fun and also I had a gambling addiction at the time. I remember trying to round them all up at the end of the night. I would find one, tell them where to wait and they would go back in the casino while I looked for the other Elders. It was a good lesson that I am not the only Indigenous person with a gambling addiction (which by the way is non-existent for over three years!!)
Today I felt like that young Correctional employee, just not in a casino. After a hard day discussing the histories of womankind, the good, the bad and the ugly, I was quite tired. My roomates and I decided to go to the Superstore to grab some food rather than eat at the dining hall. We shared a taxi, which was only $8.00, a mere $2.00 each (and people say women are bad at math!!)
Roomate Sister Rosalyia and I set off with our shopping cart. We looked at some veggies, I showed her how to buy the 50% off items and put them in the freezer for another day. It was a good shopping trip. Until the dear Sister said “just give me a minute to look down this aisle”. This is where flashbacks from Elder gate came running back. I waited for awhile and she did not come back. I went to look for her, and I could not find her. I started calling her name, gentle at first but then sharply; “Rose? Rosalyia? ROSE??” Some kind Antoginish stranger asked “did you lose your child”. “Nope I replied, just my African nun”. This is a phrase I never thought I’d say.
I kept looking for her, I went through the store four times! I also noted I didn’t see Suzanne and Yokai (may not be the spelling of her name, it’s late and I am tired), and started wondering if this was some bizarre room mate hazing. I started asking strangers “have you seen an African nun?” Each one said no. Now I was starting to worry I was crazy; maybe Rosalyia didn’t exist. I finally went up to the front and asked the customer service people if they could call for my friend. They did and she came up to the front. Apparently the “aisle” she went to was Walmart, the store next to the grocery chain.
We went into the check out line and a man let us go in front of him, likely because of her nun habit. Or he wanted me. One of those two things. I had purchased a water bottle on sale and the scanner label wasn’t working so they had to run to the back. The man said “jesus christ” under his breath, which I think cancelled out his good deed towards a nun. We left the store just as Suz. and Yok. were coming in. Apparently they went to Walmart as well. We called a taxi and they saw I had purchased detergent for clothes and the amazing price so Suz and Ros. ran back in to buy some. Apparently they also got one of the water bottles like mine, but when they went to pay the cashier said “there is no scanner on the bottom. that’s okay, you can just have it” (to the nun).
Finally we get the taxi, we drop Suz. at McDonald’s to grab her supper (apparently they don’t have one in Uganda) and when we went to pay the taxi driver he said “that will be $5.00”, yet another perk of being loyal to God is cheap taxi fare! I treated everyone to a plate of bread, cheese and pickles; and this was their first pickle!! We laughed and laughed about me having to walk around asking everyone (including God) if they had seen an African Nun!
I needed this laugh and I needed this connection time with my room mates. I have been feeling very home sick. I know it sounds silly, but I really do love Josh and the kids and our routines. I have some very solid ideas of my next steps in life even after only two days. I’ll share more on that later, but today, my lesson is clear: have more nun friends. Things are cheaper and you get LOTS of LAUGHS!