Monday, February 2, 2009

What makes nunneries undesirable

Yes, we all know how comedic my life has become since I started living in a convent almost four months ago. Even comedies, however, have their conflicts and bad moments. When I first arrived, I found that living in a convent was much better than I anticipated, so I didn’t mind it so much. I wrote about life in a convent when I first arrived, but the dynamics have changed quite a bit, and I don’t like it so much anymore. Convents can really suck, depending on the type of nuns who live there.

I live with two types of nuns... my allies and the ones who dislike me.

When I first arrived, I was greeted by Sister Juliana, Sister Dorothy, and Sister Bibi. The next day I met Sister Anne, who I thought didn’t like me at first, but now I see I was wrong. She and I are pals now. Living with just the four of them was nice, because we all got along so well.

A week after I arrived, I learned that another nun lives here, too, who was too sick even to leave her bed. Her name is Sister Germaine. After a few weeks, she started getting up and walking around, and although she’s still too sick to leave the house other than hospital visits, she is no longer too sick to leave her bedroom. She comes into the kitchen from time to time and chats with me, but she still takes all her meals in her room, so I don’t see very much of her. She’s usually nice, although she does tend to lecture when I’m doing the dishes incorrectly. She’s an ally.

Another ally is Sister Regina. She showed up a few weeks before Christmas. Apparently, she had met me before, but I didn’t remember meeting her. You see, there have been so many nuns who have passed through here and there is no way I can remember them all. When Sister Regina came a week or two before Christmas, I thought she would only stay for a couple days... but she didn’t leave! She’s definitely my favorite, besides Sister Juliana. When I was going through a hard time around the holidays, she took me aside and insisted that I confide in her, so I did. Ever since then, she’s called me her “sweetie” and is always so happy to see me. However... she’s leaving later this week to go to school until her next break in May! I’m so sad!

There is another nun named Sister Faustina who lives here. I think she’s actually been here the whole time, but it took about a month for me to realize that she lives here and wasn’t just visiting frequently. I think she’s teaching somewhere nearby, but she’s hardly ever around and she never eats with us. She dislikes me. She never bothers to have a conversation with me and tends to act a little bit cold toward me, but at least she usually smiles and greets me when she enters.

I can’t say the same for Sister Constance. She came here sometime in November. Sister Constance rarely smiles at me, and usually ignores me. She eats with us occasionally, but I don’t like when she does. Even though she can speak English without a problem, she often speaks in Twi at the dinner table, which I don’t understand very well. I feel excluded from the conversation... until she starts talking about me, in front of my face, in a different language. I know when she’s talking about me, because she calls me “obruni.” Oooh, I hate that. I have a name, you know, and my name is not “white person.” Bitch. How rude is that to talk about someone in front of her face in a language she can’t understand? Fortunately, she’s usually out late, so I don’t have to see very much of her.

And then we have Sister Suzy. She arrived in December, and has started teaching math and science at the school. She never lets me forget that I live in a convent, because of all the nuns I live with, she’s the only one who acts like one. If the chapel were a party, she’d be so much fun (she’s always the last one of the nuns to leave). Her conversations are mostly about priests and nuns and church-related things... from what I overhear. She hasn’t bothered to have a real conversation with me. When she first arrived, I tried to get to know her, and I’d ask her questions about herself, but she always gave the briefest possible answers and stopped talking. I definitely got the vibe that she didn’t think I was worth her time, or even worth noticing, really. When she first arrived, she always cleared the table, going from person to person taking each of their plates to the sink and washing them... except mine. I didn’t really care, because I don’t really mind doing my own dishes anymore, and I’m glad she wasn’t sucking up to me like she was to the other nuns... but it definitely did make me feel that she thought of me as beneath her. She’s so sickeningly deferent to everyone else, like a pathetic little mouse, such a suck up to the other nuns. She acts very meek and obedient to the other nuns, and I’ve never seen her question them or defy them in any way. Whatever they tell her, her reply is always, “Yes, Sister.” Always. With me, she yells at me for stupid little things and treats me like a child, which is strange because she’s only a few years older than I. I’m not a huge fan of her.

Living with Sister Suzy was bearable... until now. Sister Bibi has been gone for good for over two months. Sister Anne started night classes again this week, so she’s never around anymore. Sister Germaine still takes her meals in her bedroom. Sister Juliana will be gone for the entire month. Once Sister Regina leaves, my only remaining ally will be Sister Dorothy. She’s old, and sometimes, I feel like she’d rather talk to the TV than to me. Besides her, the remaining housemates dislike me. Get me out of here! :(

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