In Africa there are many Catholics and therefore, many Catholic nuns. The nuns wear head veilings and modest, solid colored dresses, similar to what we wear. You can imagine what happens. I have been called "sister" from the time we set foot in Africa. I've even had a drunk man try to argue with me that i can't be married because i'm a Catholic sister, thanks to my white veil. I've been told by a friendly Kenyan woman that she thought maybe i was a naughty nun when she saw a pregnant, white veiled "sister." Never mind if i'm with Marlin and never mind that i may be pregnant or be surrounded with children. In their minds, a white veil and solid colored dress labels me Catholic and since i'm usually either pregnant or carrying a child, i must have purity issues. I've considered wearing a large t shirt that says i'm not Catholic and sometimes i try to get friendly with Marlin when we're out and about and i get called sister, or see people watching me with puzzled looks. But Father Marlin doesn't take kindly to Catholic sisters getting all romantic in the pampers aisle so i mostly keep my hands to myself, grit my teeth, and look forward to the day when i'm not only set apart from the world but also from the Catholic nuns. But i've never been called Jewish in Africa until this week.
Marlin, Christopher, and i took a plane to Uganda this week to visit our friends Charlton and Natasha Sweazy. Of course i was called "sister" when i set foot on Ugandan soil but nevertheless, thanks to Christopher, we were took to the front of the line in the airports. Even naughty nuns are shown respect. So one evening Charltons took us out to supper at this amazing mall and in this amazing mall, there was an amazing gelato (italian ice cream) stand and of course, this called for denying ourselves in an amazing way and slurping down gelato's. I informed the pleasant lady behind the glass that i would like to sample the rum raisin gelato. She looked at me in shock and said, "there's rum in it." Clearly, she didn't think otherworldly creatures like nuns should be indulging in rum raisin gelato. At that point i informed her that I AM NOT A CATHOLIC AND I AM NOT A SISTER. The Ugandan woman standing beside me looked at me and asked, "so what are you? Jewish?" Frankly i would far rather be considered Jewish than Catholic, since Jewish women are allowed connubial relationships with their husbands. A fornicating Catholic goes against everything i stand for. But of course, i said no, i'm not Jewish. I told her that i'm a christian who loves Jesus. Her response took my by surprise. Her eyes got huge and she said quite emphatically, "NO!!" I told her that oh yes, it's true. I then turned and fumed my way back to my husband in the restaurant and promptly ordered rum raisin gelato. In spite of my Catholic attire, it was every bit as delicious as i imagined.