Thursday, June 11, 2015

The nun, the immigrant (me), and the Nova

It's 1983. I had just moved to the United States six months earlier. When I landed at LAX, I knew two words in English-- rollercoaster and Reagan. After six months in an English as a Second Language program, I was proficient enough to move to a regular elementary school. I was by no means fluent.
This being God's Country (read: 1980s Orange County), the public schools allowed all the children, once a week during school, to go off campus for an hour for Bible study. Since most of the kids were Protestants, there was a trailer-turned-chapel parked just two feet away from campus. There were far fewer Catholics, so a nice old nun in a Chevy Nova (just like the one taken by Ed's camera above) picked the Catholic children up and drove a block away to one of the children's homes to learn about Jesus.

So here is the story. When I started going to this mainstream school, the kids approached me, like a mob, and demanded to know if I was a Christian. I had no idea what a Christian was but with the mob applying peer pressure on me, I had to say yes. Then they asked if I was a Protestant or Catholic. I definitely didn't know what those words meant, so of course I said Catholic. And that's how I ended up riding in a Nova with a nun every Wednesday afternoon, from grades four through six.



Ed Kim said...

That is a HILARIOUS story!! But I don't ever remember being allowed to leave school for Bible study, despite also going to elementary school in 1980s OC. Was this in Irvine?

Maxichamp said...

@Ed Kim: Unincorporated Orange County. On the plus side, I can say: Our father, who art in Heaven,...