Two stories I forgot to include from Christmas. There is a mentally crazy boy who used to be a student at my school and still hangs around the mission grounds often. He was actually a student when Mary was here and worked with her on a music project, so he went crazy only recently everyone around the school and mission still knows him very well. On the evening of Christmas Eve, as we were getting prepared to head to midnight mass he wandered onto the mission and, seeing all the activity around my house (my mom, brother, Matt, Erin, Ann, and I were all staying in the building where I live) was hanging around on the front porch. I sent Matt to ask the sisters to help us get him to leave but they kind of laughed it off. Part of the problem with the whole situation was that he responds best to Irmã Albertina, the director of my school, thus his former director, but she had left already to attend mass in the bush. So I went to talk to them and tell them that I didn’t feel comfortable leaving him there, but they all laughed off the situation, saying that he’s harmless and would only try to enter the house if the doors were left open. (At times he believes he lives here and once, when someone was cleaning and had left the door open, he had wandered in and was found sleeping in one of the beds.) I kept saying, I understand that he is probably harmless and I am probably overreacting, but I am still not leaving for church for three hours knowing he is sitting on my front porch (and in the back of my mind this whole time was the story of a fellow PCV who was robbed last year, his door kicked in and house ransacked, while he sat in Midnight Mass about 100 meters away). I talked to every single sister with the same outcome, they were getting annoyed because they thought I was overreacting and I was frustrated because nobody would actually do anything to help me. So I played my final card: “okay” I said to the head sister “like I said, I don’t feel comfortable leaving my house alone for three hours knowing he is hanging around it, so my mom isn’t going to be able to go to Midnight Mass with us, she’ll stay here at home.” It worked like a charm and they had him outside with the gates shut behind him within minutes. He actually followed us to church because during the time when I was throwing a fit, he fell in love with Erin and tried to kiss her. Matt reprimanded him for this so he didn’t try it again, but the 5 of us also actively created a physical barrier around Erin for the rest of the time he was around. He sat behind us in church but when it became clear that we were in it for the long haul he wandered off.
At the end of mass something fell from the ceiling and landed on the floor in front of the altar. It was the biggest cockroach I have ever seen in my life, like 5 inches long and 2 inches tall (for those of you who watch “How I Met Your Mother,” it was a Cockamouse!). Slightly bewildered from the fall, it wandered aimlessly around the front of the church for a little bit and you could feel everyone in the congregation tensing up, anticipating that it would head toward them. I personally was calculating how offended other churchgoers would be if I jumped up on the bench with my shoes on. But to everyone’s great relief it eventually scurried into the nativity set and stayed there until the end of mass.