I keep getting introduced as “Pastora.” I’ve never had this title before, and it makes me a tad uncomfortable:
“Seminarista,” I can handle.
“Intern” is VERY comfortable.
“Chaplain” even looks good on a nametag, especially when ten of my closest (& equally clueless) friends are also wearing it.
It encapsulates my gender, my adopted language, my future vocation, my still-forming identity…
my facebook “Work & Education” section still has me as a grad student: THAT is who I am.
Today I drove with my supervising pastor to a town three hours away. We had to take a church member to the doctor. Perhaps one super-human person could have gone, but both of us needed to because
- She doesn’t speak the language but has a sense of direction, while
- I can speak two languages but can’t navigate my way out of a paper box.
Together, we’d be a great individual.
Unfortunately, her driving ability could not overcome my navigating, so we had to stop several times for directions (in English, gracias a Dios).
We still got there on time, but even five minutes early, we walked into an incredibly hostile environment. I was already intimidated going to a doctor’s office since I avoid medical visits, personally (uh, yeah, about that yearly check-up… next year maybe? I would love to be my great-grandfather, who went to the hospital in the 1980s for the first time since WWI), and I get weirded out by other people going. But this went far past my typical discomfort at blood, guts, and all things needle-related.
We had the privilege of experiencing the system that determines who deserves workers’ comp.
Without disclosing anything on a blog, let me say this:
We did not need to drive all that distance. The company doctor could have made the same decision after a brief telephone call with the employer.
As for our church member—who is in the process of learning English—, the journey will continue.
* * *
The receptionist asked if I was an official translator from the company. I said no. She frowned.
“Then what business do you have here?”
“I am the pastor.”
The receptionist was suspicious. My supervising colleague had to wait in the lobby. I got to go face the English-speaking medical forces alone.
And when I handed back the forms at the end of the visit, I graciously crossed out the type-written word “girl” to re-write the message at the top of the page:
“Please return this form to one of the girls women at the front desk.”