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The Week I Lived with Nuns

The Week I Lived with Nuns


My closest friends know that I love to start off a good story with the phrase, “What had happened was.” This story will be no different.

You’re probably wondering what led me to live with nuns for a week.

What had happened was…

I graduated from Howard University in Washington, DC  (The Real HU) this May with a B.A. in Communications. Now, if you are a child of immigrants like myself and bold enough to choose a career path outside the allotted few deemed worthy by your family and family friends then one question you are sure to receive is, “So, what are you going to do with that?” Of course as a Communications student I was asked that question often.

I was always confident (maybe overly so given the job market) that I would graduate with some job offer or opportunity. To quote Michelle Obama, “There is no magic to achivement. It’s really about hard work, choices, and persistence.” All I had to do was follow Michelle’s formula and then I would be golden, right? Right!

I’ve been an East Coast girl my whole life. I’ve never been to anywhere in the United States outside the North, Mid-Atlantic and the South. I am happy to announce that I was offered a post-grad position with a fantastic company. But, here’s the catch: This East Coast girl has to move to the Midwest. Chicago to be exact.

The idea of packing my things and moving half-way across the country is both scary and exhilarating. If life begins outside your comfort zone then I guess I’ll really be living now.

One question I get when I tell people that I am moving to Chicago is, “Do you have family there?” No, I do not have any family or kin in Chicago. In fact, the only person my family knows in Chicago happens to be a nun. Which leads me to my story.

The week after graduation I boarded a flight to Chicago in order to go apartment hunting. As a HGTV fanatic the idea of living out some of my favorite shows like “For Rent” and “My First Place” was super exciting. And, don’t even get me started on interior decorating! But I digress…

So, there I was on a flight to Chicago to stay with our family friend who I will refer to as “The Nun.” Once I got off the plane I took a cab to The Nun’s house in the South Side of Chicago. The cab dropped me off in front of an unmarked building. As soon as I stepped out of the cab the driver sped off so fast I’m surprised I was even able to close the door. Did he know something that I didn’t? I felt like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in reverse. At first, I thought I was in the wrong neighborhood, but I looked across the street and saw a church so I knew I was in the right area.

Turns out, The Nun lives with eight other nuns (or, Sisters) in a building (not a convent, or house) across the street from their church home. That week I lived with Nine Nigerian Nuns. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.

The Nun and the other Sisters were very nice to me during that week. They set me up with my own bedroom and bathroom and welcomed me to all the food in the kitchen. Every day The Nun cooked me more food than I could ever desire to eat. One Sister enjoyed making apple cider from scratch, so I learned how to make some too. Apple Cider is actually easy to make.

My room for the week.

My room for the week.

The Sisters were excited to have some youth in the house. I was easily the youngest person in the house by at least twenty years. They were quick to ask me to help them set up their DVD and TV Antenna. Yes, a full-on rabbit eared antenna, the epitome of technology.

Every morning The Nun woke me up at the crack of dawn to attend Morning Mass. Mass started at 7:30am. Now, let me tell you Nigerian nuns are not your usual nuns. They all go to school and/or work, plus they are quite stylish when they want to be. I attended my first Mass with one of the other Sisters. We hopped in her new Toyota Corolla, put on our sunglasses, and drove off to Mass like Real G’s.

Of course I was the youngest person at Mass each day. Monday’s sermon was especially memorable. It was all about living with purpose.

The Priest suggested everyone ask themselves the following three questions everyday:

  1. What are you doing?
  2. Why are you doing it?
  3. For whom are you doing it for?

On my last night with The Nun she asked me to do her hair. Never in my life would I have imagined a nun asking me to do her hair, but it happened. Nuns keep their hair covered, so I did not know what would be under her veil once she removed it.

The Nun removed her veil and revealed a head full of the softest hair I ever felt in my whole entire life. I am not exaggerating when I say that The Nun had hair softer than the rarest chinchilla, as if God himself anointed each follicle with Moroccan argan oil before resting on the seventh day. In case you’re wondering The Nun’s hair is all natural, no chemicals at all. Too bad no one will ever get to see the fantastic twists I gave her.

When I told my mom about this she replied, “Maybe when you become a nun your hair will be that soft.” If only mom, if only.

Every sister has her own room. This was on one of the Sisters’ door.

Every Sister has her own room. This was on one of the Sisters’ door.

Before I left The Nun sat me down and gave me three pieces of advice which she referred to as, “The Keys of Success.”

The Keys of Success:

  1. Rely on Yourself – Do not wait for a handout. Learn as much as you can and make things happen for yourself.
  2. Pray – If you pray about everything you won’t worry about anything.
  3. Be Generous – Always find ways to help others. For example, it is tradition for Nigerian children to give their first paycheck or at least a portion of it to their family. It’s like saying, “Thank you for dealing with my issues.”

She also insisted on baking three loaves of bread and a dozen biscuits for me to take home along with three apples and two bananas. Needless to say, my carry-on bag became heavier as if I wasn’t already a card-holding member of “Overpackers Not-so Anonymous.”

The purpose of me staying with The Nuns was to go apartment hunting. I bet you’re probably interested in how that went for me. You’ll have to wait until my next post for that story.






All photos courtesy of my smartphone.


It always feels as if time slows down during the last month of school. When you realize that it’s April and you only have a few more weeks left you wonder where all the time went, but as you are beginning to complete papers, present projects and study for exams time seems to move oddly slower than it did before.


I am so elated to be finished with this school year-my junior year in college. However, I can’t help but feel as if this year was supposed to be MY year. I graduated from high school in 2008 which by conventional standards would mean that I should be a graduating senior right now. Well, I chalk my remaining year to two things- (1) I enrolled into Northeastern University’s  5-year college program right after high school, (2) I transferred colleges during the second semester of my sophomore year and took a semester off. So, when you really think about it this year was not meant to be my year after all. However, when I see my high school friends preparing for their next step I can’t help but  want to take that next step right along with them. Even though we all started on the same foot we are not completing the same race.

I think that this extra year was neccessary. My goals have changed so drastically over this last year as signs that I have ignored made themselves more obvious to me and opportunities for growth have opened up for me. Now, if I were to go back in time would I do it all again? Would I have enrolled into Northeastern? Took a semester off from college? Applied to Howard University? I can’t say because who I am now is different than who I was then.

Right now, I get to observe my peers as they enter the “real world.” Scratching and clawing their way into the job market and figuring out what to do next. I’ve heard a fair share of cautionary tales of life in the “real world.” I’ve heard some tales so frightening that they have made me question myself and my goals. However, I remind myself that even though we all started on the same foot we are not completing the same race. I cannot live in fear of what could happen based on the experieces of others. It is up to me to create my own experiences to go by.

Truth be told, I never liked when people told me about the “real world.” That whole phrase is laughable. Am I not living in the “real world” now? Are the people I interact with and places I go figments of my imagination? No, they are not. Whether you are in college or not we are all living in the “real world.” The way I see it college and work are not that different. College students and young professionals are always trying to figure out how to make it by financially. We all have jobs to go to everyday except in college our job comes with super overtime in the form of homework, studying, etc. We are all evaluated and judged by our superiors and peers. We all worry about the future and what will come next. No one wants to be in school forever or work the same job forever, but there isn’t a point in our lives when we are not living in the “real world.”

Congrats to everyone who graduates this year-look for me in my cap and gown next year. While in my opinion you have already lived in the real world I do congratulate you as you enter a Different World than where you come from.”





You know you have finally made it when people stop asking you what you want to be when you grow up. Since I am asked that question on a regular basis it is very safe to say that I haven’t made it…yet.

That question is certainly more than a handful. No really, it’s ten words. First and foremost, I want to be happy. However, that is never the answer people are looking for when they ask that question. They want to know what I plan to do career-wise because as unfortunate as it is we tend to define people solely by their careers.


How many times have you been to an event and asked someone what they did in order to break the ice? No one starts off with, “what do you like to do” it’s always “what do you do”  because how you make a living is assumed to be more important than how you like to live.

I suppose you want to know what it is I want to be when I grow up. It’s reason you decided to check out my personal website. A website I created in order to in someway showcase who I am. Admittedly, you won’t be able to fully grasp who I am by clicking a few buttons and reading some paragraphs, nevertheless I want to introduce myself to the World Wide Web.

I am Anuli and when I grow up I want to be happy. My professional interests are in journalism, fashion, art and law. Fashion and art have always been interests of mine while journalism and law came into my life a bit later. My goal is to combine my interests into somesort of cohesive career. I can’t say that I want to be “blank” or “blank” because I really do not like to limit myself to a few options. There are so many things I want to accomplish in my lifetime, so I’ll let you in on a few.

I want to become noted fashion journalist. I admire the work of fashion critics such as Robin Givhan and Cathy Horyn. While this is a blog I want to be known for my journalism because I believe there is a difference. That’s why I decided to add a blog component to this site. I have had many ideas for potential articles, but I would just let them go because sometimes they didn’t fit with the vision of the publication I wanted to send them to. That left me writing pieces in someone else’s voice instead of my own. This blog will feature articles on issues that I find interesting and relevant.

This leads me to my next goal. I want to advocte for creative professionals and help protect them in business and legal matters. It was through an internship with a fashion designer in high school that I was introduced to the idea of intellectual property. While I didn’t immediately seek a career in the field it  was something that I found fascintaing.  In short, I want to become an intellectual property lawyer.

The articles that I intend to post on this blog will stem from my joint interests in fashion and the law. I will also post about any progressions I make on my way to my goals.

So, what do I want to be when I grow up? As far as you know I want to become a notable fashion journalist and lawyer, but my plan for world domination future goals go way beyond those two titles. I am more than my future careers. I am Anuli and one day you will know what that really means.