i want to write this while the memory and the feelings it inspired are fresh. tonight i attended my first Mission Adelante Party for the Bhutanese refugees who have participated in the ministry and in ESL classes. we ate and drank and watched dancing and singing and speeches and celebrated with families as they moved forward in their new lives here. and relationships grew stronger, little by little through word and look and touch and shared culture.
it was the very end of the night and i was headed toward my car.
she was quiet, withdrawn, the student who would sit on the end of the row, largely excluded from the laughing banter of the other women. it took enormous effort to draw a small smile to her lips. her english was improving more than my other pupils, but it felt as though no matter how much i tried, we could not connect through all the weeks we had sat across from each other exchanging words in my language.
as i walked out of the community center tonight, she suddenly appeared and flung her arms around my waist in a sincere hug. i couldn’t believe it was happening. she’d never been comfortable around me before tonight.
‘Sarmati?! Will you be back in class in September?”
I could have skipped to the car. We are friends now. Her eyes said it, though she doesn’t yet know the english words.