Yesterday I was waiting for my bus at the station and an older woman approached me to ask in halting English which bus she should take to get to South Common Mall. It's the same bus I take, so I told her to wait with me and I'd get her on the correct bus. The bus came, I sat down, and the woman sat down beside me.
In quite limited English she let me know she was here from Iran, in Canada six months, and just went downtown to an appointment at the hospital. She had six children, two of them still in Iran with her husband, and it was her grand-daughter's first birthday, so she went to Ikea to get a stuffed animal for her. I understood most of what she said and was proud of her bravery, coming to a country without knowing the language and tackling this new learning experience at the age of 67. She was quite a remarkable character.
Then she announced to me that she was Muslim, so I told her I was Mormon, and she beamed and said someone had given her a Book of Mormon in Farsi. She enjoys studying various religions. So we spent the rest of the bus ride yacking in pidgin English, with much pantomime, about the challenges of raising your children in your religion without a strong like-minded community to support it and comparing Muslim and Mormon dietary laws. The bus passed by our LDS church, so I pointed it out to her. And she asked that I write down for her the address and what time church started. I wrote it down on the back of one of my business cards, so she would have my contact information as well. And then she told me she would come to church and see me on Sunday.
Well! What an interesting and unexpected encounter! It would be fun to see her again and welcome her into the circle of women I know at church. As the bus was about to reach South Common Mall, she touched my arm, smiled, and said, "I friend you." As if "friend" was a verb.
And so it is.