This is a friendship story that surprised even me. You see, I walk about a mile to and from school every day, which I don't really mind. I'm on the swim team, and we practice before and after school, so I can't use the bus system, and besides, it's good exercise.
I was walking with my friend Jerry, also on the swim team, when he waved goodbye and headed off to his house. I began to daydream, somewhat tired from swim practice, when I noticed a small kid walking in front of me carrying some of the same high school books I had with me.
He seemed to be singing a song in a very low voice, but I couldn't understand the words. I caught up to him, and said "Hello there". I could tell he was startled, and dropped one of his books. I picked it up and as I handed it to him, he said "Thank you" in a strange way, like with a strong accent.
"Your science book is just like mine"
"Oh, yes it is" he responded.
We soon began walking together and chatting. It turns out he was in my science class, and I didn't even know it!His name was Ahmad, and his family had just moved here this school year. Ahmad was a hard name to pronounce correctly, but just about the time we reached his house, I could say it quite easily.
He invited me into his house, and it seemed like a much better choice than to head right home to start my homework. His family treated me like a special guest, and made me feel very welcome. He said hospitality is very basic to his culture, and strangers were always treated very kindly.
His mom brought out some great snacks, and offered me some tea. Ahmad's father and two sisters wanted to hear all about me and my family, and my schooling.
But their story opened up a whole new world for me!
Ahmad's whole family had to leave their lifelong home because war had broken out, and it wasn't safe there anymore. They left with only what they could carry.
His family was happy to feel safe, and quickly adapting to American culture. And they seemed pleased that Ahmad had brought a friend home to meet them.
My lesson in friendship started because I heard someone talk funny as I was walking home from school, and walked right up to greet them. I now realized that the world is so much bigger than I thought! And as my friendship with Ahmad has continued, I also realize that your friends don't have to be just like you. There is an old saying - "Variety is the Spice of Life".
This is a friendship story that had to be shared.