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Zhou Lin's Day in the Park
June 17, 2006
Brecken Swartz
All is going really well here in Boston. Over the weekend, we had visits from three of the donors who have helped to sponsor Zhou Lin's expenses -- Terence Leong, a consultant from New York, and Seth Passell and Cai Chunying, both friends of mine from the University of Maryland. Our videographer from VOA spent time with all of them getting interviews for the documentary he is producing about Zhou Lin's story. He also managed to get a nice long 40-minute interview with Zhou Lin herself! She has become quite comfortable in front of the camera.

On Friday, we decided to go to Chinatown for lunch, and since the wheelchair wouldn't fit in the car, we had to take turns carrying Zhou Lin on our backs (which is the way she's been getting around for the past three years). We walked a long way around Chinatown, hoping that we could find some familiar Sichuan food for them to eat. No luck, though -- Boston's Chinatown is very Cantonese, and so they turned up their noses at every restaurant we found because they had mainly seafood on the menu. When all of our backs had given out from carrying Zhou Lin, we finally settled on a Fujianese place that was willing to make us some pork ball soup. After that, we went to a Chinatown grocery store and let Zhou Lin's mom and Xu Lan stock up our kitchen with familiar Chinese foods. I've encouraged them to take over the kitchen completely, which seems to be working well now.

Since we had some days off over the weekend, we spent Sunday visiting Boston Public Garden to soak up some sunshine after several days of rain. Zhou Lin says that she had never seen such a beautiful garden in her life. We blew bubbles by the lake, watched the ducks, and sat on the lawn to read books. Once we put Zhou Lin down on the grass, she said that she wanted to take pictures there -- by herself, with her mom, and with all her new friends, so you can see the beautiful results attached to this message.

There was a wedding party in the garden Sunday, and Zhou Lin was fascinated watching them take photos. As we walked by them, the bride and groom made eye contact with Zhou Lin and their photographer asked if she would like a picture with them. Of course we said yes, and the photographer took my card and promised to send us a nice printed portrait. So thoughtful!

We took Zhou Lin over to see the duck statues that commemorate the famous book, "Make Way for Ducklings," written about ducks in the Boston Public Garden. She wanted to sit on the mother duck's back, and waited patiently for the small children who were climbing on her to finish before she moved over. Her mother was in such a good mood that day, seeing her daughter finally have some fun after the years of pain and hard work they have endured together.

The highlight of the day in the park came as we were standing on the bridge over lake, taking pictures and enjoying the view. A nice-looking young man said "hello" to Zhou Lin and introduced himself as Jimmy, a student from Georgia who is here in Boston for the summer to study tennis at a camp at Harvard. They took a photo together (attached), and we just received a nice email from Jimmy, below. Whenever we say the name "Jimmy," Zhou Lin just giggles and giggles and giggles.

So, as you can tell, Zhou Lin is charming everyone she meets and making a tremendous impact on us all. We are having appointments with various doctors this week, the results of which I'll write about in the next email.

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