Ms. Zhou focuses on mental and psychological counseling for woman in rural areas. In this update, Ms. Zhou talks about her memorable encounter with a stranger at the ChengDu railroad station. Learn more about her counseling center here!
On March 2nd, I arrived in Nanjing; on the 3rd, I had a class to teach; on the 4th, I left early in the morning to fly to ChengDu. Coming out of the ShuangLiu airport, it was raining really hard, but I still had to run to the train station to buy a ticket to NanChong. Somehow, I managed to purchase a ticket, but then discovered that were no seats remaining on the train. Slightly frustrated, I grabbed a seat nearby to cool down.
Just as I sat down, a woman and her mother came by. The woman looked about 50 years old, and her mother about 80, and the two were carrying a lot of luggage. She sat down next to me and took the initiative to chat. Right as she found out who I was, the lady desperately grasped my hand and spoke to me in tears saying, "Ms. Zhou, please help my son!"
Her son was 14 years old, and addicted to the Internet. She and her daughter have tried disciplining him, but nothing has worked. Now, he doesn't even go to school. He locks himself up in his room, and has even jumped out of the window to run away. After one such episode, he didn't come home for a couple days. The mother tried asking his teacher for help, but to no avail. She also asked her daughter to not beat her little brother, but she often gets caught up in frustration and doesn't listen.
The desperate lady went on to explain that her son used to be a very good child. He studied pretty hard, was very understanding, and would even pick up empty bottles on the street to sell and help reduce the burden at home. A couple years ago, her husband suddenly passed away, and she was forced to work in the city, with her son and his elderly grandma remaining at home. Her son had complained that he didn't feel like anyone cared for him, but the mother didn't realize the significance of his complaint until the problem become much worse.
I didn't know how exactly to comfort her. There are lots of unfortunate cases like this — parents having to labor outside the home, and their little children not receiving enough guidance and therefore becoming isolated from the older generation. They feel lonely, empty, abandoned, and look to the outside world for happiness, only to find themselves becoming addicted to the Internet.
I tore two pieces of paper from my notebook. On one, I wrote what she should do when she got back; on the other, I wrote to her daughter advising her not to ever beat her brother and to cooperate with her mother to appropriately support her brother. I also left with them my cell phone number and QQ number as well. She took out her own ID card, and I recorded her name and home address, and promised that if I had the chance, I would visit them.
When it was time to check the train tickets, she insisted that I go to compartment 6 with her so that I could sit with them. My seat was reserved for another compartment, so I initially refused. Nevertheless, she took my bags and got on the train and had me sit in her seat. She stood besides me and began introducing me to everyone that was around us, as if everyone knew who I was. I felt pretty embarrassed.
The conductor was very kind, and found us another set of seats in carriage 5. That place was very beautiful. It faced the car window, showing flowers that were blossoming just as beautifully as they do in a painting. I immediately felt peace and forgot about my fatigue.
We soon arrived at NanChong, and because of her company, I was not lonely. She carried my luggages and sent me off, assuring me repeatedly, "Come to my house! I'll cook you the best meals ever!"
Just like this, I met a stranger and began a friendship.
Original article was written by Ms. Zhou, translated by TFish staff Shishi Ma, edited by U.S. intern Kevin Mo
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