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Lu Lingzi's Dream

On April 15, 2 home-made bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring dozens. One of those killed was 23-year old Lu Lingzi, a graduate student at Boston University. She and her friend were waiting near the finish line when the bombs exploded.

Lu Lingzi was living the dream of practically every student that every English teacher in China has had in his or her class. We know them well: the young man who wants to earn an MBA and make his millions; the young woman who wants to become a scientist and discover the cure for cancer.

Each student comes to us, the foreign teacher, to tell us their dreams. We reluctantly offer encouragement, knowing that a few will make it, but that most wont. It is hard to know how to respond when a young man from a village announces his intention to study at Harvard. We cannot fathom the drive and determination it takes took to get out of the village, nor the drive it will take to escape the Chinese educational system.

Her death hit hard in China, not simply because she was a compatriot who was killed in a foreign land, but because of the dream that her life (and now death) represented.

On April 22, Boston University held a memorial service for Lu Lingzi. Here is a section of the eulogy that her father gave: (please click the link to read it in its entirety)

An ancient Chinese saying says, Every child is actually a little Buddha that helps their parents mature and grow up. Even though we brought up Lingzi, and yet today while reflecting on her short twenty-four-year life, we as parents admire and appreciate her kindness, courage, and her yearning for a beautiful life!

Lingzi, you are simply the best!

Just shortly before we came here, your former teachers, classmates, as well as strangers on the website back at home, all spontaneously gathered in the Shenyang Central Square one evening. They lit candles, and held a ceremony in your memory. Your elementary home-room teacher wrote, May you remain as jolly as a little elf in the heavenly garden!

This post was originally published at

Image credits: Tim Carter, via Flickr and CNN

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is senior vice president of ChinaSource and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University... View Full Bio