Stranger 47, Day 47 - Meet Robbin

Stranger 47, Day 47 – Meet Robbin, the “Discoverer”

Was still in Boston when I decided to meet my Stranger for the day, and I did so waiting in line for the best lobster rolls in the city – Neptune Oyster Bar in the Northend. This was based off the recommendation from a local Bostonian who I had a meeting with this morning, and he was right!

I got to the spot 15 minutes early, and there was already a line to get in (hadn’t opened yet). I happened to meet the man in front of me who was in town from Shanghai. Perfect! I could now get some more international Strangers involved! So here we go…

Meet Robbin, 34

What are you doing here in Boston?

“Traveling… traveling for fun.”

Robbin’s in Boston for a couple nights before leaving for NYC.

Who are you?

“Who am I?” he asks me. He wonders what do I mean.

“I’m Robbin.” I go on to tell him that the purpose of this question is to see how he wants to share who he is with me. At this time, his friend who has lived in Boston for the last year comes up.

What are your passions?

“Passions…” Robbin thinks.

“Discover. Visit the universities, schools, hospitals because I work in the medical industry. Meet more people who are intelligent, smart, have vision…”

What fascinates you about the medical field?

“Because most of my family to my grandma and my mom… they were doctors. So I’ve been familiar with medicine since I was young. I used to spend a lot of time in the hospital when I was in the general school. That’s why I’m interested.”

“Secondly, the Chinese medical history is not that well. Few changes. So I’m working multinational exchange. Making exchanges of the education programs. I think it’s helpful, and good for the industry.”

What are the schools you’re visiting here?

“M.I.T. and Harvard.” At least, those were the ones here. Robbin’s also visiting university hospitals in southern California like University of Southern California. I suggest he visit Emory University in Atlanta, and stop by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

How many times have you been to the U.S.?

“Four trips. Four long trips.” He’s going to be here in the States for 10 days.

“I just came from Canada. I started driving from Chicago, and went to Canada – Toronto and Ottawa and Montreal. Then, here. Today, I’ll go to New York.” He also describes going to visit Niagara Falls.

What are your favorite cities?

“My favorite cities are on the East side. Boston! I think Washington, D.C. as well, but not New York.” He laughs. He’s got enough “busy” in Shanghai, and doesn’t need another one in NYC even though he’s going today.

“Actually, West side is pretty good for traveling and flights.” Robbin is referring to California, specifically. “The people there… their kindness. They’re not in a hurry. So, it’s much better than the East.”

He admits, “It’s a different way. In the age of minds, I think maybe the East is better… for business, for education programs.”

What do you think is something we should learn in America from China?

“Something to learn?” he confirms with me.

“It’s difficult. We’re coming from a different socialism. Different culture and background… education background. So, if you want to say, ‘what’s the things you want to learn from China?’, maybe practice.”

“How to practice in a quick way, a fast way. But this is kind of tricky because everything comes true by outfits in China. So, they can move wherever they want to go. But here, is different. If you need to change, you need some power, some substantial power to change.” Robbin is sharing with me how powerful the government in China is. When they want to get things done, things get done very quickly without much bureaucracy.

So, are you going to get the lobster roll here?

“I think so. My last lunch in Boston, so why not?”

What can you do to make the world a better place? (Thanks to Jason, Stranger 46)

“What can I do to make the world a better place?”

“You know, medical… oh, it’s about making the world better!” He laughs.

“But it’s not that general to say medical because there’s a lot of tricky things in medical. If this is rising to give more drugs to patients, maybe I don’t think so. If it’s the best side of GMO is linking to cancer, yes, I agree. But you still need to do more research. So, one of my goals to make the world better.”

What would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

“Why they agree to accept your interview?”

“I think it’s something they have inspiration. This is kind of in the spirit of the city. People living here, but they can gather other cultures, personalities together. Maybe this is kind of the point of this city.”

After the handshake.

Admittedly, there was a little bit of stumbling through the language barrier. If I only studied back in China school better then maybe I could have spoken to Robbin in Chinese. I hope I did him justice by transcribing what he said as well as he meant to (or at least in the spirit of).

Robbin was a great Stranger. He was very happy to meet me, as was his friend. In fact, after our meet, Neptune opened up, and we were shuffling in. He then turned to me asked if I wanted to eat with him and his friend to which I happily accepted. We had our amazing lobster rolls + massive platter of oysters, shrimp, clams, lobster + some corn pancake and crab spread and caviar. It was quite the weekday lunch.

I enjoyed getting to know him and his friend better. What a great experience to just meet someone not from this country. Not only was he open to speaking with me, but he and his friend happily accepted me into their party for lunch. How often does that happen?? This will go down as one of my favorite traveling experiences, let alone Stranger experiences.

It’s kind of sad to think that I may never see Robbin and his friend Viona again (hope I spelled her name right!). That’s what happens. People come and go, but you realize the beauty of people everywhere. I enjoyed so much getting to know them… Strangers in a different city… from a different country. And yet, we happily ate together, shared some laughs, and went about our ways like good friends.

Meet Robin. No longer a Stranger.