• About Julie

    NJ native without the accent or the big hair. Currently residing in Beijing. Teaching English. Absorbing all things China. Exploring SE Asia.

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    Feel free to drop me a message: juliekhull at gmail

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Summer update

The school term ended on June 19 and I left on a 24-hour flight back to the States.  I spent the first two weeks in New Jersey relaxing at home, then my travels began.  The next two weeks included trips to Washington, D.C., Cincinnati and Dayton, OH, vacation with my family in the Adirondack mountains of New York state, and a day in NYC at the Guggenheim museum and Central Park.  The time went by very quickly and before I knew it I was packing to return to Beijing!  It was good to see my family and I also got to see Jon Moen, Lindsay (DiDonato) VanSchepen, Charlie and Rebecca Curcio, the McDowell’s, Shauna Christensen, the Vruggink’s, Jess Scheidt, Mark Erikson, Loren Kuhn, and Kevin Gehret.  I also got to see half of the Rumbaugh’s during my layover in Dubai.  I had a long layover in Dubai and Luke rescued me from the airport and was a great tour guide, staying up extra late to show me the city.  I was sad that I missed out on seeing Cara, also, but she was spending time with her family in the States.  If Emirates continues to offer amazingly cheap flights maybe there will be a next time!

I was awake for 48 hours at that point so my memories are a bit hazy, but we saw the Burj Dubai (the tallest building in the world) and the Burj Al Arab (the world’s 2nd tallest and most expensive hotel, which looks like the sail of a boat).  (Incidentally the world’s tallest hotel is unfinished in North Korea, is really ugly, and has been dubbed “The Worst Building in the World.”)  We ate some wonderful Lebanese food in the Dubai Mall, next to the Burj Dubai skyscraper, which seems to stretch forever toward the heavens.  I can’t describe the Dubai Fountain well enough to do it justice, but it was simply amazing.  The fountains separate the Burj Dubai from the Dubai Mall and boast a show every twenty minutes.  They shoot water up to 5o meters feet in the air, coordinated to fifty different-colored lights and five different songs.  I want to post a YouTube clip of its spectacularness, but the Great Firewall of China is thwarting my efforts so I’ll leave it up to you to check it out.  You won’t be disappointed!

I’ve been back in Beijing since July 31, and I definitely had culture shock traveling from the USA to the UAE and then finally arriving in the PRC.  I was struck hard by the opulence and wealth of Dubai when I returned to the RDFZ campus, which has undergone major construction and is now in the process of being put back together by migrant workers in time for the first day of school in two weeks.  The many cultural differences were glaringly obvious for about the first one or two days: the sheer number of people, class disparities, mannerisms, the smog, the dirt.  (One of my greatest pet peeves is that Chinese people will always yield to the left when they’re walking or on their bikes, even though the country drives on the right side of the road.  This has created many near-collisions because my natural reflex and that of most Americans is to yield to the right.  Escalators are just as likely to be on the left as on the right, so I think the whole country is confused about this.  My only guess as to why is because most people here don’t drive.)  Life has quickly returned to normal and I’ve been able to fit back into life here as well as I always have and as much as blonde curly hair will allow. 🙂

You may be wondering why I’m in Beijing five weeks before the start of school.  My desire to attain some mastery of Chinese has grown from zero in 2007 to the desire to be as close to proficient as possible by the end of this year.  Looking back I laugh at myself because I really thought I could survive this country without learning its language (ha).  I’m enrolled fulltime in language school for about a month with Anna Hayes and Andrew Staab and it has drastically improved my pronunciation and skills.  We’re proud to be almost through the first book!

We’re looking forward to the new teachers arriving at the end of next week and I’m excited to get my first real visitor.  My aunt will be spending twelve days visiting me and the city in early September.  My roommate from my sophomore year at Cedarville may also come visit over Thanksgiving.  Maybe living in a foreign country for three years is the key to getting visitors!


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