• 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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Wanted: eggs & suitcases

Easter is over, but we’re already looking forward to next spring!  We really could use some more plastic Easter eggs for next Easter.  If you see any, would you consider buying them and donating them to us?  Let me know and I’ll give you the drop-off places or mailing addresses in the States.

My Mom and my sister (and Amanda R.) are coming to visit me!  This is good on two counts: 1) They’ll get to see where I’ve been living for the past three years, and 2) They’re going to bring home a lot of my stuff!  Do you have any large suitcases they could borrow for their trip?

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Earthquake in Qinghai

Many people have checked in to see if I’m okay after seeing China’s latest earthquake in the news.  Thanks for your thoughts and messages – all of us far away in Beijing are safe and didn’t feel a thing (we’re 1190 miles away).

Qinghai (pronounced ching-hi) is a remote area in China’s Tibetan region and the earthquake occurred along one of eastern Tibet’s most active fault lines.  Unfortunately rescue efforts are slow because Qinghai Province is so isolated and there isn’t very much excavation machinery.  From what I’ve read, people have been pulling the rubble apart with their bare hands to look for survivors. Continue reading

Pompton Plains/Rt 23 flood

view from Rt 23 of the Pompton Plains/Wayne A&P

bye bye Beemer.

Continue reading

Fall update: Halloween edition

Harvest Parties. As I mentioned before, the past two weeks have been quite busy.  I’ve been going straight from teaching and grading to some kind of evening commitment, which leads to doing funny things, and now it’s nice to have a break.  My classes are canceled this coming week during midterm examinations, so I’ll be catching up on my email in-box and tackling the giant stack of papers that are waiting to be graded.  The harvest parties were great, with a big turnout.  I was so excited to see how many of my international students came out and the kids had fun trying on my big sombrero.  iPhoto and Facebook have been thwarting my efforts to get some pictures online, but I’ll post a few as soon as I can, because I know you’re all sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to see the reveal of my costume this year.

On a somber note, a 9th grade girl named Lucy tried to commit suicide last week at the branch school where Anna teaches.  Thankfully, she is in stable physical condition.  Having a harvest party at her school was a way to be a blessing to the students there in the midst of a very sad situation, and to hopefully bring them some joy and a little fun.  Continue to be in thought for Lucy, her family, for her classmates, and for us as we spend time with students who are asking questions.

Students. I continue to study with several students regularly, and they have really been asking hard questions and learning a lot.  I’ve also been spending a lot of time with some of the students in one of my classes.  The group has been coming early to class and staying late, and visiting my office hours regularly.  We’ve decided to have Friday dinners each week, and I’m never quite prepared for the wide variety of questions and conversation topics that arise during those times!

Saturday. Anna and I treated ourselves to Grandma’s Kitchen for lunch today.  We finished the afternoon with a little sidewalk book shopping in Wudaokou.  I’ve been getting to the end of the unread books on my bookshelf, and I was getting a little worried that I’d only have Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship left, which scares me a little.  As long as I’ve had something else, I’ve been able to put off reading it for about a year now.  I was able to pick up nine books for only 145 kuai, so combined with the new titles Anna bought I’ll be able to procrastinate Discipleship for a little while longer.  Here’s what I found:

  • The World Is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman
  • My Life (Volumes 1 & 2), Bill Clinton
  • The Essential Drucker, Peter F. Drucker (it’s probably a travesty that I have a BA in management and I somehow never read any Drucker)
  • How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie
  • Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman (reading something relevant to my major is to make me feel less guilty for never having read any Drucker)
  • Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder
  • Guns, Germs, And Steel, Jared Diamond
  • A Brief History Of Time, Stephen Hawking (but this wasn’t for me!)

International & dormitory students.  Today actually being Halloween, we donned our costumes for one last time this week and did some reverse trick-or-treating tonight to the students who are still on campus this weekend, handing out candy and midterm well wishes.  Chinese people don’t celebrate Halloween and many of their faces were priceless as they watched a bunch of crazily-dressed foreigners running around throwing out free candy.  The best was when we were in the girls’ dormitory and we went into a room where all the girls were in bed and they were all saying, “wo yao tang!  wo yao tang!”  Translation: “we want candy!  we want candy!”

It’s cold. We had beautiful weather for the parties earlier this week.  In years past my fingers and toes have been numb by the time the cleanup was finished, but I was actually warm this week.  However, it has since turned cold and snow is predicted for tomorrow, which is going to have a high of 34.  I’m not exactly sure when “they” are going to turn our heat on, but it should be soon.  Winter is here!  And with cold weather and winter comes Christmas, which brings Christmas music… but alas, my roommate has placed an official ban on all things Christmas until Thanksgiving has been celebrated.

Chinese New Year. January 7 should be my last day of class, and I’ll have a break until February 23.  I’ve decided to travel back to the States for this vacation time and I am so excited to be bringing a student back with me!  I am so excited to see as many of you as I can during this time, and to show off my hometown to Ellen!

Many thanks to all of you who read these updates and think about them and me regularly, comment and send encouraging emails, and make me feel loved in so many ways while I’m so far away.  =)

Good news!

Anna and I have been approved to teach at Renmin University next year. Even better news is that Nate and Jess Smith have decided to stay on a fourth year and move to Ren Da! This brings the count at Ren Da next year up to five team members. What the adversary meant for harm, our father is turning into good.

Wrist repair

I didn’t write about this back in March when it happened, but I was in a bicycle accident with a certain inanimate object that will not be mentioned (but it’s not a car). After five months, a memorable experience to a Chinese hospital (mis-diagnosis #1: dislocated wrist), a visit to the western care hospital (mis-diagnosis #2: tendonitis, take some ibuprofen and it’ll go away in three days), an MRI, an orthopedic surgeon, and a hand specialist, I have a real diagnosis! The MRI showed that I tore three ligaments in my right wrist, so I had a wrist arthroscopy done on Tuesday morning to repair some of the damage. For those who asked, here are some pictures:

The cast I got from the Chinese hospital. They wanted me to keep it on for six weeks but I took it off myself within 24 hours. Yes, that strip of gauze around my neck is what they gave me for a sling.

Taken today, two days after surgery. The splint and dressings stay on until Monday when I can swap this get-up for a removable brace.

I know some of you are still interested, so I’ll give you some more details. One ligament was torn in the middle so everytime I twisted my wrist my ulna actually went through the tear, rubbing against it and causing a good amount of pain. Pretty, right? I have pictures from the surgeon of the ligament before and after the surgery but I won’t put you through that on here. 🙂

I leave to go back to Beijing on August 20. I’m glad I have such a wonderful roommate and great team to help me with the things I won’t be able to do while I’m healing up!

News on the new teachers

The visa status of our new teachers was up in the air for a couple weeks, but there is new news! Ren Da (the university) is able to get to Beijing on time no problem due to receiving a different kind of visa for higher education. Ren Da Fu Zhong (my school) had work permits for the new teachers (actually the hardest thing to get), but we were waiting on letters of invitation from the Foreign Experts Bureau which are needed for the visas. We found out today that the letters came through, so it’ll take four days to expedite the visa application process and the new teachers at our school will be able to come on August 22nd as scheduled! Unfortunately Shi Yi Xue Xiao (the middle school) probably won’t be able to come until October. It’s China though, so anything could change!