• 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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National day of mourning

Yesterday (4/21) was a national day of mourning to remember the 2000+ people who died in the Qinghai earthquake on April 14th.  In addition to flags flown at half mast, newspapers and online sites honored the victims by going black.  Entertainment, video, and music websites stopped offering their content for 24 hours and featured black and white banners on their sites about the earthquake.  Performances and movie theaters closed their doors for the day.  I had planned to do a review period in one class yesterday and the students asked for a regular lesson instead, saying that the review activity would be a form of entertainment.

Here are some visuals of how China mourned:

the People's Daily, official CCP newspaper

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Yushu earthquake pictures

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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

Life lately

I have a confession to make.  I was wearing flip flops around the apartment and wore them right into the shower today.  I don’t know why I suddenly reverted back to my college days and their accompanying grody showers, but I looked down and there they were.

Aside from wearing my shoes into the shower, two friends and I decided to take a break from Chinese food and eating in, and treated ourselves to TGI Friday’s tonight.  My Caribbean calamari salad (minus the squid, I had it replaced with chicken instead) was yum and a nice break from the ordinary.

My friend Victoria does a great job discussing and rating the movies Continue reading

Degooglification has begun

If you hadn’t heard, Google cried foul after it was hacked and fled mainland China for Hong Kong.  When this happened on March 22, users visiting google.com were automatically directed to its Kong Kong site, google.com.hk.  From there searches worked just like anything else in the mainland – results are censored for anything deemed objectionable and some things are blocked.

Until today.

I go to google.com and am redirected to google.com.hk.  All is fine.  I search for “great wall” and all is not fine.  The connection gets reset and I receive the white screen of death.

However, things seem to work if I use the Google search bar within my browser window.  I search for “great wall” and get Continue reading

More sand

We had another sandstorm on Monday, and this one was the worst I’ve seen since moving to Beijing in 2007.  As I was leaving the main academic building after a class I watched a huge gust of wind come along, pick up a bike, and slam it to the ground four feet away.  And then I ran to my apartment building and tried to stay inside all day!  This student has the right idea with his mask:

Student in the sandstorm

It’s always nice when March is over, and the weather seriously starts warming up.  The government turns the heat on around November 15th each year (as I talked about here) and it goes off around March 15th.  Since it snowed during the week of the 15th we were all glad that the heat stayed on a little past the usual cutoff this spring!

Orange sky blankets Beijing

I really enjoyed seeing the Gobi desert in Inner Mongolia back in 2008.  Inner Mongolia is a province of China, not a part of the country of Mongolia, and it’s home to grasslands and lots of sand.  I had no idea that those kind of sand dunes existed outside northern Africa or the Middle East, let alone within a day’s bus ride from Beijing.  I got to do some fun things on that trip, like sleep in a yurt, go horseback riding and four-wheeling, and roll around the desert inside a giant inflated ball.  I steered clear of the camels but some of my friends went for a ride.

11 of us on the trip

The Chinese flag flies high over the Gobi

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