• 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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Guilin vacation pictures

Jenny and Amanda arrived in Beijing yesterday and their jet-lagged selves are zonked out on the living room floor right now.  It’s been a longer-than-usual absence, but here are finally some pictures from Guilin.

All ready to head out to the airport!

Shire Hobbit coffee

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I’m on vacation

I’ll be spending the next week or so vacationing and relaxing in Guangxi Province with a couple girlfriends.  We’re looking forward to the beautiful scenery and just getting away for a bit.  My Chinese friend Mary teased me this week because I’ve been in China for three years and have never made the pilgrimage to Guilin.  (I finally got around to visiting the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City just this year.  I know – shame on me.)  This is a trip that’s been at the top of my list to take for a while, and it’s probably one of the places in China I’m most looking forward to seeing.  Guilin’s mountains are famous, so much so that they’re on the back of the 20RMB ($2.93) note.

Something that every tourist does: I'll be taking my own picture like this in the coming days!

Southern China has experienced an especially bad drought since the fall, but it just broke in the Guilin area when the Lijiang River flooded its banks on Tuesday after several days of torrential rains.  Right now the ferries and river activities are all suspended until the water levels go down, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll be able to do some of that!  Beijing has spring, but it’s not quite as warm as Guilin should be – in the upper 60’s and 70’s – right before the rainy season starts in May/June. Continue reading

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

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!

Take a look out my window

Very little pollution in Beijing on a good day:

The likes of this hasn't been seen since the Olympics two years ago, although sometimes it's close just after it rains

But then there are the bad days, like Friday.  Visibility is about 1/4 mile and it looks like a thick cloud has descended upon the city: Continue reading