I spent the past two years teaching post-graduate oral English at Daqing Petroleum Institute above: DQPI in summer and winter) in northeastern China. I loved teaching masters degree and doctoral candidates and I loved life as part of Global's team there, but a big part of me wanted to move on to something more academic. Honestly, I was getting a little bored of oral English.
So, in June of last year, my parents and sisters came to visit (above: us in front of an Olympic countdown in Tian'anmen Square), and in our travels we moved me here to "The Duj." You might think "The Duj" is kind of a fruity name, but the vast majority of people who read this blog will have serious trouble with "Dujiangyan"! Dujiangyan is a "top tourism city" (below: that's what it says under the big gold horse) in Sichuan Province, southwestern China. Americans are more familiar with "Szechuan" which probably lets you know that the food (and the weather) here is spicy!!
The Duj is night-and-day different from the flat oil fields where I spent the last two years. Daqing is dry, flat, super-windy, and cold, but it almost always has gorgeous, clear blue skies. The Duj, on the other hand, has a super-wet climate and is often overcast, which makes for a gorgeously lush atmosphere . . . and, of course, lots of creepy-crawlies including sometimes-jurassic-sized spiders! Fun, fun!
For you history- and knowlege-buffs, Dujiangyan is actually the name of an irrigation system that is more than 2000 years old! It was just one of the major projects initiated during the rule of Qin Shi Huang (below: see us with his statue), the first emperor of China who also connected sections of the Great Wall and was buried in Xi'an with all the terracotta warriors (above: us in Xi'an).