GIANT Thunderstorm Tonight

I hope this means the monsoon season has come early this year. According to the Xinxian weather station Liaocheng is predicted to get almost three millimeters of rain tonight! Yipee!

I can’t wait until I am back on the swampy east coast of North America.


So much for Spring… Onwards to Summer!

Apparently Spring only lasts about a month in this part of the world. It’s summertime!

The university is closed to host the “Sports Meeting” which we would simply call a glorified pep rally but they do school spirit boosting things so rarely here whenever they hold a pep rally, the school is closed for two days. Doesn’t make sense to me either. The English language staff took the opportunity to enjoy the summer weather and travel around town.

First we were off to Dongchang Fu (East Lake District) and to the Chinese Canal Culture Museum. The next day we were off to the heart of Liaocheng’s Old City. The 1,000 year old Old City is a man made or man modified square island located in the center of the East Lake connected to the mainland by causeways radiating out from the Guanyue Luo (direct translation is something like “Luminous High Mountain  Multi-Storied Building”, built as a combination fortress and Visiting Emperor’s Palace in 1347. We were then off to the Shanxi-Shaanxi Assembly Hall, a Merchant’s Guild Hall built in the early 1700’s when the city was still in its heydays.

Springtime is here, but not for long…

The locals tell me to enjoy the Spring while it lasts because it won’t be around for long. The temperature is already climbing steadily towards the 30s (30 is 80 Fahrenheit). Next week it’ll be Summertime…


I woke up this morning to all of the doors and windows of the building shaking violently in their frames. But it wasn’t an earthquake or a ghost, it was just the wind. The lake outside my window looks like an ocean. The fabled  dust storm season has arrived after all.

Spring is here to stay (finally…)

I’ve never longed for Spring as much as I have longed for it this winter.

After a brief appearance of Spring two weeks ago, Winter took over for one final hurrah. Unfortunately, this hurrah included a two day ice/snow/slush storm and almost two weeks straight with below zero degree Centigrade temperatures (about 24 degrees, but with the killer wind chill it goes down to around 14 degrees Fahrenheit.) Over the past two days, Spring has decided that it is here to stay.

The birds are singing and fluttering about again instead of the usual cowering and peering from naked tree branches with their feathers puffed indignantly. The sun is shining and the trees are sprouting flower buds. The wind is still strong and incessant but now it is cool and wet and soft, not bitter cold, dry and sharp. The fountains and artificial waterfall have been turned back on filling the international professor village with a wonderful aroma of algae from the long dormant waterfall mountain. If stale algae means Springtime, I say bring on the algae!

My classes have been going really well so far. I’m better organized, the students seem generally more active and focused. I’m full of optimism- It has been a long time since I was able to say that honestly.


Brrr…. It’s a cold day

Brrr… It’s a cold day, Brr… It’s a freezing day, Brr… When the temperature goes down, down, down!

The past few days have been deliciously mild and autumnal. The mosquitoes have given way to flys and all the toads have gone to sleep. I was beginning to enjoy the endless Fall but when I woke up this morning, it was snowing. So much for that.

I have underestimated the Liaocheng winter. I have not felt this kind of cold before. It isn’t that it’s really that cold, around 25 degrees. It is the wind. It bites and tears at your soul. My nose and cheeks are still pink- and I’ve been home for an hour and a half! Bitter, sharp biting cold in this city.