South Carolina--USA

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South Carolina, one of our "homes" in the USA

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Sister-pages:   Home Up Trip to US--2004 Colorado South Carolina--USA Ohio Lake Erie Akron University Pennsylvania Florida Georgia Washington Mt Rainier, Washington Alaska-1

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We often confuse friends and relatives by calling several places "home," including China, Ohio and South Carolina! Some people say that "Home is where your stuff is" and others say "Home is where your friends are," and we have stuff and friends in all of these places! Before we moved to China, Vivian had always lived in SC. Michael moved there in 1987 (from Beijing) to attend graduate school (see below). In 1988 he met Vivian at church and they married in 1989. Andrew and Beth were born in SC, too.

This is the state capital building of South Carolina. The state population is 4.5 million (2009 estimate). To put that in perspective, there are 50% more people in Kunming (our most recent home in China) than there are in in this southern state! But SC is probably more diverse than Kunming, because people originally from over 100 nations live there. This diversity is celebrated annually during the Columbia International Festival (of which, Michael was Assistant Director for its first five years).

Fun population facts (2005, in millions; NY 18.7; LA 13; Chicago 9.4; Philly 5.8; Miami 5.4; Wash DC 5.2; Atlanta 5

Columbia, South Carolina (2004). The City We Left Behind.
Columbia is the capital and biggest city in SC, with a population of 0.13 million (pretty tiny by Chinese standards!). There are only four other cities with more than 50,000 people in this state. Most American cities are small by Chinese standards. Less than 14% of the US population live in the 34 "big cities" with official populations of over 500,000 (2009 data). By contrast, Kunming is China's 20th largest city, with a population of about seven million. In 2010, Chongqing claimed over 30 million people (with 15 million in the central city), making it China's biggest megalopolis.

(left) Our SC home (in West Columbia) had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large living room, and a large kitchen/dining room that opens to the den. We sold it before moving to China in 2000 (i.e., we got a new owner to pay the bank the money we borrowed to buy it; we had only lived there five years). We miss the apple tree in our front yard, our quiet neighborhood, and the pet rabbit we kept in our fenced back yard, but at least we don't have to mow the grass or rake pinestraw anymore!

(Center) This is where Vivian grew up: her parents' house in Cayce, South Carolina (just over the bridge from Columbia). (Right) This photo shows one of the many "mill houses" in Columbia--a duplex (two families living side by side in one building) built for people who worked in the textile mills (see the note below).

(Below right) You can see Vivian's sister Maxine and her husband in front of their house in central South Carolina.

Vivian took these pretty photos in February 2010 on a short visit. It rarely snows in Columbia (at least, not more than a light snow "dust"), but this storm dropped over half a foot (18 cm) of snow.



The University of South Carolina's football stadium is in the background, with the "State Fair" in the foreground. The "fair" comes for about two weeks, once per year. The "fairgrounds" is a large complex that hosts many popular events, including the Columbia International Festival

(Above) Maxine's husband is a farmer, among other things; these two antique tractors (in his yard) looked very nice in the snow. Below, you can see Maxine's house in more typical South Carolina weather.



(Left) Columbia's City Hall, where Vivian worked as City Clerk. She had served the City of Columbia for 28 years before moving to China. While her colleagues were sad to see her leave, they were happy to be sending such an outstanding representative to serve the people of China.

(Center) When many South Carolinians think of China they think of this--an abandoned textile mill. For generations, thousands of workers in the Columbia area had jobs related to making fabric, but in the last part of the 20th century, most of those jobs moved to China, leaving a lot of people to find a new way to make a living.

(Right) Columbia has several nice parks where families can enjoy Carolina's mild weather (and hot summers). This water playground is in one of the newer parks, called Saluda Shoals (built in the early 2000s).


This group of classmates (including Michael, May 1999) is happy because they finally graduated from Columbia International University with their Masters Degrees, majoring in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). The photo on the right shows the magazine section of the library, which is also a great place to study. It is in the CIU library (bottom left), which is attached to the media/computer center (center photo). Since most students have their own computers, there aren't many computers at the computer center (compared to a "net bar" in China). The student center and cafeteria (bottom right) is near the library. The bottom floor has a bookstore, mailboxes, game and TV areas, and offices.

L.T. Hanna high school is in the hilly upstate. Did you read the sign? "Radio" is a person who is rather famous in SC because of a great movie made about him a few years ago. In addition to the tree-covered "blue mountains" of NW South Carolina, the state has a long coastline on the Atlantic ocean with lots of beautiful beaches. I took the photos below in a natural park (swamp/marshland) near the southeastern coast. The alligators on the right hope that park guests can't read. They are always looking for a handout (or a hand out!).

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