USA Photos & FAQ^

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I've stopped updating this website, though it's pages will remain for a while. See "current update" for details.

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Photos from the USA (top page), and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about us!
See below for answers to commonly asked questions

("Up" takes you to the Photo Album index)

Sub-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

(▲ Links to this page's sub-pages. If you can't see the label, put your mouse over a button and look at the bottom of your browser.)

Sorry, Alaska isn't on the map above (because it is too big!), but this beautiful state is north-west of Washington. (Left) The graphic shows how big Alaska is, compared to the "continental United States." Though it is the biggest state, it has one of the smallest populations. In total area, the US is a little smaller than China (which is third in size, after Russia and Canada--both of which have large "frozen" sections, like Alaska!).

For Frequently Asked Questions about us,

look at the bottom of this page.


The USA is a big place so it is impossible to present a clear introduction on a few web pages. For example, students ask us what the weather is like in the USA. I usually say, "It's like China--depending on where you live you could swim at the beach, ski in the snow, enjoy a cool green forest or bake in the desert, sometimes ALL ON THE SAME DAY!"


At the top of this page, you will find links to some pages with photos we think our students would like to see. We call both Ohio and South Carolina "home"; Vivian and Andrew always lived in South Carolina before moving to China, but Michael grew up in Ohio (where we lived in 2010-11, and where Andrew now goes to college), and Michael has also lived and worked in many states (primarily Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina). Michael and Vivian met (and married--1989) in a church in South Carolina, where they lived until 2000. Their married daughter still lives there.

The following art-map shows some of America's famous places (or things associated with certain places). Click here for a more detailed map; when you get there, put your mouse over any state to see the state's name (from Fox news).

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the underlined items below to find the answers to some questions people often ask us.



What part of the USA are you from? Ohio and South Carolina--see the text above for more details


What is Michael's academic background? Michael's Bachelor's Degree is from Eastern College in Pennsylvania (major: Sociology; minor: Social Work); his Master's Degree is from Columbia International University (majors: Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Intercultural Studies); he has also studied Chinese full time for three years (at Xiamen University and in Kunming).


How long have you been in China?


What parts of China have you visited?


What do you think of China?


What is your hobby? When we are not busy teaching/grading/working, Michael likes to work on this website and play the guitar; Vivian likes to create scrapbooks/photo albums; Andrew (who is now in college) likes to do "photo/graphic" things on his computer and play computer games; we all like family movies; Beth is busy taking care of her family!


How many people are in your family?


Why isn't your daughter in as many photos as your son?


Why did you come to teach in China?


What did you do in the US before you came to China? Vivian worked for 28 years for the City of Columbia, in various administrative positions including her final role as the City Clerk. Michael did a number of things, including managing a camera store, working as a reference librarian, working with international students attending several universities, helping to organize the annual Columbia International Festival, serving as education director at COC in Columbia, and (after finishing his MA) teaching English to international students. In 2011, Michael taught international students at the University of Akron (where Andrew is now studying).


Why did you create this website? (see the bottom of our home page)


Why did you leave China in July 2010? The main reason was so that Andrew could finish high school (2010-2011 school year) in the USA, and thus qualify for in-state (discount) tuition in college. We also decided that he needed to spend a year in a good American high school, to prepare him for the challenges of college in the USA. He attended the same high school that Michael graduated from, and it is a very good high school! (We also wanted to be in the US in December when our first grandchild was born!)


Why do you go to church every week? Chinese students often ask this because they think "church" is like going to a Chinese temple, but these are very different! People often go to a temple to ask a god for something (like good luck in an opportunity or a special blessing), to show their devotion to a god or ancestor, or due to tradition. While Christians can ask for help or blessings anytime/anywhere, Christians go to church to be encouraged (by the weekly speaker and words from the Bible), to sing in worship with others, and to see their "family"--which is to say, that the people at church are often in close relationships with each other. We are not trying to impress God; in fact, we go because we are so impressed BY God! We want to express our love and thanks to Him and to our "brothers and sisters" who also love Him. Maybe that is why people say that Christianity is not so much a "religion" as it is a "relationship" with God and those who love Jesus, God's Son.


Why don't you add background music and movies to your website? Posting movies on a web site not only takes a huge amount of space, it is generally illegal! We try very hard to honor intellectual property rights on this site (see our "use policy"), so the materials have either been created/adapted by us or are posted for "fair use" educational purposes (hopefully, with the author's or source's name shown). While we could add background music--some is specially made for website usage--any music worth listening to would use too much of our "on-line space" that we prefer to use for original materials. However, you can link to some of our favorite radio stations on the links page.

Do you have a different question?

Click in the boxes below to go to some of our most popular pages. If you get lost, just click "Home."

(There is a "search" box on the home page)


Site map (To search within any page, type "ctrl + f")

Current Update

& how to contact us

Resources  for students & teachers

Links for English Learners

EFL Movie Study Guides

Better Writing Study Guide

Our Students photos

Photo Index

South Carolina & USA photos

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Favorite Links

Things We've Written (articles)

Introduction to China

Life in China photos

Music Page & mp3 downloads

Archive Index

Real World Writing (my textbook)

See our Policy regarding the use of materials available at or