There's no place like home!
Xiamen (pronounced something like "she-ah-men") had about a million people
back in 1985 when Michael first lived here; the 2010
census reported a population of 3.5 million. While this is far smaller
than any of the other Chinese cities we've lived in (click here for info),
it is still huge by American standards (the whole state of South Carolina has
only 4.5 mil and Ohio has about 11.5 mil).
Not every day in Xiamen is as beautiful as this particular
day in July 2012 (taken from the
Zhangzhou ferry pier), but compared to most of the large cities in
modern China Xiamen's environment is one of the best. We love living here,
except in the sweltering summer! Actually, you are looking at Xiamen's famous "piano island" Gulangyu. Boats have
always been an important part of this important port. (You can download
this photo in many sizes from our "wallpaper"
(Below) This is the view of Xiamen's bay from Michael's
(also in July 2012; click here,
and look for more photos of the Haiyun campus).
From 1985 to 1987, Michael studied Mandarin at
University (click to see photos).
In 2011, he joined the faculty, teaching English to International
Economics and Trade students.
As you can see from these three 1986 photos (taken from
Sunlight Rock on Gulangyu), there were no tall buildings in Xiamen back
then (no bridges or tunnels to the mainland, either; not to mention no
McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Walmart, etc.). In fact, we even have photos of Shanghai as late as 2000 with almost
no tall buildings, which just shows how rapidly China has developed. (Click
here for a few more old photos of Xiamen.)
This is a photo of the 1000-year-old Nanputuo Temple, which
shares one wall with Xiamen University.