Recently I went through Terminal 2 at the Beijing Airport, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. Once I made it through security, there was a hall that led you to your gate. The wall on the far side of the hall had this picture on it!


I Couldn’t Believe My Eyes

There aren’t many places on the earth that are as special to me as Linyi, China. When I first went there in 2002, the population was probably around 500,000, and it wasn’t considered a major city by any means. In fact, many people would probably think of it as more of an agricultural area than an important city.

The next year I was teaching at the University in Linyi, and I grew to love the city and its citizens. It would be hard for me to think of someone I met that wasn’t nice, kind, and helpful. Believe me, when you don’t speak the language, those are the people you want around you!

My sleepy little Linyi has blossomed and grown into a city of well over a million people, and I am happy for their success. I must give the leadership of Linyi credit, because they have done a fantastic job of developing the city. Where fish camps and trash dumps once were, now you have beautiful parks lining the river, so the progress is very impressive! Here is a picture of the same river you see in the picture above taken a few years earlier.


I am very proud to say I have lived in Linyi, and it is one of the main reasons I consider China my second home. Congratulations to Linyi and all of the kind hearted and hardworking people living there for getting some well-deserved recognition. I still couldn’t believe the massive sign when I saw it!