Day 28: Why I Came to Microcampus
I thought that Microcampus would allow me to grow and be independent while completing a series of amazing projects.
Yes, I was right; but there is so much more to this experience.
While in Shanghai, I did not know how much love and appreciation I would feel for this beautiful town and amazing community. I did not know that I would grow so close to so many people here. I did not know how happy and healthy I would become while going through a “normal Microcampus schedule.” There are so many amazing things that happened during my stay in Xizhou, and though I cannot list them all, I will divide these experiences into four categories: food, scenery, people, and personal growth.
Food. If you have kept up with my journal you know I am a Xizhou cuisine aficionado. I love a cold bowl of 凉鸡米线, a plate of fried rice, a flaky sweet baba, a big plate of tomato egg fried rice, or a warm bowl of ersi for breakfast at Yangzhuoran. I was told that the food here was good, but before arrival, I never would have known just how good it is. The food here is great and I will miss it so much when in Shanghai, but it is only a small part of this amazing experience.
Next is scenery. The sky here is so blue during the day, so deep at night, and so colorful during sunrise. The architecture is beautiful and holds so many stories and echoes of the interesting history that occurred here. I love bike rides to Lake Erhai in the morning or walks through the alleyways of Xizhou. Every part of the village is a sweet bit of eye candy. Yangzhuoran, our home, is also such a beautiful house. The old architecture and open courtyard provide such an amazing environment to learn and grow in. The beauty of Xizhou provides a perfect background for the amazing people.
The people and community of Xizhou are some of the sweetest people I have ever met. I will never forget sitting with Yang 奶奶 and watching her make shoe soles. When I would have to leave for my next activity, I would tell her I had to go and she always asked me to sit down again. The way she pats the chair next to her and gestures for me to sit down is so kind and unforgettable. I will never forget the time I went to Shang Jie Shi Jie Tao for my inquiry project and felt like I was just talking to a couple of friends. The service learning project only works in a special community full of special, kind people, and that is why it works here. The fact that Mr. Du allowed us to become so close to him that he would share the hardships of his childhood is so amazing to me. I feel so much love for all of the people here and wish I could spend more time with all of them.
Finally, I have grown so much because of this experience. I have learned so much about myself and who I want to be. I have become a more responsible and mature person. Mr. T and Ms. Mai have given me so much trust, and I have taken that trust and become a better person with it. I feel that the main reason students grow so much from this experience is that the students are given so much trust and responsibility. We are treated like adults, therefore we act more like adults. I wish everyone had the opportunity to learn and grow in a program like this, and I am so thankful I had this experience.
Day 28 marks the end of this amazing experience. I am so sad that I am leaving this program and village, but I am so happy and proud to now be a Microcampus Alumni.