Pre-Trip: Back to Basics

Entry 1, Pre-Trip: January 18th, 2014

The Fearless group is one week away from the Microcampus adventure. For the past 19 hours, the entire group has lived through an official lock-in at school. During this lock-in, we were briefed on topics like our Wellness plan, sickness, a daily microcampus day, and, of course, how to keep Mr. T and Ms. Mai happy. We also got into work group (four groups of four), and went over the learning components of our microcampus experience (Experiential learning, personal growth, expanding intercultural understanding, and having a positive impact). Last night Taylor H and I slept in the library between the bookshelves. It was an exciting (and informative) day, but an even more (personally) challenging task was to come tomorrow.

We woke at 6:30 after both of our alarms went off. In a daze, Taylor and I sat up groggily, but snapped and started packing when we heard Mr. T giving all who were still asleep (basically everyone) a warning. Quickly, we packed our bags and ran off to the bathroom in order to prepare for a 'work-out'. What we didn't know (when we were packing for the lock-in), was that the 'work-out' was outdoor biking at not even seven in the morning. After a little more figiting, we migrated outside in shorts and jackets. With our helmets on, we slowly biked to the village outside Links in 'fancy' maneuvers of single file, double files, triple files, quadruple, and on. In the village, we were given 25 RMB allowance, 30 minutes, and a couple tags. The tags were for a challenge: ask around the village and try to find out what they are. However, we also had to eat a healthy breakfast. After biking in cold morning air (and under polluted, grey skies), the Fearless group was ready to eat something. My work group (Grace, Vivian, Henry, and I) decided to eat at a small place where they sold xiaolongbao and a Chinese flatbread. The three of then got 1RMB worth of flatbread each, and I bought 10 xialongbao and a pack of piping hot soymilk (which was later used as a (group shared) hand warmer for the rest of the trip). Additionally, Henry purchased 9 jiaozi without realizing it was a vegan, all green, all vegetable ones. We all enjoyed the meal (except for Henry and his jiaozi), and headed back school with a failed attempt at a 'bee formation'.

Overall, this lock-in was both efficient and funny as we shared what we did and went over the basics. We're all looking forward to the upcoming week and the adventures that will come.


Hey, my name is Katherine. I was born in Michigan, USA, moved to Shanghai for around two years, and currently reside back in Michigan. I'm 13 years old, and I no longer attend SAS Pudong. My friends and I enjoy drawing, and just joking around. Hobbies and interest of mine include drawing and preparing for my future (haha). A goal of mine was to stabilize my drawing style based on learning and reflecting in Yunnan. Xizhou was such a beautiful place and rich with culture and colors. The people who lived there were genuinely interested to meet us, and often happily asked us for lunch or dinner with them. It's one thing to visit a place as a tourist, but it's completely different when you live in the area for a month and try to reach out towards everyone in the local community. The time I've spent in Xizhou not only helped me to think and know outside of the Shanghai bubble, but also exposed me to the wonders of nature. The three day hike was spent close to nature, and every night was a spectacular night show of stars never seen in Shanghai. The 28 days have ended much too quickly, and the experiences have changed the way I know and perceive life.