Tactical - Student Journals

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debbie01pd2021's picture

Today was definitely a change of pace. Our breakfast was later, which gave us a chance to sleep in if we wanted to. I woke up bright and early, reading until I was hungry for breakfast. Today, the whole atmosphere was a lot more "chill". There were no SAS Essentials, daily meetings, or inquiry work. Instead, we had a fun history lecture about Chinese history by Mr. T (150 years in 150 minutes). It ended up being really interesting because I knew bits and pieces of the history but not the whole thing. In the afternoon, we headed out to search for potential Service Learning partners.

audrey02pd2021's picture

Finally, the weekend has come. After an exhausting week of interactions and work, we finally had the chance to catch up on our rest. Most of the day was spent indoors in the living room or the classrooms. But the times we did leave the compound, the wonders of Xizhou still continue to amaze me. To start our Service Learning project, I embarked on a trip around town with my Service Learning partner, Jason M. We began with the town by the ficus tree, Chengdong, looking for previous contacts.

marco01pd2021's picture

I can hardly believe that a week has already passed by. Today was our first day off since we got here, and we had the luxury of so, so much down time. We also started our Service Learning projects today, and received a long history lesson of China's past 150 years or so. Luckily, Mr. T made it quite memorable and engaging, so that we could still remember the information. Afterwards, we got in our groups and chatted to locals for our work, and met wild success.

jason01pd2021's picture

The first week of Microcampus was amazing. From the first day to now, an abundance of memories was made. From the thrill of the flight to the quality of the food to the meeting of local people to the productivity of the Inquiry Project, the week contained an incredible amount of fun. One thing that I am incredibly glad about is the fact that throughout the first week, I feel like my organization skills and punctuality have improved greatly. Something even better is that this was only the first week. We still have three more weeks, and I get a feeling that they are going to come flying by.

mia01pd2021's picture

Starting our Service Learning project was definetely the highlight of today. Although we have not officially posted any information yet, we received our service learning groups, based off of our count-off numbers. My group consists of numbers 1, 3, and 5, which means I am with Debbie and Marco!

debbie01pd2021's picture

Today, we had the opportunity to choose between two places for our half day trip: the wind farm and the tie dye factory. We chose the wind farm because the students from the previous Pudong trip all advised us to go. The ride to the wind farm was a pretty short one- lasting for around 30 minutes. When we were approaching our destination, Mr. T told us to keep our head down until we got there. We had no idea how big the wind turbines actually were, so when we stood underneath one, I was amazed.

audrey02pd2021's picture

Today we went out to the wind farm north of Xizhou. We arrived at the foot of a wind turbine, where we watched the blades of the wind turbine rotate before the bright blue sky. We even had the opportunity to climb down the edge of the mountain and enjoy still time before fields of solar panels and distant towns. That was by far, my favorite still time.

mia01pd2021's picture

Today we had our first half-day trip! When we took the vote to see where we would be heading, it was a unanimous vote from the entire Tactical group to go to the wind farm. While we were there, we were also able to make observations for our science SAS essentials, as a couple of us were studying renewable energy. As we were a smaller group, we were allowed to climb down on the rocks by the edge of a wind turbine.

jason01pd2021's picture

Today, we embarked on our first half day trip, destination, Wind Farm. Once we arrived, the sight and view was unbeknown to me. Every single thing you saw from the farm was tiny, except for the wind turbines. I kid you not, seeing the wind turbines in person for the first time is a sight to remember. I will always be able to replay the scene:

Mr. T said "heads down everybody, till we get to the turbines. Okay, look up."

marco01pd2021's picture

Today was our first half-day field trip to the Dali Wind Farm. After a regular morning (apart from Mr. T's absence for a Skype conference), we had an Inquiry Project-only WIPPIS time, and at three in the afternoon went to the wind farm by car. The wind farm, to the north of Erhai Lake, was massive. It had multiple turbines, each easily a dozen metres tall with blades that swooped the air around them, making a giant humming noise.

debbie01pd2021's picture

Today, I went to Mr. Du's house for inquiry work. Mr. Du is an antique dealer, storing countless antiques in his home. When Mr. T and I first walked up to his home, we were welcomed with the sound of ducks quacking and a dog barking. He quickly ushered us into his courtyard, full of energy. Mr. Du also told me many interesting stories and legends, which was really cool. Afterward, he led us up the staircase to see his antiques and old pottery.

marco01pd2021's picture

Today followed a similar schedule as yesterday; the only change was the people who I did things with. The main highlight was my talk with an Inquiry Project source, Mr. Du. Mr. Du was very interesting to talk to, as he had served in the Chinese Army and experienced government propaganda that way. I also managed to practiced my Mandarin fluency in our chat. Our Evening Activity was also very fun, as we got a new ukulele today, and had a good night practicing our instruments.

audrey02pd2021's picture

After our daily meeting, the group was frantic due to the sudden realization on the amount of work we have. Specifically on the local contacts assignment. The requirement was to gain 15 local contacts to prepare us for the Service Learning project starting this Saturday. So far, all of us have around two to three contacts, and reaching fifteen by Saturday seemed impossible. So my day continues with multiple outings with multiple people. The first was with Debbie, as part of our food/menu committee assignments.

mia01pd2021's picture

Today was one of the best days so far; Mr. T. and Ms. Mai got us our ukulele! It has been something I have been especially excited for, along with the ball pump. It was nice of them to get these items so soon, and I can not wait till tonight's evening activity of "Instrument Playing" to strum away. The ukulele was revealed at the end of our daily meeting, and the response from the group ended up being a series of laughter. As for the ball pump, it was also something I was ecstatic about, as this meant I could play soccer or volleyball with my friends during wellness or downtime. 

jason01pd2021's picture

Today was a relatively regular day. Nothing notably interesting presented itself today, although, there was one thing that happened. During my wellness time, a dog came by and interrupted me. As I was jumping rope, it came over, started barking quite loudly, then it started playing with Marco and I. It was fun but distracting, and I honestly do not know why that happened, but I do know for sure that it was strange. Other than that, as I have said before, it has been a relatively normal day.

audrey02pd2021's picture

The main purpose of Microcampus is building connections in the rural China. It is really easy to forget that in the first couple days of the trip. Today we were reminded of this after a sobering meeting with Mr. T: our Inquiry research has begun. Starting today, we will be interviewing local experts on our topic. With little experience in starting conversations, I embarked on an antique hunt with Mr. T. He first led me to Mr. Zhu, an antique dealer who was familiar with the Microcampus students.

marco01pd2021's picture

After a mostly uneventful morning, I went to Baochengfu (a house that accommodated multiple previous Microcampus students) with Ms. Mai to see if Mr. Brian Linden could help me with my Inquiry Project. Most of my 3-to-5's recommended him, and he did not fail my expectations. In our conversation, he talked about philosophy, his interesting opinions on multiple subjects and his experience in Xizhou. I understood multiple new perspectives and different angles from which I could focus my project on.

mia01pd2021's picture

One of my highlights of the day was starting Phase 3 of my inquiry work. I had Mr. T as my support teacher, and he showed me the perfect spot to start people watching, as that was how I planned to study body language. It was interesting to see the difference between locals and tourists, and how based off their clothing and/or body language, I was able to make accurate guesses about who they were, most of the time. Moreover, during this inquiry work time, I met locals along the way, as Mr.

debbie01pd2021's picture

Today was another one of those standard days, but we did our first load of laundry today! We carried our loads in garbage bags (very fancy) and headed down to the laundry courtyard. We did not really know where to put the laundry detergent, so we winged it and dumped it directly into the washing machine and hoped for the best. After breakfast (which was delicious as always) we continued on our normal schedule- SAS Essentials, pitching in, and more.

jason01pd2021's picture

Today during Inquiry Project time, I went out and had my interview with a local: Ms. Yan. It turns out that Ms. Yan is a local who takes care of all the plants in the Linden Center. During my conversation with her, I learned about several new plants. For example, the commonality of the Orchids, rumors of the Camellia, use of a plant called wen zhu, and so much more.

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