Ana M. (Alumni-U)'s Journal

Today’s evening was very fun, I went out with Nina A. and Chris L. for dinner. Nina knew a place near Mala Tang that sold delicious dumplings. We all ordered them and they were delicious! The owners also showed me how to create a sauce with soy sauce and the ingredients they lay out for the customers. Once we came back from dinner, Mr. T surprised us with his All-Star Whiz-Bang Super Duper Trivia Night! We separated into three groups. After an hour and a half of playing Holly and Henin’s group won. 

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Today is December 12th, and we had a big surprise today. Yesterday I heard from some peers that our school counselor Ms. Yo would come to Xizhou for some days. I didn't want to put it in yesterdays journal as I was not completely sure. This morning was very normal until Ms. Yo arrived during our morning meeting! I was very excited to be able to see her. Teachers in the past have come to Microcampus, but never a school counselor. Having her visit as was a great way to a new week.

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There is less than a week left of our trip, it feels a bit bittersweet. This trip has been amazing from the start and I am glad I got out of my comfort zone to see not just rural China, but the see the "real world" that is outside the comforts of our home in the "Shanghai bubble". My favorite memory of the entire trip was the hike, this is because we all made sure that we paid attention to Mr. T's rules so that we were able to go, we also got to use our hiking bags for the first time. Also, in the middle of the hike when everyone was tired we all kept encouraging others to continue on.

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There is less than a week left of our trip, it feels a bit bittersweet. This trip has been amazing from the start and I am glad I got out of my comfort zone to see not just rural China, but the see the "real world" that is outside the comforts of our home in the "Shanghai bubble". My favorite memory of the entire trip was the hike, this is because we all made sure that we paid attention to Mr. T's rules so that we were able to go, we also got to use our hiking bags for the first time. Also, in the middle of the hike when everyone was tired we all kept encouraging others to continue on.

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Today my group and I finally found a partner! Today I woke up very nervous with various thoughts in my head thinking I will not be able to make a service learning video if Wang Ye Ye says no. After breakfast, my group and I rush out of our home to the streets of SiFang Jie in hopes of our service learning partner says yes. We arrived at the Xizhou baba shop before he did, so we waited sitting on the table next to his store. When he arrived we all stood up and Chris L. explained to him about our project. Nina A. and I were both smiling anxiously in the back, but in no time he agreed!

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Time has gone by so quickly! We only have a week left until we are back home in the "Shanghai Bubble". We have made various connections while we were here, I have been attempting talking to many people even if my Chinese skills are limited. The sky has been greyer in the past few days and the temperature has gone down, which means winter is around the corner. Chris L. and I went out to look for more potential partners with some other peers. We have met great people in the past few days but sadly, most have already been a service-learning partner.

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Today was a pretty busy day, this was because all of our SAS essentials was done. We finished our math work, uploaded our humanities, and made sure we had all our work done for other classes. I was a little behind on my humanities work, but to catch up I finished all my work during the entire evening activity. Even though it took a lot of my free time I feel very accomplished to be able to have it done before this weekend. Today we also started to work on our Final Product, yesterday we were given two hours to do our phase 4 work.

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Today I was able to go to Dali Old Town! Mr. T said that Dali Old Town is a place where all Microcampus students go crazy and become regular 8th graders as if they were on a China Alive trip. Because most students go "crazy" not everyone gets to go on this trip. Only half of the group was in the green zone and was able to go. My goal for today was to be a normal Microcampus student and not freak out when we got there. On our way there we were all filled with excitement to be able to have pizza and ice cream for the first time in a month!

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Today was a very hectic day for the Ultimate group. We all started off the day as usual with our morning routine (breakfast, mindfulness, SAS essentials, pitching-in). In the morning I told Mr. T my hooks and hangers for my final product. Afterwards in the afternoon is when the afternoon became a hectic one. In the afternoon I came back from lunch with my service learning group and showed Mr. T our photos of potential partners. Sadly one of our connections has already been a service-learning partner.

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Today December 4th I made my first tie-dye piece traditionally. I have already made various tie-dye pieces but I never made one in a traditional way. In the morning I did my math SAS essentials, did some pitching-in work, and lastly, I got to be the facilitator for the second time on the trip! During morning pitching-in I did my committee work and I also organized my room. In the afternoon came the time that I have been waiting for forever, I was able to go make a tie-dyed piece.

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Today my service learning group and I found many potential service learning partners. In the morning we had our week 2 wellness reflection where we talked about our social, mental, physical, and emotional wellness. While writing my reflection I realized that I should be more physically active. After lunch, Nina A., Chris L., and I headed out to SiFang Jie to make more connections. We met 3 very nice and interesting service learning partners.

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Today morning we undid our tents from yesterday's campout,  we were all a bit tired as it was cold at night and some of us kept waking up.  I am very glad we had this experience, I learned a lot about myself and my peers.  My shoulders are still a bit sore from the hike, but being able to watch the mountains in the morning made the hike worth it.  When I was finally completely awake I walked around the campsite and had some still time there. The campsite was filled with ponds, ducks, chickens, roosters, and beautiful flowers.

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Tomorrow we are hiking to the Jade Belt!  Today was also a very eventful day. After breakfast during SAS essentials Wilbur arrived, Wilbur is one of Mr. T's alter-egos.  Wilbur specializes in threading and is planning on making his own youtube channel even though he does not know how to use Youtube.  In the afternoon Ms. Braverman and I  got to go back to the cheese factory and asked Zhang Jie more questions concerning my inquiry project.  She explained about patterns, colors, dyes, preferences, etc.

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Today was a very chill day thanks, to my schedule. I started with Inquiry Project, Wellness, Still Time, and Pitching-In. During Inquiry Project time I went out with Ms. Mai. We went out to meet the Miao Family. Even though their focus is embroidery they know a little bit about tie-dye the preferences that tourists have. Afterwards, I came back home and recorded my interviews. Then Chris L. and I went out for a run. During our run, we decided to go on a new path.

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Today was a struggle to wake up early as it was a very cold morning. In the morning I did my SAS essentials and also did some pitching in. Before lunch, I also got to interview Ms. Linden and ask her some questions on tie-dye. I also got to pet Nala her dog who is a golden retriever and a Labrador mix. Afterwards, we had lunch and then I had to do the dishes alongside two other peers as we were assigned dish duty for the day.

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Today is the start of week 2 of Microcampus! The trip has had some ups and downs, but the past few days we have all been working together to make sure that we learn from those mistakes. Today, I started off with SAS Essentials and finished quickly. In the afternoon we had WIPPIS time again. I first had pitching in and I finished up some committee work that I did not finish in the morning. Then I had inquiry project time and I went out with Ms. Mai to look at tie-dye shops near Si Fang Jie and the Linden Centre.

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Today we were introduced to service learning. Mr. T first started by 150 years of the history of China in 120 minutes, Mr. T said it would be a very boring 150 minutes but it was actually very interesting to learn more about Chinese culture. After the 150 minutes, he partnered us up in three groups. Then he gave us an hour to go out to make more connections. Some rules for service learning are to find someone over the age of 65 as they might have a lot of wisdom. My group and I met a nice lady who made shoe soles for a living.

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Today was a very eventful day, I woke up earlier than usual to start my laundry in the morning. Then during pitching in time, I went back to the laundry room to continue my laundry by hanging my clothes. Afterwards, I went back to making next weeks menu as I am on the food committee. After lunch I did WIPPIS, but today I only worked on my inquiry project. Then I got ready for my trip to Zhoucheng. Zhoucheng is the textile production capital of Dali. While Henin C. and I were there we got to see two tie-dye factories.

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Today I woke up at around 6:50 A.M, like other mornings. I had breakfast and later on went upstairs to start SAS Essentials. After SAS Essentials we had our regular morning meeting. During today's meeting, we talked about committee updates and also about work we needed to work on. Then we had pitching-in time, Hayley S. and I decided to go to the Morning Market.

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Today was our first day following the normal schedule that we will use for the next 24 days from now on. Today, I was in charge of dish duty alongside with Holly D. and Julia J. and I also got to regulate our morning meeting. After the meeting was over, I finished some pitching in work from yesterday and I also had extra time on hand, so I decided to go to the living room and play with Sofie for a while.

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Today was our first full day of Microcampus. We started the day by waking up around 7:00 and got ready for the day. Afterwards, we went to have breakfast and I had Er si and other foods. Then we had our first SAS Essentials of the trip which was math. After 90 minutes of SAS Essentials we ad our first meeting and I will get to be the facilitator next meeting. We also had our first pitching-in time where we had group committees, organized our rooms, and did some journal work.

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Today was our first full day in Xizhou, my roommate and I woke up around 6:45 full of excitement to explore our new home.  We had an amazing breakfast that consisted of bread and a local noodle dish called er si. After breakfast, we walked with the group towards Xizhou's local market where they sold spices, tea, etc. We also got to learn about some of the wall propaganda on the ancient buildings. We passed through some small tie-dye shops and Mr.

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Today I woke up at 6:30 a.m., excited and nervous to be heading to Xizhou. As soon as we arrived at Hongqiao airport I knew that this was going to be a start of a new 28-day long trip where I will be able to learn, change, and grow. After saying our goodbyes and giving our last hugs to family members for the next month we got on a plane for 3 1/2 hours. As soon as we were nearby the Dali airport we saw the clear and warm weather which was the opposite of Shanghai weather right now.

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Hi there! My name is Ana M. and I am a proud representative of the Ultimate Microcampus group! I was born in the United States, but since I was 4 I have been living in different places like Brazil and China. I am now back in Shanghai and I am getting used to my old schedule. Being a part of the November-December 2017 trip was the best decision I have ever made. I will remember the great and the not-so-great parts of the trip. I have been able to learn many life lessons and I hope to carry these forever. I am missing the fresh air, the delicious food, and being able to see the brightest stars at night!