Yun Kei C. (Alumni-I)'s Journal

I came to Microcampus to learn new things about myself and other people. I did not really know why I came until I got here. Before I got here, I knew that I had to do an Inquiry Project and that it was "serious" but in my mind, Microcampus just registered as meeting new people and fun and games. But on the second day, when everyone missed the 2:00 meeting, I knew it was more serious than fun and games. The next few days were definitely fun but after slacking off a bit on my Inquiry work and getting a bit behind, I realized that I had to be on top of my work.

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Today, I guess I finally caught on that it is our last day here in XiZhou. We had our last daily meeting and we were reminded again to go thank the locals who helped us with Service Learning and our Inquiry Projects. This afternoon, after our meeting, Nickie and I headed out to go say thanks to our sources. Our first stop was the Linden Centre and I said thanks to every single source that I could there, because they had helped me a lot with my research. I also went to thank the kitchen staff for preparing all our meals at YangZhuoRan.

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When we presented our final Service Learning video to Mr. Yang, we all did not know what he would say. When we sat in front of the room and the video started playing, we saw him crinkle a smile. Throughout the video, it was really nice to watch him and his godbrother laugh and smile at the video. He seemed really happy which was a joy for us and we were glad that he liked the video that we spent so long on. It was also nice that we had subtitles so that if they could not hear the audio that well, they could read the Chinese subtitles and there was also English subtitles.

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Today, our Service Learning video is due. My group consists of Evian, Marcus, Linden and I and our Service Learning partner is Mr. Yang, one of the very few cakset makers left in XiZhou. Our group though was not abe to complete it and neither did two other groups. We have to incorperate our childhood pictures of our Service Learning Partner Mr. Yang (picture above) and we have to do a voiceover as well. Overall, even though we are a bit tardy, I feel that our Service Learning video is going pretty well and even though Mr.

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Today was the last day of Inquiry. I finally finished in time at about 4. I had a lot of extra time and so I packed up most of my luggage. I am really glad that Inquiry is over because it was kind of stressful towards the end when we had only three days to complete Inquiry. You can see my final project here.

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Like to day before, for the most of the day, I worked on my Inquiry Project. Unfortunately, after having Mr. Tafel check it and give me some feedback, when I started editing it, it force quit itself and most of my work was gone. Luckily, by the end of the day I was able to recover and completed almost half of my project. I hope tomorrow that I will have enough time to finish it. So far, I think it has been going pretty well. Overall, today was not the most fun Sunday but it was a work Sunday. Although, during the night it was Girls Night Out.

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Even though today was a Saturday and a weekend, we all worked on our Inquiry. I worked on my final Inquiry Project for a good time of the day and I honestly did not have that much free time. The few hours that I spent not working on Inquiry, I was doing Service Learning or Pitching In. On Monday, our final project is due and I think because of the fast deadline and because we just started yesterday, a lot of people are worrying about the deadline of time. I know that I am. I also cannot believe that this will be our last Saturday and in a week, I will be back home in Shanghai.

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For a science assignement, we have to write about the hydrosphere in XiZhou. Water in XiZhou is conserved pretty well. As mentioned in my one of my previous journal posts, the water that people in XiZhou drink is mostly from the wells. The well's water contains Coliform Bacteria which can cause diseases and stomach problems. Even so, the locals are not educated and the well is convenient to get water from.

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Today was a pretty interesting day. Kailee and I decided to go on a bike ride to Lake Erhai for wellness. While we were biking we reached a fork in the road and decided to go right. This was not such a good choice as we deliberated on later because it was all agricultural field. Around us, there were two lines, rivers or water. So after biking a while we realized that there was a puddle of water in front of us. We stopped our bikes and instead of turning back, started to walk on the hay that was next to us.

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Instead of talking about the day today, because it was a pretty normal day, I'm going to be writing about the food in XiZhou.

One of the most popular foods in XiZhou is XiZhou Baba. XiZhou baba is in a way sort of a pie and it might not sound so appetizing but inside there is either a rose paste, meat and vegetables or egg. My favourite flavour is the rose flavour (sweet baba) which I talked about in one of my previous journal posts. As mentioned before, it reminds me of a drink that I drank when I was younger in Singapore. 

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Today after getting up, all my muscles were sore and so were all my roomates. We slowly dragged ourselves out of bed and managed to almost tumble down the stairs for breakfast. Breakfast cheered me up a bit. I gained more energy to move and did not feel as sore as I did when I woke up. Getting back into our routine took all of us some time and by the end of SAS Essentials we were all pepped up.  During WIPPIS Time Wellness, no one went to exercise as we were all tired but instead we all worked on our wellness reflection.

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Getting up was one thing. Getting down was another. Although we were told it was easier than going up, going down was as tiring as going up. We still needed to use our energy and because there were a lot of loose rocks and slippery roads along the way. Honestly, going through these made my feet more tired than it had going up which surprised me. I think it was because I had the mindset that this was going to be so easy but when it was not, it made me feel more discouraged.

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Today, we finally reached the peak of 3232. Although we left most of our stuff about 25 - 50 metres below and we had to climb up, we stayed up there for a good 15 minutes just watching the surroundings around us. Going up to the area around 3232 was not as challenging as I thought. It was definitely more relaxing than the day before and as we were walking up, it was nice to look past the trees and see how much we had walked. Being at the 3232 was really magnificent though.

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Today, we hiked up about 1000 metres in elevation. It was an eight hour hike and tired, we were all glad when we reached our the farmhouse for dinner. Dinner and lunch were privileges and so were breaks. Everytime we rested, putting down the heavy backpacks, dropped all this weight on our shoulders and hips. Even at the start, there were a lot of switchbacks in the hike which resulted in me getting a lot of cramps in my muscles. Switchbacks are turns that loop around because they are mule trails, specifically for the mules who carry our water supplies and tents.

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The biosphere is all the living organisms on earth and their interaction with the other spheres. XiZhou is a rural place and there are a lot of plants around but not that many animals. There are also a lot of farms here to grow food to eat. There are not that many animals except for dogs and cats but there are a lot of insects around. One popular insect here are spiders. Everywhere you go, it is very likely that you will see a spiderweb. These spiders are big, about the size of your thumb.

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The day started out the same as the rest. I am getting used to the routine and understand what I need to do and when. During Inquiry WiPPIS Time, I worked with Cecily, and we went to talk to the staff of the Linden Centre. Talking to the staff was interesting and they all shared the same point of view. This helped me a lot because then I would not be confused by the array of different answers. Because of the same answers, now I can clarify and know that my project is 100% with correct information.

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Today started out as a normal day. But during WIPPIS, Evian and I went to the Golden Flower to talk to Mr. Yang. Unfortunatly he was not there so instead we went to a foreigners café looking for the owner. Evian's topic was to design a three day trip in XiZhou. Therefore, we wanted to ask the owner about tourism in her shop. Instead, she led us to a guy outside and we talked to him instead. We were a bit wary at first but then after Evian started talking to him, we knew that he knew a lot. And once I started interviewing him, he helped me a lot by telling me a lot of information. 

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We started our first weekend today. It was pretty chill and we were allowed to go to breakfast late and "sleep-in" until 9. This helped a lot of us catch up on sleep especially me. I was not very behind but I managed to sleep for a long time which felt really relaxing. We started off with learning about Chinese History with Mr. Tafel. I learned a lot during that time and even though it was only two hours, it was more than I had learned in the previous years. Because of this, I now have a better knowledge of Chinese History. We all ate out for lunch with our work groups.

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For a science assignment, we have to look at two different spheres that occur in XiZhou. We also have to read previous student work and make connections between them and XiZhou. I have chosen the hydrosphere and the lithosphere. The hydrosphere would be the water in XiZhou. An example of a lithosphere would be the soil in XiZhou. Because of all the iron that is located inside the soil, some soil appears red. Because the soil is red, it is harder to plant crops in XiZhou.  XiZhou's water is from Lake Erhai. Lake Erhai is the most important water source in XiZhou.

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The day started out really cold. As everyone walked out of their rooms, we all had bundles of jackets being worn. The whole day stayed like this and during wellness, if we wanted to get time in zone, we had to run in the rain. This was also challenging during WIPPIS time. I had booked a slot with Ms. Mai to visit Mr. Yang at the Golden Flower, Ms Ma and Mr. Yang at the antique shop and Ah Hom at the mosque. We first visited Mr. Yang at the Golden Flower and I had a bit of a mini interview with him. We then visited Ms. Ma and Mr. Yin, only Ms.

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Today was our second normal day. We had SAS Essentials, daily meeting, pitching in, lunch and WIPPIS. WIPPIS started as a new concept to us yesterday but since it was the second time of WIPPIS, we were used to it. Mr. Tafel told us that the night before, there was an earthquake and a thunderstorm. Most people like me just slept through it and did not hear anything. For wellness, Kailee, Carlos, Evian and I went biking and although it had been raining previously, while biking, the roads actually were not wet and I achieved 25 minutes in zone because we biked along the fast roads.

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This blog post is a class assignment about Tourism and Farming in XiZhou


Throughout years, XiZhou has changed through different circumstances. They face issues that places all over the world face. These issues, starting from tourism to farmland is what has transformed the culture and habitat of XiZhou. 

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Today we started off with a good breakfast. We all tried a new type of food called er si which is rice noodles. It seeemd at the start to be like our normal noodles that we had all ate at home but after one bite, you could taste the difference. We then had SAS Essentials for the first time. This was kind of in a mess in my opinion because we were all over the place doing our math homework that we never really had a schedule to focus on.

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The day started out slow even though I had a good sleep. Everyone was kind of tired during breakfast but after, we all got our energy back and had more energy. Afterwards, we started touring the village of XiZhou and discovered a lot of propaganda. If my inquiry project was on the topic of propaganda, this would be a great place. While touring though, I discovered that Mr. Yin used to be a government official and would be a great person to interview for my topic, Relationships Between Ethnic Minority Issues. From there, we then walked to SiFangJie to get some lunch.

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We started out at the airport at 5:15AM. Getting up was a challenge for me and my dad had to wake me up after I had drifted off to sleep again. Once we arived at the airport, it was obvious that eveyrone was really tired so we all decided to sleep during the plane ride. During the bus ride, we were all energetic again and started chatting with each other. It was nice to talk to the Puxi kids again face to face and bonding a bit more. 

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Before this lock-in, I didn't know what types of activities we would do and the personalities of the people that we were spending 28 days with. The lock-in started really slowly while we waited for the Puxi kids to arrive. Once they did, I felt an awkward atmostphere of us being split into our different campuses when we sat down. Later we started our first challenge of the day which was to order our dinner from Papa Johns. I was the "big boss" of the challenge.

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Hi guys! My name is Yun Kei. I am Singaporean and have lived in Taipei, Paris and now currently Shanghai. I am part of a family of four and my little brother is in fifth grade. Microcampus and XiZhou have made a big impact on me and I miss it very much. I miss the blue skies, the ability to talk to locals, the food and pretty much everything about it. I have made many friends and memories here and I am glad that I came.