Annie C. (Alumni-I)'s Journal

At 3 o'clock today, we all shared our service learning video with our partners. My group picked up Mr. Yang at around 2:30 PM and walked him to YangZhuoRan. I was kind of excited and nervous at the same time. Mr. Yang has been to YangZhuoRan before and knew the place quite well, and told us about what was new. We were the first group to arrive and still had some time before the presentation so we showed him around. When another group arrived, we brought our service learning partners together to introduce and was suprised by what happened. Mr. Yang patted Mr.

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Today I worked on my Inquiry and Service Learning. I was under a bit of stress as I had to finish both and there was a deadline on both projects. Rena and I took 1 hour shifts, passing her computer back and forth to edit our Service Learning video. We had some technical difficulties and did not begin putting together the video until 11 o'clock, which meant we had a few hours until 2 o'clock which was when our video is suppose to be checked by Mr. Tafel. By lunch, Rena cut out all the unnesscary parts and reduced a 30 minute film to 6.

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Today was another productive day where I finished up on my final Inquiry Project and finished Service Learning filming. 

I had a check-in with Mr. Tafel for my Inquiry video, and edited some of the problems throughout my video. Then Kailee and I headed out to visit Mr. Yang again, since we did not have a chance to speak with him yesterday. I did not feel too stressed out today, which is a good sign, and I think we will have just enough time to finish our service learning video tomorrow. 

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Today was another work day, I spent a lot of time working on my final product for my Inquiry Project and interviewing my service learning partner, Mr. Yang. 

The highlight of the day today was the evening activity where all the girls on the Microcampus trip got to have the evening away from the boys-out at SiFangJie. I bought many souvineers for my family and friends there, realized it was our last weekend in Xizhou! I know I will definitely miss the place and the people here with my during this trip. I bought several pairs to Xizhou baggy pants, a scarf, and a tie-dye. 

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This week is going to be busy week, my schedule is packed. Today, two local girls came from Kunming to see what life is like here at Microcampus. I spent most of my morning filming and editting my final Inquiry Project video.

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Dinner was quite interesting. Adeena led Nickie, Charlotte and I to a restaurant that opened up about a month ago. It was called Chong Qin Ma La Tang, and it was similar to hot pot. There was a selection of food and you could choose what you wanted in your soup. There were vegetables, tofu, meat balls, noodles etc. Then you choose what how spicy you want your soup to be. Charlotte and Nickie chose non-spicy which was basically chicken soup. Adeena and I chose the spicy one not knowing how spicy it was going to be. After our food arrived, we each took a bite.

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During Inquiry time today, I worked on the restoration process instead of interviewing local contacts. I also realized that my ten big questions were irrelevant to what I was doing so I ditched them. Mr. Tafel and I walked around the construction road until we reached one of the messages that was covered in plaster. One of the alumni-Katherine Y-did a bit of restoration and you could see the difference. I experimented with different kinds of tools. I used some water, a pen, a pocket knife, and a eraser.

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Today we all woke up with sore backs, shoulders, feet, and pretty much everywhere. We ate our first normal breakfast and quickly got back into the normal routine. From 8:30 to about 9:50 we worked on our SAS essentials. Then from 10:00 to 10:30 we had our daily meeting where Mr. Tafel told us about important deadlines. After that, we had until lunch time to do our Pitching In responsibilities. Everything was the usual, had lunch, caught up on Inquiry work, and found a service learning partner. Then a quick check-in at 5:45, had some diner and went to back.

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Going up and down are two very different things. Although we were told that it was going to be faster and easier, it was still tiring. We had to pay attention and use our energy as there were loose rocks and slippery roads on the way down. Surprisingly, my feet and back felt more tiring and sore than going up. As we walked along the meadow, I kept thinking when we are going to arrive at our lunch spot since the road stretched out for thousands of meters. Along the way down, I did not remember going up all these switch backs and there were a lot of them.

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Today's hike was much shorter, but much steeper since we took the mule trail. As soon as we started walking, I could feel the altitude, but it only took us about an hour and a half to get to the foot of the thirty-two-thirty-two. We call it thirty-two-thirty-two, since it was 3232 meters above the seal level. When we reached the peak, we had a few minutes for Still time to enjoy the view and ate some comfort food we brought up. Then we hiked down, set up our tents and had a relaxing afternoon.

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Today we spend about eight to nine hours hiking up the mountain! We packed everything the night before, so when we woke up, we ate breakfast and packed our lunch and left. A bus took us to the base of the mountain and from there, we hiked up to lunch which took about four to five hours. Everyone was very happy to be able to eat our lunch, it tasted especially nice today since it felt like it was earned. As Mr. Tafel likes to say "Hunger has a way of simplifying things."... all we had on our minds was to be able to eat.

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For wellness today Adeena, Charlotte and I went for a run just like any other day. We packed our water bottles and phones. Halfway through our run, we decided to have a little water break, so we stopped outside of the Linden Centre. As I reached in to get my water bottle, I felt something wet and mushy and I immediately thought something had spilled but that was not the case. We quickly put the bag on a slab of stone and took out everything and it was covered in yellow, sticky banana mush.

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At Microcampus, we have room inspections. It has always been tough yet funny, and the International Room Inspection Federation has always been very strict about this. Things like pillow fluffy-ness, toothbrushes at a 90 degree angle, hangers need to be even spaced apart etc. Room inspections are graded on 5 star scale, Ignite's highest room inspection score was 2.9, rewarded to our room. Before the Disaster of Room Inspection, we always thought that the International Room Inspection Federation was also strict.

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For my second humanities entry, I will be writing about the impact of tourism in XiZhou. During the first dew days when Mr. Tafel took us exploring, he pointed out a few things. Many houses have been renovated and modernized, there were also many tie-dyed fabric and woven bags. Down the street that leads to SiFangJie there are local products and souvenirs. There are traditional bags, cushion covers, batiks and so on. 

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Today was my first laundry day and I was excited since all my clothes were dirty and might start smelling. During Pitching In this morning, I walked to laundry with Nickie, halfway through we forgot the key (most Microcampus students do that), so we had to call Yunkei and Evian to get the key for us. It was also raining today and I did not realize that it was not going to try on the day because I thought it might turn sunny that afternoon. It rained all day, and I did not think about my laundry until that evening.

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For our science assignment here in Xizhou, we have to chosse between the three spheres (Biosphere, Lithosphere, Atmosphere) and observe them. The one that all of us have to observe is the hydrosphere. We have to read previous Microcampus student work and make connections between them, I have chosen the biosphere and the hydrosphere. The hydrosphere would be the water here in Xizhou and the biosphere would the the plant and animal life. 

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Today started off like any other day and we are getting used to our schedule more and more. We got teacher support from Mr. Tafel, Ms. Mai, or Yeling, I booked a slot with Mr. Tafel this afternoon and we did a tour around a village. We saw a lot of damaged propaganda messages and paintings that were also covered in plaster and asked the locals if they knew what some of these messages meant. We also went inside Ms. Zhang's house and saw some damaged paintings, and learned about her life here and her cows.

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Day 5 started out as a normal day. We had our SAS essentials and daily meeting, and during our daily meeting Mr. Tafel told us that there was a small earthquake and a thunderstorm. A lot of us just slept through the earthquake but some woke up to the sound of the thunderstorm. Then we had our usual pitching in and WIPPIS time just like any other day. As Adeena and I were doing our wellness, it started drizzling and when we got back to YangZhouRan it stopped, so we did not know weather to stay out or in.

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Day 3 started out better than Day 2. We all tried a new type of food called ErSi, which was rice noodles. At first, I thought it would just be the same kind of noodle we eat in Shanghai, but after a bite you could taste the difference. Today was also a typical day at Microcampus. We did our SAS essentials, our first daily meeting, and our first Pitching In period to work on our committee work. After lunch, we learned the procedure for using and checking out our heart monitors and the procedure for checking bikes.

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Today, we explored the village that we are going to be living in for the next 28 days. We went around town with Mr. Tafel and learned about some general directions and key places like SiFangJie and the market. Along the way, we also some propaganda messages but some of them were advertisement for sim cards. Then we went to lunch with our service learning (Rena, Eric, and Kailee) with a budget of 25RMB. Rena, Eric, Kailee, and I decided to try the famous "Tafel Rice" and it was pretty good.

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Today we settled into what we are calling home for the next 28 days. We got to the airport at 5:15 A.M and landed around 10 o'clock, then took 6 hour bus ride until we finally arrived in XiZhou. By the time we got to our village it was 6 o'clock, we unloaded our suitcases and walked across the bumpy road to get to YangZhuoRan. Tired, we lugged our bags into ours rooms and ate dinner. Even though it was a tiring day, it was really worth it and I hope to explore the village tomorrow. 

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We had our Microcampus Lock-In on Friday and overall I thought it was fun and went pretty well. Puxi students came over and we bonded and did some Microcampus work. We talked about the point of going to Microcampus and why are we going. Everything Mr. T has us do, write has something to do with the four pillars. Experiential Learning, Expandaing intercultural learning, personal growth, ang having a positive impact.

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Hi, my name is Annie. I'm 13 and this is my 8th year in Shanghai. I'm from Taiwan and lived here ever since I was 5. I have a little sister and a member of a family of four. Microcampus was a wonderful experience and I'm glad I embraced it.