Evian C. (Alumni-I)'s Journal

Why did I come to Microcampus? There were so many reasons at first, like the need to experience something new, to learn more about Chinese culture, to meet new people, and to learn more about myself as a person. All these reasons are still true even now, nothing much has changed. However, I am here to tell you about my experience in Microcampus, and what I have learned. Microcampus has taught me so much, about this world, about others, and about myself. First of all, Microcampus has taught me the beauty of the smallest things around me. In the first week or so, whenever Mr.

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Ladies and gentlemen, today is a sad day for everyone here at the YZR. Why? Today is the last full day we will ever have in Xizhou as the Ignite group. This day is hard on everyone because we know that as soon as we get back to Shanghai, we will probably seldom see half of the group ever again. We will have a normal day today, with the exception of the lack of Service Learning and Inquiry Project. We will spend most of the day packing, and going around Xizhou one last time. At noon, we will be having our last meal at SFJ, which I will miss greatly.

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Today, the Ignite group finally finished our Service Learning videos. We invited each partner to YZR for a showing of the videos. Mr. Yang agreed to come, as well as his best friend. It was a festive occasion, and we had fruits, banana bread, and tea for the Service Learning partners. At first, when we went to get Mr. Yang, we had to wait outside for a while because we set out way too early. However, when it was time, we fetched Mr. Yang from his home.

 

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Here in Xizhou, the weather in generally much nicer than the weather in Shanghai. Firstly, it is not very hot here (at this time of the year anyway), making tasks like Wellness much easier. There is constantly a gentle breeze that neutralizes the hot, bearing sun, preventing us from getting too hot. As for rain, it does not happen that often here. However, it seems like we came during the rainy season, causing some inconvenient laundry situations. When it does rain, it usually lasts for around half a day before the sun comes out again, erasing all traces of rain.

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Today, Inquiry Project ends! Most of us managed to finish in time, with little to no difficultly. I finished at around 3 pm, only to be hit with a challenge. My website host, weebly, would not let me publish my site. According to them, I needed to verify my account using my phone number. Unfortunately, China numbers apparently do not work. After trying many different numbers, I gave up and consulted the master of all knowledge-the internet. I read that this had happened before to many other China numbers. Their solution was emailing the weebly team, which is what I did.

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As you may have heard, Guys Night Out was a flop for them. On the other hand, Girls Night Out was actually very fun. First, we split into small groups to buy souvenirs for our family and friends. There were many items of interest, but I did not buy any in the end. This is because although they were very attractive looking (especially an owl pouch), I really did not know any use for them other than decoration. Also, we witnessed square dancing at the local square. We watched them for a while, then went to the cafe. In the cafe, we got drinks.

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Today was the first day we started Phase 5, also known as the Final Product! Although today was a weekend, we worked hard on our final product. I am making a website to host my tour guide. I did not want to make a iMovie because the idea of having to say "wake up to the sound of crowing roosters" into the microphone did not sound appealing to me. Basically, other than doing an hour of Service Learning, Pitching in and Wellness, the rest of my day was devoted to Inquiry Project. I got a lot of work done though, so I do not regret doing so. Also, yesterday was Guy's Night Out.

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Today, Eric, Claire and I went to this new shop advertising hot, spicy hotpot like soup. Before we went, Marcus and I rushed ahead to tell the shopkeeper to make Eric's soup spicy because he could not take spicy at all, and we thought that it would be funny to see his reaction. The shop is actually really cool, with a fridge full of ingredients. You got to pick as many as you wanted, as long as you could finish it.

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For this weeks Science Journal, we are required to observe and write about the hydrosphere. The hydrosphere is the sphere that involves water, rain, lakes and seas. 

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Today, 3 people and I (Rena, Maddie and Yun Kei), the people still on "survivor island" were allowed to go to Dali Old Town. We were very excited, as we were told there was going to be Western food. Yes, Western food after so many days of Chinese food (not that it was bad, but it was nice to have variety)! As soon as we got there, we went down the street containing all the Western shops. We settled on a shop named "Gogo Cafe", and we were so happy to be there that we did not even care about the weird name. I ordered pasta, and we shared an OREO milkshake.

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Today, I ended up in the infamous sick room... Why, you ask? Well, during the 3 day hike, I have had numerous unpleasant, inconvenient cases of Uncle Dan, more well known as diarrhea. Although I am not that sick anymore, I am still resting in the sick room. It has been a uneventful day, with my only social interaction with real people at lunch. During the day, I mostly caught up on some work and finished a book for school. I also slept in until noon, which is much later than I was used to.

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After a painful walk downhill, we have finally made it back to Yangzhuoran! Despite our painful feet and aching bodies, we managed to finish our hike strong, so that was a good thing. As soon as we finished settling back in, we immediately collapsed on the floor. Well, the majority of us collapsed on the floor while the more hygienic ones of us went to take a shower. As I lay down, the floor felt like the softest, most comfy bed in the world. A bunch of us just lay on the courtyard floor, marveling at the lack of trees, yak poop, and all things mountain.

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Our second day of the hike did not start well. After making many silly mistakes the night before, Mr T. was fed up. He gave us 2 choices; one was to continue the hike, making sure to not make mistakes, or to head on down back to YZR. After a long discussion within the group, we decided that we would try harder and go to the top. The hike to the top was not nearly as intense as the first day. We climbed to the peak of our hike at 3232 meters above sea level.

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Today was the first day of our hike. We hiked a total vertical of 900 meters! As you can probably tell from that, we were all very sore and cranky by the time we got to our destination. A highlight, well more of a interesting event of this hike was my wet shoe incident. We were all walking along the surreal, fluorescent green valleys when our group was met with an especially wet patch of trial. Eric walked off the trial to another part of the valley. He walked along, laughing at how everyone was getting wet while his shoes stayed perfectly dry.

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Today, Mr. Tafel asked us to reflect on one of the 3 quotes he gave us. My personal favorite was "big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details". This means that in order to succeed at something, you must pay attention to the small things first. I think this is true in many cases. When a doctor preforms a surgery, he has to make sure every cut is precise in order to keep the patient safe. When a artist paints a picture, he must pay attention to the slightest color change to achieve the most beautiful painting.

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Today, we had our second laundry day. As you know if you have been following this journal, my first laundry day was not the best experiance, mostly due to the rain. Today, however, was different. The skies were blue, free from clouds of any sort. The wind was blowing gently, unlike the mini tornado it was during my first laundry day. Birds were singing, locals were strolling around, and all seemed right in the world. The laundry today was very efficient, as we split up our Pitching In time. It was beneficial for everyone, as our workload was greatly decreased.

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Today, I finally got to play basketball. To get to the basketball court, Eric, Yun Kei, Marcus and I walked for around 20 minutes before we reached it. Along the way, we passed many fields and spiders hanging in lumps from trees(which frightened Marcus very much), and enjoyed the weather of Xizhou. When we got there, we played a game of 2-on-2. At first, everyone was playing seriously, focusing on winning. However, after a while, we got very giggly and started laughing everytime someone made a failed shot, resulting in not much getting accomplished in the game.

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Today was our first Sunday in Microcampus, which was very relaxing. We basically had the entire day to ourselves, to chill, to rest, and to catch up on work. In the morning, Kailee, Linden, Justin and I went for a morning run. We made it to the border of Lake Erhai, before we had to turn back because we had to make it in time for breakfast. Also, a highlight of the day was the mini "concert" in the music room. A group of people played the piano, viola and flute, while others sang. They did Let It Go in Frozen, which sounded really good.

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Today was our first weekend in Microcampus. The whole day was pretty chill, with out only responsiblities being Pitching In, meaning we had a lot of free time. Also, we were supposed to go camping today, but it was raining. That meant that our camp ground, which was near the shore of Lake Erhai, was most likely flooded in. But, because Microcampus kids are not stopped by rain, hail or sleet according to Mr T, we still learned everything we were going to learn, all in the comfort of Yangzhuoran. First, we packed our dinner boxes, which were pink and had butterflies all over.

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For Science class, we are required to write about our observations of the lithosphere, atmosphere, biosphere or the hydrosphere. For our first science journal, we are supposed to connect between the 4 spheres, connect the spheres with previous student work, and how the spheres are present in the village of Xizhou. The lithosphere is the Earth's surface, such as the soil. The biosphere is about living things like animals and plants. The atmosphere is about the air around us and the wind, and the hydrosphere is about water in nature. 

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Today was our first rainy day in Xizhou. To be honest, I did not enjoy it much. First, I went out in my hiking boots, but they got soaked when someone splashed a puddle on me, which led me to change into my walking shoes, which got soaked as well. I ended up having to dry both my shoes with a hairdryer, which was both comical looking and a little boring. Other than that though, running through the rain during wellness time was fun in its own way, except for the resulting muddy shoes and pants. Today was also the first laundry day for me, and I didn't expect laundry to take so long.

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Today, during our wellness time, I went on a bike ride. First, we went through a village, which Mr. Tafel said was similar to Xizhou before it became more developed as it is now. Everyone we passed was very friendly, greeting us as we passed. We took a wrong turn through the village, and ended up surrounded by fields and fields of rice that seemed to go on and on. Since our desired destination was a strip of road near Lake Erhai, we knew that we took a wrong turn. We backtracked and finally found the stretch of road near Lake Erhai.

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Today was our first time experiancing the normal schedule in Xizhou. Something that was unique to Microcampus is WIPPIS time. It stands for Wellness, Inquiry Project, Pitching In, and Still Time. Wellness is basically our physical and mental health. In Xizhou, it is harder to exercise because the air here is thinner, so your heart beats really fast even when you are merely jogging. Inquiry Project is the time given to us to work on our inquiry project. Pitching In is the time for laundry, journal entries, room tidying, and committee work.

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Xizhou

Today, the students who finished their inquiry project got to go on a bike ride. When we got out into the field, the view was breathtaking, with looming mountains and rolling clouds. We biked for a bit, then stopped for some still time on the edge of the road. I watched some ants, and they were burying one of their dead, which was cool because I didn't know they did that. We also visited a temple, which was a bit of a mystery because we couldn't figure out what religion it was based on. Overall, the bike ride was very fun and interesting. 

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Today, Mr. Tafel brought us to go look around in the village. He took us on a tour, and we met a lot of the villagers who we could talk to and become friends with. When the tour was finished, we went to eat in sifangjie with our work groups. The noodles and the xibaba that my group shared were very delicious, especially the sweet version of the xibaba. Since I was finished with my inquiry project, I went to look for the basketball court with a bunch of others.

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Today, we finally arrived in Xizhou! After taking a three hour plane ride, and a 6 hour bus ride, we made it the the Linden Center. We arrived pretty late, so we didn't do much except for eat and settle in. 

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The Microcampus Lock-in is a event that happens before Microcampus wherein we stay over at the Pudong campus to prepare for Microcampus. When we first got there, the first thing we did was to decide on dinner, whcih was going to be from Papa John's. Something I learned after this activity was that we should really work on our teamwork and efficientcy since we went way over the time limit given to us. We spent too much time deciding who's idea for ordering the pizza was better, and too less time looking over our work and making sure we didn't miss anything or make any silly mistakes.

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Hi, I'm Evian and I am 13 years old. I am from Malaysia, but moved to Shanghai after my dad switched jobs. Right now, in Xizhou, I am having a great time. I have learned more about the Bai culture and the village, but I hope to deepen my understanding even more. I was in Xizhou, and it was such a great experience. I met new friends, made new connections with the locals, and generally grew as a person. Although Microcampus was already 4 weeks long, I would jump at the first chance I get to do this all over again.