Nickie N. (Alumni-I)'s Journal

I was woken up with a sudden, unfortunate thought. It is our last day to spend in XiZhou, a wonderful village that has hosted me for the past 26 days. I will defintely miss the friendliness and friends I have made here. The alumnis were right, time flies by us here, and before we even know it, we're packing and leaving already. I am grateful for the experiences I have had here, and nothing in my life could ever replace that. I am glad I signed up and got into this trip, because this experience has truly taught me so much and I know I have changed. 

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When my group and I went to his house to find him, and he wasn't there. All of us had a synced heart attack, and we tried to stay calm to find him. We divided into 2 groups to find him, we went to ShiFangJie, the bank, the market, everywhere. Finally, I recieved a call from Adeena that she found him playing a chess game. We all rushed back to YangZhouRan, hoping that this day will not turn out to be as bad as how it started off as. 

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If I knew keeping up would be so much more difficult than catching up, then I might have decided not to procrastinate as much. But I doubt it. I am a pretty lazy person, and I manage to fall behind on things pretty quickly. However, today was not the case. I managed to actually catch up to everyone today on Phase 3, information from local contacts. I was pretty surprised with myself, but now that I have realized how friendly the locals actually are, I wish I had more time to interact with each and every one of them. 

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Our group makes lots of mistakes, tons of them, and they really get on Mr. Tafel's nerves. But none of them are extremely major, they are all tiny little things. But so many of us makes them, they start building up, and they start making everyone mad. Our mistakes are like raindrops, one doesn't affect us as they will quickly dry but if they all add up and start raining at once, someone is going to get soaked. 

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The assignment this week for us was to make closer, more specific observations about the hydrosphere. The hydrosphere, as you already probably know, includes all water on Earth. I remember not only observing, but feeling the effects of rain firsthand. During the hike, everyone was filthy with sweat, and everyone was literally counting the steps they were taking before the next break. I looked up and I saw dark clouds rushing quickly towards us, and we were so relieved when our rain jackets could finally be put to use.

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No words would ever be able to describe the relief I felt when my hiking bag slide off my back and when my knees hit the floor. I couldn't believe, I actually survived the 3-day hike, obviously with many difficulties. I was actually quite pleased with myself, except the fact that my whole body was aching. I crawled my way to my bag and pulled out my water bottle, I chugged the water, feeling the coolness slide down my throat. My mind went back to when I was hiking, and I felt as if running during PE classes are really not that painful anymore. 

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Is there really a difference between "slow down" and "stop, then continue at the exact same pace before"? Well, apparently not to a group of 16 microcampus kids. When we were given a choice to whether continue hiking or head back down, I had to stick with going back down. I couldn't handle the disappointment from Mr. Tafel again and I was worried for the group. Everytime we say we will change, we do, for like a few minutes, then we are back to our typical screw-up ways.

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We all need distractions in life, especially during our most difficult times. Don't get me wrong, distractions can get you worse off than you were before. But if we were able to use them correctly, then they might be able to bring you wonders.

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The assignment this week was just to observe one the -spheres, and I have decided to choose the biosphere. This week I have been observing how living things react to different environments. For example, the plants, spiders, humans etc. They all have their own way of adapting to the environment, and I will list a few examples. 

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I finally managed to finish my laundry due to a slight delay, and it was a pretty cool experience. Adeena and I spent around an hour there, and we accomplished far more than I thought we would. We divided up the work, she got the clothes out of the machine, I hung them up, then she put the other clothes back in and filled up the water. Surprisingly, we worked extremely quickly, when we were concentrated and focused.

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At around 7, 4 groups of 16 students strolled into Classroom 2. One with the hoodies and pigtails, the other with the crazy hair, another with the fuzzy hats and beanies, and then came us, the ones with sunglasses and earphones. Obviously, there was something special going on, the trivia night. We called ourselves the Anti-Social Students, and let us not mention the initials. Within minutes we were last and our group was losing hope, some of us were even complaining. Nevertheless, we went on and tried our best to answer the questions.

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Today, during dinner, Claire H., Adeena L. and I saw a small group of kids playing together, and we decided to go talk to them. Personally, I thought it was the best decision I have made all day. We decided to play hide-and-seek with a 4 year old little boy, and he reminded a lot of my 6 year old brother. I couldn't help but laugh as he ran around trying to look for everyone or hide from us.

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Today was our first intense rain day, and it was slightly more difficult to do wellness and the rain clouds completely covered the sun, giving everyone cold showers. I learned that on rainy days, the temperature decreasing by a lot, and we must wear more clothes in order not to freeze. Even during wellness, we must always have our rain coat on, or else we might get sick very easily. Overall, it was pretty interesting feeling the difference of a rainy day and a sunny day. 

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The assignment for us was to observe the hydrosphere and another -sphere, then make connections with a video. Out of the 5 videos I have looked at, I have decided to focus on Mark Lau's, about plant life. I have decided to focus on the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. 

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This morning I was greeted with a surprise, not only had there been a rainstorm, but also a minor earthquake. But as everyday of Xizhou occupies me with activities, the moment my head hits the pillow, everything slips away. I realized that I had actually lived through an earthquake, something I have never done nor ever imagined before. Usually, in the movies and on the news, people are always dying or ending up in the hospital. Now, I know not to panic if an earthquake ever comes, because sometimes it really isn't as bad as we imagined.

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Today, we were introduced to WIPPIS, which stands for wellness, inquiry project, pitching in, and still time. I really enjoyed the process, and I learned what wellness was like today. During my run with Adeena, I met Mr. Ying, and he started talking to us about Chinese history, and what Mao Ze Dong did for the farmers. I was surprised when he just approached us, as I am not used to that in Shanghai. But in Xizhou, everyone is extremely friendly and we can talk to anyone. 

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It was, unfortunately, a rough day today. We disappointed Mr. Tafel more than we would have liked to, partly because either we were not conscious of our actions or because we decided not to step up and say that something is wrong. I believe that our behaviors were unacceptable, and I sincerely hope that tomorrow will be a better day. Since we have been given very gnetle reminders over and over again by Mr. T, the least we could do is listen and try. And that's what I will try to do, and when I am sure I can follow instructions myself, perhaps I could help others as well. 

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Make mistakes, learn, repeat; that was pretty much our typical routine today. We all had to overcome obstacles, whether it was simple like taking an item out of our luggage, or to pay attention to Mr. T's instructions even when there was something else distracting going on. But today, we learned that all instructions came from Mr. T's wisdom and experiences, and as he has done this far more than we ever have, it is in our best interest to listen to him. Although today was an extremely exhausting day, I felt as if I have learned more than the usual day. 

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Hey! I'm Nickie from group Ignite. I was born in Hong Kong, and I have lived in Shanghai for 10 years. I would consider myself quite fluent in Mandarin which I have used during my time at XiZhou. XiZhou is the most amazing village ever, with the friendliest locals that we do not meet in Shanghai. This Microcampus experience has taught me so many lessons, which I will definitely keep in mind when I come back to Shanghai. I can only wish the future Microcampus'ers will have as much fun and learn as much as we did.