Dora H. (Alumni-W)'s Journal

The first and foremost reason to answer this question is simply beacuse I wanted to try something new and fresh. Trust me, I love my life back in Shanghai with my family, but when things stay consistent, it gets "boring." I wanted a change. I wanted to see myself change. I wanted to prove to my family how much growth I can have without the same old daily schedule I have back there. I heard about Microcampus when i was in 7th grade, and the moment I knew what it was about, I told my mother that I wanted to go.
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It is time. The last full day in Xizhou is counting down. No more daily meetings. No more fighting for restaurants. No more texting Mr. T everywhere we go after today. Some of us might still have the chance to return, but it will never be the same without the people from our Wildfires team. Sadness washed over me as I began to pack my luggage and say goodbyes to the new friends I had made here. I want to thank Mr. T and Ms. Mai for their guidance, patience, knowledge, and at last, unconditional love and support for every one of us.

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Woke up to thunder and lightning echoing in our rooms. Yesterday the power in Xizhou was out from 7:00am-11:00pm, but that did not stop us from getting our work done. We traveled to the Linden Centre from time to time since they had a power generator there. Many of us woke up believing that we would be getting our Wi-Fi and lights back, but unfortuantely that was not the case. Many of us even thought that Mr. T was pranking us since today is coincidenty April Fools. In the morning we were just making predictions about the prank Mr. T was pulling.

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Today had been a quite busy and productive day like all the other days. Everyone is dialed in on their inquiry projects and service learning work. I am excited for the service learning project share on Wednesday with our partners including the second trip to Dali Old Town. Even though there are days where we all have free time and have fun together, I also enjoy the days where everyone knows what they have to do and are all focused with it. Last weekend in Xizhou, and we would be back to Shanghai by next week.

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I cannot believe it is the last week for us to stay at Xizhou. Time flies fast when you're having fun. I am actually pretty sure that it would take me ae longer time to adapt back to SAS, since I am already so used to the schedule and atmosphere here. For the last week, all of us are working on our inquiry projects plus service learning. This is a moment where time management would come in real handy. There is just so much to do everyday, I don't think I've ever felt so productive back in Shanghai.

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Today on our way to still time, my friend Becky and I decided to head to the terrace at the Linden Centre. On our way there, we snapped photos of people and the things around us for our inquiry project. When we arrived, there was a big family sitting around enjoying the view like what we were about to do. I saw a woman carefully helping the little girl (I'm not sure if she is her child) drink her juice, and I just had to take a photo of that.

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On a day where the sun sparkled in the blue sky while the flowers bloomed every corner, Dora and Pepijn decided to go out to find our team a service learning partner. They walked around looking for people above age 60 and would not mind sharing his/her life stories with them. The rejections every corner made them lose confidence as they start to grow worried that they might not have someone for this project after all. Soon, Pepijn saw someone in a cramped place hitting metal with a hammer. The man was working hard and did not notice the two teenagers.

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Today is the end of our Phase 3 work. From the December of 2018 all the way till the March of 2019, we all worked pretty darn hard on our inquiry projects. I've never been so dedicated to a single topic for such a long period, and all we need right now if just a final push. The service learning projects officially begun as the inquiry projects gradually come to an end. I can't believe 18 days passed already, warning us that there would only be 10 more days left in Xizhou.

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"Life is like a piano: the white keys represent happiness, the black keys show sadness. But as you go through life's journey, remember that the black keys make music too." 

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My home is in Taiwan, therefore Shanghai is my second home. Now that I'm living in Xizhou for a month, it is my third home. I am so glad to be back here and sleep on my comfy bed, but the moment we got off the bus, there were drizzles of rain. The sun came out soon, leading two clear rainbows on our left. It was like a little "welcome home" from Xizhou. Shaxi is a charming place, but like what Mr. Linden said, Xizhou is still the place where I feel like I belong. Two days of hiking was fun, but also energy draining.

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You don't know happiness unless you had been through sadness. You don't know the awesome feeling of relaxation and sleep until you have been through a nearly 4 hour hike through rocks and dirt. Even though it's really chilly at night especially with the wind, the stars make up for all the tiredness during the day. Our gang worked through challenges, strived for personal growth, expanded our intercultural learning, and increased our levels of awareness on our impact. Mr.

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Solitude. The state or situation of being alone. Learning how to be the company of ourselves before being the company of others. For still time today, my friends and I went to climb (we didn't go to the very top) a tree that was in a peaceful "village." We stood on the tree and watched the clouds roll by and listened to the songs of the wind accompanied by the rustling of the grasses. Soon, the grey clouds covered the sun, and as if the land had lost life, I felt like dark power or dark magic had came.

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Woke up in the morning with a sharp breeze and drizzles of tears from the sky. We assumed that the sun would be out anytime soon, and it did, but the rain kept coming back, limiting our clothing and activity choices. It is our first rainy day in Xizhou, and our group was not extremely prepared. There were literally drops coming down without the presence of a cloud, and the sun only appeared once in a while. The roar of thunder echoed around us as we continued our daily routine. Saying hi to the Xizhou citizens and studying our surroundings. Like Ms.

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Today is the end of the trip for many teachers/administrators that came to visit Xizhou and us Microcampus students. I had a blast hanging out with them, and I'm so honored to be eating with 3/4 of the adults that would be leaving tonight. Even though the first day had been stressful with the amount of people crowding during our meetings and our inquiry project work, I personally feel comfortable with them around. Everyone is so kind and patient, and the best of all was that they really wanted to learn the culture of Xizhou and learn through the projects of us.

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The administrators and teachers from both SAS campuses came to visit us today. It's also Dr. Mott's birthday, and I'm glad that he could spend it here in Xizhou with the middle school community. I also met a bunch of other happy adults, and I hope that they could not only enjoy the weather and beauty of Xizhou, but also learn their culture and learn from us too. *smile* 

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"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky" Another chill day, and Emily, Becky, and I went biking together to Lake Erhai. Even though we got lost twice on our way there, we still arrived to our final destination. When we went around Shi Fang Jie, we chatted with a 19 year old girl (she opened a store with her friend) because we went to her store yesterday. We agreed that we would visit her every weekend...a new friend made I say. 

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Weekends at Microcampus are pretty chill, only if you have all your work completed and you're on track with your projects. Today we had a lesson of 150 years of Chinese history in 150 minutes taught by Mr. T. To be honest, it wasn't as boring as he warned us. It's actually a pretty helpful lesson for our service learning project that would be coming up in the future. Right after lunch, my inquiry group and I went to talk with grandma Yang, who sells her products on the side of the road. She was really open to us and I believe that we had a nice conversation.

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Today was another bright day in Xizhou, the temperature was less high. After we completed our short connections with the Xizhou citizens, our group split up to travel to the tie-dye factory or the windmill farm. The windmill farm was pretty awesome, the view was amazing too. We stood under the gigantic wind turbine and watched it spin right above us. To be honest, the first time I saw it, I felt like the sharp ends were so close to stabbing the people below, but it was a really nice experience, and the mini history lesson Mr.

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Day 5 of the trip, and us Microcampus students are starting to dive into our inquiry projects. The weather today is beautiful and warm with chilly breezes, just like the other days. My lunch team and I went to eat Tafel Fried Rice again, and one WHOA moment was when I asked the lady working at the store why it is called Tafel Fried Rice. She told me it was because our 老外 teacher taught her how to cook this type of fried rice, so it was named after him. We always thought it was just a coincidence that the rice was named Tafel...but who knew?

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Today was the real deal. We checked our schedule on the Microcampus website, and we got straight to task. For our service learning project, we had to go out to the village and connect with at least 10 other people from Xizhou. Throughout that process, we met people who rejected us immediately, people who kindly rejected us, people who knew about this program and wanted to help. I met this grandma at the restaurant where you can get Tafel Fried Rice, and she was super kind. To be honest, I thought that grandma was pretty cute, because of her welcoming smile, my day was made.

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Oh man, today was not only the beginning of a nearly normal Microcampus day, we also went biking. Not just simply biking, it was educational. I learned a lot just from that activity, such as not freaking out when a car honks its horn right behind you, or how to successfully pass your message to your team. I definitely enjoyed the chilly breezes and the still time next to Lake Erhai. The marshmallow clouds and blue skies companied us, while the mountains told us which direction was west.

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It had been almost 24 hours since our arrival to Xizhou, and Xizhou already feels like home. We went on a tour around the village, and began settling in. One of the things I found memorable about today was when Ms. Mai told us to pick out a card from two decks; the question deck and the answer deck. I personally thought that my cards were accurate, because the question was: "What is one thing that would aid you through success?" The answer card said "Love." My inquiry project was coincidently related to love, and I personally value that characteristic very much.

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Today, even though we didn't do much, I was pretty exhausted by the end of the day. I personally enjoyed how we had the chance to tell our friends (or soon-to-be friends) what we can provide for the group and what we wish the team could provide for us. I felt like that activity subtly brought us together, because we learned the strongest and the weakest sides of everyone. Another remarkable memory was how we struggled to put all of our heavy luggage into the bus. This incident taught us teamwork, because  Mr.

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I personally have not been to Xizhou or anywhere close to Yunnan. According to my grandma, she said Yunnan has lots of tasty foods, and the skies there are always blue with cotton candy clouds. She said the air quality at Yunnan is nothing like Shanghai, and Yunnan is a place filled with nature. Mountains, plateaus, fields of green grass, and possibly clean river/lakes. Mr. T mentioned Lake Erhai, which seems like a significant point to the citizens of Xizhou. 

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Okay. Microcampus isn't until the beginning March, but I feel like it's just around the corner. I know it shouldn't be a monster that haunts me in my sleep. Instead, it should be a dark cave with treasures at the very end. I do want to go, I really do. But, leaving my life in Shanghai, leaving my friends, leaving my family, my dog, it's tough. I could literally imagine myself with tears streaming down my face because of hearing the familiar voice on the other side of the phone. Instead of looking ahead, I feel like I need to look at the moment, stay in the moment, live in the moment.

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Hello there! My name is Dora and my roots are in Taiwan, although, I have been in Shanghai for more than 10 years now. I have heard of the Microcampus program last year, and I absolutely wanted to join. I was in Xizhou with the 23rd group, Wildfires, and made connections with the welcoming residents, studied their culture, and learned about ourselves. I completed both my inquiry and service learning projects which I am extremely proud of. Microcampus had been an extraordinary trip, and the main source for all my life changing moments and experiences that I have in my pockets.