Joanne J. (Alumni-W)'s Journal

Today is Pepijn V.'s birthday and we celebrated by eating cake and of course, Oreos. This is one of the first birthday party that we actually surprised the person who is celebrating their birthday. We all signed a card and gave it to him. We had teachers there also, so we also gave them a piece of cake. 

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Microcampus was such a life-changing experience for me. I never thought that this experience could change me so much as it did. When I applied for Microcampus, I did not think that I would actually get in, but when I did, millions of thoughts popped into my mind. How would the experience be like? Who would be my roommate? What would be my inquiry project? I had millions of questions and thoughts running through when I realized I was chosen.  

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I was really nervous to see what people's reactions are to our service learning video, but in the end, it was really successful. People seemed like they were enjoying it, and I actually enjoyed seeing people's reactions to our video. I thought that people would have black faces when watching, but then had really pleasant faces and happy faces. 

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Today is the last full day here in Xizhou, and I will miss this place very dearly, as well as the people in Xizhou. After staying 28 days here, it has become my home, and I do not think I will ever forget this place and the people here. 

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Storms are normal, as the weather just does what it does. Some people like storms more than other people and some people don't like it as much. Weather sometimes is good, sometimes is bad, other times, it doesn't do anything good or bad. It's just neutral. Today, the storm wasn't that good for us, as it cut off the electricity, so we do not have electricity for the second day in the row, which also means no hot water for showers. 

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Electricity. The thing that powers the world nowadays. When you don't have electricity, that includes Wifi, hot water, and lights. What would you do then? We still have to use our laptops for work, which made everything harder. But it wasn't only us without electricity. It was the whole of Xizhou where there was no electricity for the whole day, so it wasn't only us that had challenges. Many Restaurants used generators, or had gas stoves, allowing them to stay in business. 

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Today is the second say of working on my final product. The process may take me a long time, and it may be really hard, but the final product will be worth it. The whole video cannot be more than six minutes, which make everything harder, because we have to fit an abundant amount of information to fit in that short of a time slot. 

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Sometimes the weather is sunny, and you can go outside and play, or hang out with friends. Other days, the weather is cloudy, and you still can go outside to play or hang out with friends, but you can't do as many things. Sometimes the weather is rainy, and you can't go outside and play, or hang out with friends. 

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"Look! A Ballerina!" I peered out the window, curious about who the ballerina was. At first, I did not see anyone, so I went out to the hallway and peered down. When I realized who Sofia was talking about, I had a tiny smile within me. Turns out, the dancer was just one of us, Erin S., This just made me wonder if I was so naive when I was younger, which I think would be pretty cute if I actually was. 

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Today was an interesting day. I met a new person for my inquiry project whom I didn't know about before, and she teaches at a Local Kindergarten. I learned a lot today, not only about my topic but also about being ready for everything in advance. If you're not ready, you may just waste a lot of time, which is very precious. Also, if you continuously don't plan in advance, you may lose a lot of time to talk with people and gather information. 

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Mr. K and Ms. Fung-Kee-Fung left today, and it was very unfortunate. Even though they have only been with us for a week, we still see them as part of our family. For some families, it's about to blood that runs in us. For others, it's about the connections within us. We all see them as one of us, so we all were very sad when they left. Life happens, and sometimes, you just have to get over it and move on. 

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Hiking was very tiring, but in the end, it was all worth it. We were successful during the hike, and I think it was because we communicated really well. Most of us got blisters, but as I said before, it was worth it. When we came back, we saw rainbows, which made the whole day better. We say not only one rainbow, not two, but three rainbows. That adds up to four rainbows this week, which makes the week brighter and happier. Rain may not be the happiest thing in the world, but you can always find something positive from anything. 

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Camping was a fun experience, and we got to sleep in tents on a grassy plain, which wasn't really that comfortable. We learned that instead of using we "have to", we should use we "get to", and it changes the whole sentence when you change that one word. Camping was fun, but the weather was freezing, as our tent had frozen when we came outside in the morning. We were all so cold that we would barely move our fingers and toes, even with a lot of layers on. 

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"Look! A rainbow!" A voice came out from behind me. I looked up, and there it was. A rainbow, arching over the fields of yellow. 

"Guys, look! The moon!" Soumeone said and we all looked up, and there it was. A supermoon, peeking out from behing the clouds. 

"A shooting star!" I pointed up towards the sky, and three other heads looked up, and there it was. A star, shooting across the sky. 

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Not everybody is special, and not everyday is special. Sometimes bad things happen to you, and that's okay. Life happens, and you just have to move on. Other times, the days are bland, and nothing much happens to you, and that's okay too. "Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive" Matt Cameron

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The ginger-haired cat scrambled out of the hands of his owner, ducking under a chair. I walked over, sitting on the chair. Slowly, I reached my hand out toward the cat, then started to pet it. To my surprise, he grabbed my hand with his paws and started licking my fingers. I laughed at the tickling feeling, and pet the soft fur of the cat. That definitely was the best part of my day. 

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"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." Warren Buffet

This is a quote that Mr. T told us this morning, and it really correlates to what we are doing right now. Each person has their own understanding of their quote, and each of them is special in its own way.

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Having visitors on a normal day is one thing, having visitors when you have a lot of work is another. 15 members of our school came to visit today, and we all were very nervous about what would happen. When they arrived, we realized that it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. They shadowed us throughout the day and made it seem like they were not there at all. I wonder how empty the building would be without them. 

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Most people would think tie-dying is very colorful, done on T-shirts, and done with chemicals. When we were visiting a tie-dye factory, we experienced and saw a whole new world of tie-dying, and we learned the traditional way to make the tie-dye you see in Xizhou. Most importantly, the factory we visited isn't one of those machine based factories, it is a factory where everything is hand made. I hope to visit the factory again and try to make something myself. 

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For wellness today I went to the west side of Si Fang Jie to play Badminton. It was the first time I have played badminton in Xizhou, and one of the first times I have played it with friends. It was a fun thing to do as wellness, as well as still time. The whole badminton set up was really easy and efficient, and I really liked how much fun we had while exercising. I really want to know what tomorrow will be like, and how much fun I'll have during wellness. 

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Today I went for another bike ride to Lake Erhai with some other students, but we took a different route. It was amazing to exercise while watching the beautiful views of Dali fly past us. When we got there, the view was even better, with ducks and gulls near the shore, and on the other side of the lake, mountains. I'm looking forward to taking another visit to Lake Erhai, and seeing what that will be like. 

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Lake Er is an amazing place to sit and just admire the view and listen to the sounds of mother nature. We biked as a group of nine from Yang Zhuo Ran to Lake Er, learning the rules we have to follow in order to be safe. We started learning about the habits we should have, and we also learned and experiences what our committees would do. We had a short meditation session after lunch, which was very relaxing and soothing. Just lying in the warmth of the sun is a good feeling and makes me want to do it more often.

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My first full day at Xizhou had much more highlights than low lights. During our tour, we visited the wet market, where I experienced a variety of new things, including seeing animals being killed. Also, we saw fields of canola flowers, which we don't normally see in Shanghai. The food was much better than anticipated, and I look forward to trying more foods. The first day was much more successful than I imagined, and meeting a lot of new people was also a pleasant experience for me. 

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Today I arrived at Xizhou for the first time in my life. One highlight of the trip was the four-hour plane ride, where we played some games such as tic-tac-toe, hangman, and pictionary. We all thought that the plane ride would be really boring, but it was actually really fun. Another highlight was fitting all of our suitcases into the bus, which reminded me of playing tetris. When we finished the bus ride we had a fifteen minute walk to Yang Zhuo Ran, which was very tiring. Hope to have a lot of fun and learn a lot the next 27 days at Xizhou!

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I have not been to Xizhou or even Yunnan my whole life but from photos and descriptions by other people, I think that Xizhou is a place where you can see a lot of nature and greenery. Unlike Shanghai, there are blue skies and fluffy clouds in Xizhou, and the air quality will be low since the technology there is not as advanced as the technology in Shanghai. Mr. T mentioned Lake Erhai and the mountains, which may be significant to the citizens of Xizhou, as Xizhou lays between the two. 

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Hey guys! I'm Joanne, and I'm 14 years old, and this is my 8th year at SAS. I was born in the US, but now I live and go to school in Shanghai. Being in Xizhou is amazes me, and I am thrilled to be able to be chosen to go on this trip to Xizhou. On this trip, I mainly want to learn about the arts and culture at Xizhou. I hope to get to bond with others and have fun on this trip to Xizhou.