Emilly L. (Alumni-W)'s Journal

"No matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away." 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore 

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Last full day in Xizhou. 

Spring 2019 Microcampus is coming to an end. 

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." 
                                                                             -Dr. Seuss

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Sitting there watching the audience watch our video, without looking at the video ourselves was an unusual experience. Due to the lighting, I was not able to see our partner, Ms. Zhang's facial expression clearly, but without a doubt, she was touched and caught some emotion toward the end of the video presented. After the sharing, Ms. Zhang told us that this is the most interesting and happy week with us in comparison with staying at home and selling flower crowns.

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After Mr.T's Pearls of Wisdom, supporting teach check, then once again Mr.T's Pearls of Wisdom, comes to an end of service learning video making and editing. Tomorrow will be service learning sharing our findings with the community and saying a big thank for 'hosting' us for 28 days. As we are wrapping up for inquiry project and service learning, we appreciate all the members in this community not only the ones that helped us through the projects but also the ones that were behind the scenes, thank all our Yang Zhuo Ran participants, and our Xizhou community. 

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In the morning waking up, hearing the thunder, knowing something must be going wrong, unexpected blackout. The electricity meant to resume by 11 pm yesterday, but due to the thunder and lightning, there goes another power outage for half of the day today. Wrapping up service learning and inquiry project the last few days we can just chill. 

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We were informed ahead of time that there will be no electricity today from 7 am to 11 pm. In the morning when using our bathroom, my first move was to turn on the lights and I realized there will be no electricity for the next 17hours. No light. No wifi. No electricity to charge computers when using iMovie for hours. Going out to SiFangJie seeing most of the stores having generators, all foggy in the air, the sky turning grey, I thought to myself, why can't today just be a restful day.

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Inquiry project and service learning ready for T-check! Mr.Tafel's Pearls of Wisdom sounds pretty scary, and it is actually pretty scary, maybe. 20 minutes talk is 1,200seconds talking and revising for the final inquiry project. Hours working on the inquiry project and now, we have to revise it? With inquiry project and service learning in mind, still time becomes unstill. Like I've said, the last few days will be really busy. 

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The next whole week will be busy days. Every one of us has to finish our inquiry project, fully. Along with the service learning group project. Writing a journal every day is actually hard, due to the time we have each day. Hopefully, none of our service learning partner will have any discrepancy on what they have managed together. Even with the large amount of work we need to do, do not forget, work hard, play hard. 

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After finishing Phase 3 and Phase 4, now working on the Final Phase. Reporting and reflecting on our findings on this trip. It is not something easy to manage. With inquiry project and service learning nearly to their due dates I am becoming a buddle of nerves. 5 hours left to finish all our inquiry project. That's A LOT. Final Phase with reflection, video, and script to write. But either way, I have to finish my project, proudly. 

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Phase 4. I finished a Phase during two hours of inquiry project time. Remember yesterday I was still stuck on Phase 3 and today I finished Phase 4. Phase 4 is all about preparing to share out thoughts and findings that lead to the final product of Microcampus inquiry project. 9 days until departure. 6 days until service learning project is due. And most of all 4 days until the final inquiry project is due. 

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Starting to create the final product. Step by step chose the cloth, any designs need to be drawn on the cloth, tightening all the strings, boil the cloth, chose the color of dye, dye it, oxidize, wash, final product. It took me about 2 hours from choosing the cloth to dyeing the product. At first, I thought that I couldn't even start the process because the workshop has crowed with customers and consumers. They were like batches of robots, the second batch in, the first batch out, in and out, in and out. Looking at them, I started thinking: Would I even get a chance to start my thing?

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Service Learning is just not on the right track. After days and days of field research, service learning had become even harder to keep track of. Being rejected by tons of elderlies isn't a good sign. Today, again, we went to Ms.Yang, age 64, really talkative and willing to share her story to us, but she rejected us. She was scared that after the filming process we will share her story to the whole entire world and she will be laughed at by other elders in Xizhou.

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Harsh day...Our destination is Sha Xi, we climbed the mountains between Shi Long Village and Sha Xi. Up and down, up and down the narrow path in the mountains. The most complicated path I have been on before. I could never see a picture of myself climbing the mountains, with an unkempt and unwashed appearance. Totally an "unseenable" scene. Throughout the way I've heard people calling out, "Look! Our destination, the white building with six windows on." I have never imagined the building that looks meters away from me is actually worth another hour of hiking.

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Today is my first time for both hiking and camping, it's good management for personal growth and working through challenges, but it is definitely not a good memory due to the freezing night. Freezing cold that it even cause the plants and our tent to frost. Other than that it was all "cool." Our campsite is at a place called Shi Long Village roughly two hours bus ride, beside a wide river on the mountain. Today is the first day of hiking, we went to a small village, two-hour hike away from our campsite.

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Another day of Happy Embroidery, I started working on a piece of embroidery because it just caught my eye after seeing the pieces made by the experts. Some took years and some took weeks. Well, I like all of them, but there is just one that I couldn't move my eye from. A lion head with aurora colored background hanging there on the wall, it was just amazing. I don't even know how to describe it. Afterward, when I started my own piece I found the differ from a master and a beginner. Tough time.

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“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." 
                                                                                                           -Warren Buffett

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"It is impossible to keep a straight face in the presence of one or more kittens." 
                                                                                             -Cynthia E. Varnado

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"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." 
                                                                                                                    - Warren Buffett

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A fresh start of week 2. Guests from Pudong and Puxi came in in the morning during our daily meeting. Spent time with three teachers/guests biking to Lake Er, part of my wellness schedule. Met my fifth-grade home base/writing/math teacher and sixth-grade science teacher! Looking forward to spend the week with them. 

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"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." 
                                                                                 -Albert Einstein 

"Creativity is intelligence having fun." 
                                                                                 -Albert Einstein

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Chinese history is not 5000years it's 100years repeated for 50 times. 150minutes about Chinese history was pretty interesting in the first hour, but it turned out to be not as interesting as I thought it would be just like Mr.Tafel has mentioned at the beginning.  

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Half day trip to the tie-dye factory and Lanxu in ZhouCheng, along with Becky, Joanne, Emily, Jasmine, Cathleen, and Jake. We learned about the history of tie-dye and the corresponding color of the flowers in Lanxu. In the factory, we looked at the different techniques, different patterns, and the different products it could make. Mr.Jake taught us the process of making the dyes. The dyes have life and could live for days or years. A red color flower could obtain green dye and some green leaves could actually make pink dyes. Though it was quite confusing. 

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A phrase I heard today from Mr.Tafel: 

When you are pointing at someone, "someones'" flaw, blaming others, take a look at the three fingers that are pointed back to yourself. 

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Today is the first day that we go in the wild by ourselves. Student-led morning meeting sitting on The Chair, organized WIPPIS time (wellness, inquiry project, pitching in, still time), and the lunch/dinner rotation. Everything turned serious. During lunchtime we head out to the market, our small group went into a restaurant with a woman and her child. We were in a hurry because it's almost our time to lead into our next "time period." Later, we ordered our food and saw that woman with her child on her back asleep.

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The first day of wellness, bike riding around the Lake Er. 10minutes of still time right in front of ErHai, I am impressed by how calm it is. It's just the wind, the cloud, and the sky. Hard to describe, but definitely, a great experience that I never thought of. The biking route in between the rapeseeds flower on the new road was refreshing and a whole new world. Another experience was at SiFangJie the restaurant owners would just come up to us and say, "你们太飞老师特别喜欢我家的砂锅米线!” That just sounded really warm in the heart. 

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The sun rose from East (Erhai) at 07:30 am, and sunset at 08:00 pm. The coldest time period in Xizhou is in the morning when the sun just rises. The architecture of Yang Zhou Ran is designed to adapt to the environment, the sun rotation. The Yang Zhou Ran is designed like a square because at noon the sun is right on top of Yang Zhou Ran and the square allows the sunlight, the warmness to orbit around the rooms and reflect off the walls. Learning day! 

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The day that we arrived at Xizhou, 10hours traveling from Shanghai to Xizhou. 10 in the morning at the airport to 8 pm arrived at YangZhuoRan. We took at least 30minutes to pack all 16 suitcases underneath the vehicle, I was surprised that all the adults stepped back and gave us spaces to work it out ourselves. The bus stopped in front of 东院, and we got a 15minutes walk, carrying our hiking backpack, daily bag, AND our suitcases into YangZhuoRan. To be honest, I hated the walk.

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Although I've never been to Yunnan or Xizhou before, I have heard about Yunnan's significance from others. Yunnan has lower buildings, unlike the skyscrapers in Shanghai. Xizhou is one of the most famous historical and cultural towns in Yunnan province. Also, Xizhou is well known because of the distance from Lake Er, which has a certain status among the residence of Xizhou. From the pictures I have seen from researches, the majority of the population is the elderly and children because most of the middle-aged residence moved to bigger cities for a better opportunity for their career. 

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Hi! My name is Emilly, I am currently 14 years old. I got the opportunity to travel with 15 other peers, along with Mr. T, Ms. Mai, and Sofie. I am a member of the Wildfires 2019 Microcampus group. Throughout the trip, we are fully exposed to the real world outside of our Shanghai Bubble. During the 28 days, we need to be responsible for our own actions and keeping ourselves inside the "Box." This experience was one of the most fascinating experience I have ever had in my life. The 28 days adventure was something that I will cherish forever.