Evan S. (Alumni-W)'s Journal

There were many reasons why I wanted to go to Microcampus. Before I even knew what topic I was going to choose, I knew that I wanted to go to Xizhou because it was such a small and peaceful village. When I signed up, I did a bit of research. The pictures of the landscape were just amazing and I realized that this was somewhere I wanted to go to. The lake and the mountains were such an amazing view, and I haven't even seen the actual thing. Another reason I wanted to go is because of the experiences that I will have.

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Today we won the Trivia Night, even though we had the least amount of points at the end of the second round. During the second round, every team put in the maximum amount of points and tried to answer 6 out of 7 questions correct in order to double the points. If less than 6 questions are answered correctly, all points are lost. We were the only team to get everything correct and we won!

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I think that the most difficult thing to say goodbye to in Xizhou is the quiet spaces. There are rarely any spaces or times in Shanghai where everything is so quiet. I feel that once I return to Shanghai, I will think everything is very loud, opposite of what I thought when I first arrived. Another thing is the amount of freedom we get every day, from doing field research to still time at Erhai. This is limited in Shanghai due to the constant classes and activities every day.

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Today we presented our videos to our partners. Mr. T made us sit in front of the audience and observe their reactions to the video. I specifically focused on Mr. Tan, our Service Learning Partner. When I first met Mr. Tan, I thought that he was a very boring person who does not like to have conversations with others. When we observed him and did our bee role film, everything was of him sitting down and sleeping or setting up his shop, not very interesting. Today, I observed him watch our video. His reactions and facial expressions were something I have never seen before.

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When I woke up today, I tried to turn on the lights. After a few flicks, I realized that they could not turn on. Then I remembered that yesterday we had an electrical problem and that it continued today. Turns out, this wasn't the case. Today's power out was because of the storm in the morning. We had to walk 20 minutes to the Linden center to charge our laptops and continue out Service Learning Project. Hope this doesn't happen again, especially since we are so close to the deadline.

 

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Today was a very stressful and inefficient day, not because we chose to make it, but because there was a blackout. We all knew about this blackout before and all prepared for it, but it was not enough. Everyone's computer ran out of battery at least one time today and needed to walk to the Linden center to charge. Of the entire village, the Linden center was the only place which had electricity, which means the only place with WIFI and the only place with a working outlet. This was crucial because we are all working on our Service Learning video on iMovie and iMovie kills the battery.

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Although today is a weekend, we all needed to work on our Inquiry Work and our Service Learning project. I spent the whole morning finishing my video and my reflection and having a Pearls of Wisdom conversation with Mr. T. I feel that the Pearls of Wisdom conversation is very helpful and helped me identify many things that I could not have found myself. The advice that Mr. T gave me is very helpful, some things such as the transitions and keywords that need to be included in my video.

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After two hardworking days, I have finally finished a rough draft of my video, and way ahead of schedule. Obviously, I still need to improve on the video and make revisions but I have something. Now that I have done my video, I am not as stressed as when I started and when Mr. T first introduced the schedule. Next up on my schedule is Service Learning. This should be much better because we are working in a group of four and there is no research needed. Tomorrow I will work on my reflection and start doing Service Learning with my group.

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Today was not nearly as stressful as I thought it was going to be. First looking at the instructions, I thought there was going to be a lot of work. Now, I realize that as long as I mono-task and stay focused, it won't be too long. Today I have finished almost all of the script and recorded half of the whole thing. This is a little bit of what I wrote:

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Quote of the Day: “Be humble to see the mistakes, courageous enough to admit them, and wise enough to learn from them."

- Amine Ayad

Today we celebrated two people's birthday: Erin and Jasmine. We celebrated their birthday and ate cake and ice cream after lunch and before the Inquiry Project time. These are the second birthdays of the 2018 Microcampus trip, with Pepjin's birthday coming up in less than a week.

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Today, we finished our Phase 3 and talked about what would happen tomorrow. Based on the research I have done, I think my thesis statement is: To understand Bai music is Xiazou, one might consider the economics of making music, the theory of Bai music, and the preservation of Bai music. I think these three points should be what I focus on because those were the ones I did most research on. I also am very interested in those three topics. Tomorrow, we will be planning our final product in just one day and finish our product by Sunday.

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Today is the last of math, a relief for all of us but another thing came up. Today we talked about the schedule of the last two weeks related to our Final Inquiry Project video and Service Learning. Just listening to the presentation and Mr. T talk about all the work makes me nervous. I hope I will be efficient and get work done on time. Today is also the second to last day for Field Work. On Wednesday, we will start and finish Phase 4 and on Thursday, we will start to create our final video. Wish me luck;)

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On finit par se reposer aujourd'hui après une longue semaine. Aujourd'hui, nous nous sommes réveillés tard et mangé tard aussi. J'ai mangé des crêpes et du bacon pour le petit déjeuner. C'était très bon. Après le petit déjeuner, nous avons mis en place nos tentes pour les laisser sécher. C'est parce qu'il a plu la nuit dernière et nous tentes se sont humides. En attendant que nos tentes sèchent, nous avons fait notre lassive et a écrit notre réflexion de Wellness.

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The hike the second day was even better than the first. The hike was about 3-4 hours long and was very exciting, especially at the top of the mountain. I could see villages and the farmland below and the blue skies and fluffy clouds above. Some parts of the hike were flat and easy while others were slightly harder. The harder ones required more focus because they were steeper, rockier, and more dangerous. This reminds me of two of the four pillars in Microcampus.

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Since we were hiking and camping yesterday, I could not write my journal. Today, we returned from the journey, barely. I say this because yesterday night was freezing cold. The hike up the mountain was alright but sleeping in a tent that was covered in frost is not alright. Not only did the outside of the tent freeze, but the items inside froze as well, including our bags and sleeping bags. I could barely feel myself because of how cold the entire tent was. I was sleeping in a -4 degrees Celcius sleeping bag and I was cold.

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Today I went to a music festival at a bordering village of Xiahou. The festival is supposed to be a birthday celebration for a god that saved the Bai people. Legend says that all the gods wanted to burn all the humans on Earth except one. That one god didn't want the people to die and tried to save them, he eventually did and sacrificed his own life along the way. This is why Bai people celebrate their birthday every year. Luckily for us, we got to attend the festival and watch the music and chanting. I also met some people I had conversations with in the past such as Mr. Yang and Mrs.

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Today, I went to a music festival in a bordering village of Xizhou. The festival is supposed to be a birthday celebration for a god that saved the Bai people. Legend says that all the gods wanted to burn all the humans on earth except for one. The one god who did not want the people to die tried to save the people and eventually did, sacrificing himself along the way. This is why people celebrate his birthday every year. Luckily for us, we got to see the music and the chanting. I also met some people I had conversations with in the past such as Mr. Yang and Mrs. Duan.

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Today I had a conversation with Mrs. Duan. This was not my plan A or my plan B, but my plan C. We thought that there was a performance at 1 pm today but turns out it was tomorrow. I hope to go see that performance tomorrow and learn from the musicians. Mrs. Duan plays various instruments including the Erhu and Sanxian. Her husband also plays many instruments. They own a yarn shop at the edge of the wet market. I may or may not visit them again depending on the information I am gathering.

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People say that without rain, nothing grows. Today, we got our first glance of rain in Xizhou. When I got out of bed, it was freezing, much colder than normal. Throughout the day, it kept raining, sometimes stopping for a couple of minutes. Even when the sky is blue without clouds in sight, the rain just kept on falling. After lunch was when it was worst, pouring down into the courtyard and blown into our faces and computers. I hope for the rain to stop soon, so I will have a better time for my Inquiry Project.

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Today is just a normal day, SAS work, daily meetings, lunch, WIPPIS and so on. I have not had Inquiry Time yet, so I do not have my research done yet. I hope to have a conversation with Mr. Yang again, this time about the lyrical structure of Bai music. I also hope to learn whether he knows other musicians that can support me in my research. When I am done with all my research, I hope to learn the music of Bai and hopefully try to learn an instrument. Since Mr.

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Today was a very stressful day. This was because a whole lot of teachers came, including principals from SAS and our social studies teacher. We also started to work again, WIPPIS and all. Today was efficient for me, having a great conversation with a soloist who self-taught himself many traditional Chinese instruments. I hope to talk to him again in the future to learn more about his experiences and his goals for spreading this culture. Mr. Zhang plays the SanXian, Yueqing, and many other instruments that are specific to the Bai ethnic group.

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There's nothing happening today since it's a weekend. I hope to go outside and make more connections with the villagers and spend time with my friends.

"May your weekend be full of adventure and cheer, and may the start of next week be a long way from here."

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Today was the introduction to service learning and Mr. T gave an interesting lecture called 150 years in 150 minutes. He explained the Chinese history from the Late Qing dynasty all the way to modern day. I learned a lot today, maybe more about Chinese history than I have ever learned. Mr. T said that Chinese history is not 5000 years long, it's 100 years long but repeated 50 times. The cycle just repeats from new leadership to reforming to improving and so on.

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I had a wonderful day today. Not only did I have a great time doing inquiry project work, but we also visited wind turbines on the top of the mountain. During the inquiry project, I visited Mr. Zhang, a very welcoming erhu player. He told me many information and as well as his opinion of traditional Chinese music in Xizhou. He also allowed me to play is Erhu and film him playing a traditional Bai piece. I hope to interact with him again.

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Today is day 5 of our adventure in Xizhou. One interesting fact that I picked up is that if this were a China Alive trip, we would already be heading back to Shanghai. For our Microcampus trip, it feels like it just started. Today, I went outside with my chaperone Mr. Yang. Mr. Yang is a local who knows many people, including those who I would like to have conversations. Two people that I wanted to talk to were busy. Mr. Yang (not my chaperone) was out of town, and Mr. Zhao was playing Majiang with his friends. Mr, Yang did find someone else that could help me with my research. Ms.

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The highlight of today was riding bikes in a group out of the small village of Xizhou and around Lake Er. Although the bikes were not in the best decision, the journey was very interesting and the view was even better. My favorite view were the mountains with a village and farmlands below. Today was also the first day we saw blue skies with little clouds. The past two days haven't had the best weather but today ws much better, it was also a lot warmer during the mornings. I enjoy the weather here in Xizhou.

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Today I discovered many things, things that made me go "Aha!" Since today was the first day at Xizhou, it wasn't as hardcore and mostly about introducing the village and the people. One disturbing experience is when I saw a woman in the wet market slaughter a chicken in front of the public and customers. This was especially disturbing because it isn't something I see everyday in Shanghai, not even in a Shanghai wet market, where the chicken or any kind of meat is already cut and packed. Another intresting thing I found in the wet market was a cow tail.

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Today, our W group of Microcampus students traveled to Xizhou. When I woke up, I did not feel ready for the trip. Knowing I would not see my parents or a majority of my friends for 28 days, I did not know what I would do. I was definitely not prepared for what was ahead of me. My mom and I arrived at the airport at about 9:40, I thought I arrived really early which made me even more nervous. Only when I saw everyone else, did I start to calm down. After that, everything was normal, on the plane for 4 hours, then the bus for another hour. Finally we arrived in the town of Xizhou.

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I have never been to Xizhou but based on my background information about the place and it's culture, I can make some assumptions. I know that Xizhou is next to Erhai and surrounded by mountains and lush forests. Xizhou has a elevation of about 200 meters and is located on a fertile plateau in between the mountains and Erhai.

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From the minute I entered middle school everyone was talking about two things. China Alive and Microcampus. I have already joined China Alive twice but have never experienced going to Microcampus. I love to visit new places and discover the culture and secrets. I am very excited about this experience which is only a couple months away.

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My name is Lifan S, but I prefer Evan. I am part of the Wildfires microcampus group which traveled to Xizhou for 28 days in 2019. I loved the trip, all the challenges, and the easy parts as well. I encourage others to attend the program because it is truly a once in a lifetime experience.