Yi Fei C. (Alumni-B)'s Journal

I joined Microcampus to learn, to explore what the "less-traveled" China has to offer, and to more importantly learn understand and learn about myself. I came to Xizhou to do things that is not offered in Shanghai, and what cannot be necessarily learned on the internet and on textbooks. Unlike school that lasts around seven hours, In Xizhou you are always learning, 24 hours in 28 days, there is so much to learn. Everything that you do here matters. I came here mainly because I wanted to step out of my comfort zone for a while.

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Today is the last full day in microcampus, we leave YZR (our campus) at 6:30 tomorrow morning. This is the time for me to wrap up my work, make sure that everything is in place on the website, say goodbyes to the people of Xizhou, and of course buy something to take back home. The sourviner that I have in mind currently is a sharp historical artifact that will not be revealed to the public. I realized that I have come very very far (literally and figuratively). In some ways, I honestly do not wish to go back home.

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Mr. Zhao and our group have built a very close bond, I feel that it is a shame that we couldn't stay a few more days in Xizhou. I no feel that I am just using him as a project, but rather to engage in significant conversations with him. During our last meeting, we met him in the courtyard of our campus, he is our security guard after all. The conversations we had with him didn't really feel like it is a project, it felt more like just daily normal conversations. At the end of the meeting we invited him to come today at three to share with him what we had created. Mr.

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Today, we took another trip to Dali Old Town. We had a lot of fun, and this was the first time I went to the "polite primate" resturant, the food was okay I guess :D There isn't really much to talk about but I took a few photos, enjoy! 

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It has been another busy day for me. Here is the list of things that I needed to do during the day: finish inquirt final product, interview my service learning partner, make a service learning video, write a seven paragraph essay for L.A., and of course take a nap. Luckily, yesterday I was quite productive and managed to complete three of my objectives. However, I still have to create the service learning video and get approval for my inquiry final product. Hopefully, I would be able to complete doing so today. 

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Yes. Today we all decided to make dumpling (most of us did at least). Under the guidance of Mr. T, rank 2 of the international association of dumpling making federation association (there were only two members of the association) we all managed to make "edible" dumplings. Most of the dumplings that us students made broke apart, there were pieces of meat and vegetables floating around after the dumplings were cooked, and the skin of the dumpling was somewhat thick.

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On day twenty-one I was invited to go on a buying trip with Mr. Yang Shu. So basically at around four o'clock or so I recieved a call from Mr. T telling me that I should hurry and go towards the town square to meet with Mr. Yang. This was really great experience for me, I now finally understand what an antique dealer does, and how they would go out on buying trips. Also I learnt a lot about the people of the village and just antiques in general. Overall, I would be extremely happy to go on another trip soon (If I was invited). 

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Day 20 at Microcampus, and today Chris and I once again decided to not follow the group to SFJ (The town's square) but into the market for lunch. There was mainly two reasons for this, one because we wanted to try something new, and two because Chris was somewhat short on his lunch money due to some random reason that will not be revealed. Anyway, I remember last time we decided to do so. Last time I got a giant bowl of rice with a bunch of other foods on it, there was some meat, some veggies but they kind of just tasted the same.

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Another normal day, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing too exciting. Today we woke up as usual, ate breakfast, had a bunch of meetings, caught up with school work, and worked on our inquiry project. Just by looking at the title of this journal post one could assume that we are currently stressed out by the amount of work we are recieving, but I just did that to get your attention. Well you see, the abstract concept of work in microcampus is extremely different from SAS.

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During WIPPI time (wellness, inquiry project, pitching in) something finally occured to be about my inquiry project. After being told over and over again that it would take a long long time to finally be able to identify the reals and the fakes in the antique industry, today at around 2:05 I finally decided to accept that. This does not mean that I'm going to just give up on my topic, it's just that I may have to change to focus of my topic. Therefore today I talked to T.

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After our three day hike we are finally back at YZR, the place we are staying in Yunnan. I really feel that nothing during P.E. class would cause me to complain any more because compared to this hike P.E. is nothing. What exactly would be the worse activity that we would do during P.E.? Mile run? Beep test? I mean seriously, nothing seems as challenging anymore. Anyway I'm glad to be back at YZR, I just can't wait till I can just jump into my bed and sleep. Hopefully I would be able to do so for eleven hours or so, I can't wait till tomorrow!  

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Day 15 of Microcampus, as mentioned in the day 14 blog post we hiked for 8 hours up to a place called Da Hua Dian Ba. Due to the rain we were forced to sleep inside in the rooms of this area, which is actually quite comfortable (compared to sleeping outside in the rain at least!). Da Hua Dian Ba is around 2900 meters high from sea level and for day 15 we all hiked up to another area called Xiao Hua Dian Ba which is 3200 meters high from sea level. This hike was quite frankly even tougher than the other 8 hour hike even though it is significantly shorter.

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On day 14 we had the hike, this was unlike any other hike I've done. The hike ended up to be around 8 hours long up to Hua Dian Ba, I've never remembered to be this tired before. As tiring as the hike was it was definitely worth it, the view was absolutely amazing, and it just felt really good after the hike knowing that it was over. As soon as we arrived we were hungry and tired, we changed and ran immediately to dinner. I seriously didn't even care what we were served I just ate it, later I was told that it was yak meat.

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Nothing really exhilarating happened to day, it was just another normal day (breakfast, meetings, wellness, inquiry project, pitching in); however, I did start identifying interesting snacks and foods in this area. According to Mark and Clara there are seaweed, corn, cucumber, beef, tomato, chilly flavored chips, but original salted potato chips are not to be seen. Also we noticed that there was peach and apple flavored Fanta. I've never really seen these items in Shanghai, but by all means these don't exactly taste that bad (not saying that they taste good).

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Today we visited a place called Sha Ba, a weekly farmer's market. The place had basically no tourists at all, we were the only ones there that are not from that area. The market was just like an open air Carrefore, just a lot better; there was a large range of items sold at the area including wood, food, clothing, antiques, religious items, cooking items, spices, and even live animals! Compared to Dali old town I would much ratherly prefer this place, I am looking forward to revisiting the market sometime during Microcampus. Hopefully, we will be able to return sometime soon. 

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Puns, probably the worst possible way to make students laugh. For all who don't know what a pun is, a pun is basically a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the act that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings. Anyway after a year and then some being with T. these seem to be becoming more and more entertaining, the fact that they are lame and not funny at all makes it extremely humorous.

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Today we had another normal day, which would basically be having SAS essentials and meetings in the mornings and WIPPI time in the afternoon. I can't believe how fast time passes, it has already been ten days, only eighteen to go! When I get back to Shanghai, I would deffinetly miss the fresh air and the blue sky here. Anyway, today I revisited Mrs. Ma, an antique expert I visited last week. She has been a major help to my Inquiry project. However, today I didn't get quite as much information as last time, I just can't come up with any questions to ask.

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Day 9, We returned from our camping trip, it's weird how you notice more things during the night. Today we went biking again, luckily we didn't get lost. I think that the best way of getting to know the surroundings is definetly either by walking or by biking. It allows you to fully experience being outside unlike being inside a car. The view was amazing, It was really a nice experience. Today was actually our first free day, we had basically the entire day to chill. I can not wait till next week! 

 

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On day eight, six of the students in Microcampus volunteered to go camping that night, and I was one of them. I really feel that my view on camping has changed, I used to think that camping was on a flat piece of grass land, with not a lot of trees around. Now I know that this is not the case. We were taken to a swampy place next to the lake, the ground was rough, there were trees at every corner, and we even found a bone on the ground! We arrived there are around five something at night when the sun was still up, the place seemed awesome!

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I woke up at 6:30 A.M. as usual, and in the morning I was still a tiny bit tired from yesterday. Today was our second outing we had during microcampus to a place called Zhou Cheng, four of us including me biked to the place, which was tiring but fun. For lunch we had a bunch of unusual foods including treebark. A lot of the dishes tasted somewhat weird, but I was ok with that, seeing that I have eaten things that are worse. Afterwards we visited a tie-dye factory. Before this I never knew that tie-dying was such a hard job that required lot of focus.

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Well, Today was what was known as a normal day (not normal at all in my opinion). A normal day in Shanghai would be get up go to school, back to home, finish homework, then sleep. However, here it is very different, we would wake up and eat breakfast, then have a bunch of meetings, afterwards we would have lunch and then just 5 hours of time that is self organized. During this time we would be able to scout around the village, read a book, and ever sleep! But, no matter what you do, the most important thing is just to get your work done.

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During "Terrace Time" Chris and I decided to go out into the fields instead of going to the Linden Center or staying at the campus (YZR). The moment we entered the fields we realized that this was a horrible idea, the ground was uneven and we could easily fall into water. As the unsmart and impulsive children as we are, we decided to walk right in. We decided to walk five hundred meters away from the village to a bunch of trees in the middle of the field,  All around us were stunning, luxuriant green crops.

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In Xizhou I learnt that you really have to be more deliberate in your actions. In microcampus, if one makes a mistake, everyone is affected. For example, if you were to be too loud in your rooms, everyone in the entire campus would be able to hear, therefore not being able to sleep. This is still happening, well, I'm probably one of the sources of it, but we've been told over and over again. In order to fully enjoy this experience we have to be more resonsible in our actions, knowing that every action would affect someone else.

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The Linden Center is an amazing unique hotel kind of venue, very different from all those four start/ five star hotels. Today we revisted the terrace of the place for what is known as terrace time. I feel that this is really something that we should all do more often. The idea of terrace time is to do nothing, something that we definetly do not do enough of, this concept allows one to finally be able to relax and reflect on everything one has done.

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Today, with our chaperones we explored the village of Xizhou, we had our first meal on our own away from the campus itself, we farmiliarlized ourselves with our surroundings, and started to get more comfortable with talking with the local "strangers". There are major differences between Shanghai and Xizhou, here there are no tall buildings at all, the sky is clear, and the buildings are old. Thoughout the first day I've also noticed that the people in Xizhou are very different.

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After a four hours flight, and a seven hour bus ride, we finally arrived at Xizhou Yunnan at 7:30 PM. The place we are currently staying in is amazing, and I think that I would not have any problem adapting to Microcampus life! I can't wait to explore the village. The food is really taste here, a lot better than sodexo, and we have everything we need at the campus. I still fear that I might have problems not being able to meet deadlines, and falling behind. Also I have a tendency of forgeting important matters and events.

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Hi, I'm Yi Fei and I've survived attending this Microcampus program. Being in Yunnan has been a delightful experience, I learnt quite a lot about the place we stayed at and about myself as a person. I am honored to have been able to attend this program.