Clara C. (Alumni-B)'s Journal

Its our last full day in Xizhou and we are heading back home to Shanghai. Honestly, it doesn't seem like it has already been four weeks since we arrived. Time has gone too fast since we were enjoying ourselves so much. Today was a day filled with goodbyes and finishing up. We finished off everything that we needed to do today such as Inquiry Projects, Service Learning and our final wellness reflections. We were also able to say goodbye to all the people that had welcomed us here in Xizhou. Packing was another big thing for us.

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The list of reasons why I came to Microcampus would just go on and on. But if I were to choose some big reasons why I came here then I would have about three to five reason. The first reason why I came to Microcampus was for the experience outside of the "bubble". I wanted to experience a life where we didn't always rely of technology and a life where we could interact more with the out doors. A bike ride about Erhai just with friends would never be as good as just a bike ride with friends back in Shanghai.

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Today we shared our final product videos with our Service Learning partners and they seemed very satisfied with what we had created. The presentations started at around 3:00 P.M. but Mr. Yang being a very busy man with a busy restaurant, he came a bit late. But he still was able to see the video that we had created and he seemed very happy about it. I couldn't really see his face since I was sitting behind him but I when I heard him laugh when watching our video, I could tell that he was enjoying it. I felt very relieved when I heard his reaction because I was unsure whether Mr.

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Today we went to Dali Old Town! YAY! *throws conffetti*  But before we went to Dali Old Town, we had to do a lot of work for our Inquiry and Service Learning projects. I was able to finish designing the Microcampus gate before leaving for Dali Old Town. I felt really proud of what I had created. My group also was able to finish our service learning videos today. I felt really proud of that too. 

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BUSY DAY TODAY. FULL OF WORK TO DO AND FINISH. Today was a day where we worked on finishing our Inquiry and Service Learning projects. Today I was able to 100% finish the outline and structure of the gate. I also was able start on my reflection and finish the introduction for the Final Product stage. I was very happy and proud of the gate that I had designed. I made about twenty or more changes to the design of the gate since the first time I started working on the design of it. Now I need to put the details of the gate on and the photos for it too.

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Today we made dumplings for dinner! There were two teams that made the dumplings, the dumpling skin making team and there was the actual dumpling making team. I was on the dumpling making team and I got to learn how to make this special type of dumpling from Xiao Tang. After numerous amount of trials, I was able to make that kind of dumpling quite well. According to Xiao Tang, about half of the chinese people didn't know how to make those kinds of dumplings. I felt quite proud that I learned how to make them.

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Yes. Read the title people and don't ask why since I'm going to explain. If I wasn't going to then what's the point of the title. Logic people. Logic. (forgive me for my crankiness. I am NOT in a good mood) Anyways today started out nice. I was able to wake up after 8:00 A.M. I was able to do some great things with my inquiry project and service learning project. I had some good laughs, played some badminton and I had a lot of great food. And then everything just had to turn upside down just after I had dinner. For meals today, we went to Ms.

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Today was played this great game of 5 star badminton. It's complicated to understand (and explain) so I'll just leave it to there.....At first, it started with the boys playing the game with Mr. T being the captain. Then the girls played their round of 5 star badminton. Peyton was the captain for the girl's team and I was just taking photos of the game at first. After that, Ashley left to do her own...things so I joined the team and played in the place of her. It was actually very amusing (to watch and to be a part of).

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IT'S DAY 20. ONLY 8 DAYS LEFT. O.M.G. Today we finished our Phase 3. Vicky, Yifei and I went out to the market to do some more research on our project. Yifei went to antique stores while Vicky and I went towards the market to take pictures that would help us with our inquiry project. I took photos of entry gates while Vicky took photos of what the local people were wearing. One funny part of this trip was when Yifei called me and a dog started barking in the alleyway. Vicky managed to "over bark" it so the dog stopped barking. That was one funny sight to see.

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Today I was able to talk to the same person from Tongji University and find out more information. I think I was able to confirm answers and get all my questions answered as well. Another thing we did today was a girls' bike ride around for about two hours. We went to this temple that was not for tourist attractions. The unique part of this place was that it seemed to be a self made temple by the people who actually lived because the proportions were not the same and each and ever part look special and different in it's own way.

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We only have 10 days left till we go home! Time sure flies fast. Today was the first normal day we had in a LONG time. Well not that long but still, it feels like a long time since then. We went back to our normal schedule of having breakfast at 7:30 A.M., terrace time after that, daily meeting, SAS Essentials, WIPPI time and all the other things we usually do.

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I have to say, I had the best sleep I have ever had during the week. In the morning, my shoulders were aching and my feet hurt but I felt well rested. During the morning, all we did was write our journals/copy them down from what we did during the hike, write down our weekly wellness reflections and finish our SAS essentials. Luckily, I had already done my essentials before we left for the trip. At around 3:00 P.M., we headed to Dali Old Town!!! YAY! That was probably the greatest treat :P. At Dali Old Town, Sujin, Vicky, Ashley and I bought quite a few things.

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LAST DAY FOR THE HIKE! I don't if I should be celebrating or be upset. Well this morning I was celebrating because I couldn't wait to get into my cozy bed in YZR. It was FREEZING so Sujin and I (we shared a tent) ended up waking up at around 2:00 A.M. shivering even though we were wearing a bunch of layers. In the end we ended up sharing both our sleeping bags. I have to say, I really thank my Mom for telling me to bring an extra jacket or else I would have probably frozen to death which would not have been pleasant.

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Today was a better day. It was sunnier, shorter and i had music to distract myself. We were planning on camping at Xiao Hua Dian Ba but we couldn't go with that plan since it was short of snowy and the weather didn't seem that good for camping outside. After that we were given two options. To go to Xiao Hua Dian Ba and camp in the courtyard of the inn we were staying in the previous day or to head back to Xizhou. With voting about five times, we decided to go to Xiao Hua Dian Ba and come back to camp.

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"I FEEL ALIVE" quoted from Sujin Han. Yes indeed, I did FEEL alive but if feeling cold and extremely tired meant I felt alive, I'm not sure if I wan to feel it all the time.....I have to say we experienced all four seasons in a matter of 8 hours. Yes not even one day, EIGHT HOURS. We went through the heat, the windy, rain, lightening, thunder and HAIL. Hail as in giant ice cubes falling from the sky (okay I'm exaggerating now  it wasn't giant ice cubes falling from the sky but small pieces of ice).

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Its one day before the BIG hike we're going to do. It's going to be a three day hike/camping trip. I very excited yet kind of nervous because I'm not used to very long hikes and I can't stand the cold for too long. Today we managed to pack everything we need for the hike. This consists of sleeping bag, rain jacket, wind proof jacket, clothes, food, phone, toothbrush, water bottle, notepad and other things too (I can't really remember everything at the moment).

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Today we went shopping in Shaping. Where we went was a market that had no tourists and was basically completely for the local people there. It was fairly interesting because it was so different to a market in Shanghai or one I had been to in Singapore. They sold spices, trees, clothes, food and other things. Most of us just bought a bunch of food and found out new snacks that were really good. Xiao Tang bought some two small trees which were for YZR. They look very nice.

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Today was another normal day. We had breakfast, meeting, SAS essentials and WIPPI. During WIPPI we managed to get go biking near the Eihai Lake but it started raining a bit so we ended up coming back. The sad fact was that the rain stopped in about three minutes after we decided to go back but it was too late to change our decision. Another interesting thing that happened was when Sujin and I went to the Linden Centre, I saw a room which had it's carpets taken off and the mats that they put under the carpets.

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I am very surprised by that fact that it is already day 10 of being here in Xizhou. Time sure flies fast. It was raining a lot today so most of us ended up getting soaked. It wasn't really what I called a very pleasant day as my clothes ended up all wet. Not a big fan of rain sometimes :P. Today Mr. T, Ms. Mai, Nick and I met this really nice lady. Her name was Mrs. Liu and she was just extremely sweet. She lived in this house with three other families really near SiFangJie. Her house was one of the older types and it was also a great place. Mrs.

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Today was pretty much a learning day. I went outside with Mr. T and Cass at first and went into this house which had a fire before. It was pretty much deserted but I could still see the structure of it and it was just amazing looking at the ruined pieces that were still there. I am planning on going there again one day.

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WEEKEND IS HERE. Today we sort of got to sleep in but I had to wake up before 8:00 A.M. since I needed to work on my inquiry project. After working on that, Sujin and I had to get our laundry done. It was kind confusing at first because we first didn't get how to do them. It was the first time doing the laundry for both of us. It took us a while to get set since we started our laundry kind of late.

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Another half day outing today! Today we went to Zhou Cheng. We first visited the tie dye place and learned to make our own. There were two designs to choose from which was either the flower or the butterfly. I chose to make the flower. What we would basically do is sew the dots together….kind of hard to explain with words. Honestly, it was a quite a long process with me making mistakes here and there. After that we went to the kindergarten and played with some kids.

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Today was very…exciting. During WIPPI time, Mr. T and I visited this man who made caskets/coffins. He said that everything was handmade. They looked very nice. But the highlight of that part was when he asked me how old I was. I told him I was fourteen but for some reason, he thought I was twenty four (very weird indeed :P). That was just….strange. Well the MAIN highlight of today was when I went biking with Vicky, Sujin, Yifei and Nick. We went down to the Erhai Lake and had a bit of exploring.

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HALF DAY OUTING! Today we went to Dali Old Town. We first had went on a short hike for about twenty minutes and then came across a lake/pond place. Most of us were skipping stones and just having fun exploring the place. We also had our terrace time there. We got to relax and I really enjoyed the sound of the water flowing. After that we went to the tea plantation and drank all sorts of tea.  We got pick the tea leaves ourselves and actually make the tea. It was really cool.

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It's already day four!! Wow time goes faster than I thought. Well today was the first time we experienced the how a normal day in Microcampus would go. We first had breakfast, then terrace time at the Linden Centre followed by daily meeting, SAS essentials and lunch. After the lunch was the highlight of the day. We had this thing called WIPPI time (Wellness.Inquiry Project.Pitching In) where we had five hours to do things as we pleased (but had to try and get most of our things done).

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Today was a much relaxing day. We didn't spend a lot of time outside and had a lot of downtime. I personally really enjoyed today a lot. In the morning we got to go to the Linden Centre and enjoy some terrace time. After that we came back and had our first actual meeting with the the B4 crew. We also did a lot of things such as going to the Linden Centre recreation room. I enjoyed a good game of table tennis and pool.

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First day actually in Xizhou! Today we were able to go around the actual village and visit a few places. We met a lot of Mr. Yang's and had lunch outside of Yang Zhuo Ran in the square. I think the highlight for my day today was the horse carriage ride. We got to go very close to the river and got to see parts of the village we couldn't see before. The person who took us there was also called Mr. Yang and his horse was called Apple. He was very friendly and nice to us.

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We have arrived!! After about 14 hours from when our group met in Hongqiao airport, we arrived in Yang Zhuo Ran in Xizhou. During the bus ride, we took photos, looked at the scenery and some of us just took a nap. Most of the photos that I took weren't that good due to the lighting and the reflection caused by the window. Before we went on the trip, I thought there was going to be a really long time before we left to Xizhou but in reality, it was much shorter than I expected. Now I just can't believe that I am here.

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Hey I'm Clara. I'm an 8th Grader in Shanghai American School Puxi. I am Korean though I've lived in Korea for four years, the US for two, Singapore for six and Shanghai for about a year and a half. I love challenges and trying new things. I so excited about being in Xizhou.