Nike H. (Alumni-B)'s Journal

I have always been an outdoorsy person. This trait might not be something another person will see in me immediately, but its there. Ever since I moved to Shanghai, I have not seen a real forest, a lake with mountains on all sides, or a flock of birds flying over a bright green field. I have been craving the beauty of nature since the day I lost it, and I came here to quench that thirst. I came here to leave the bustling, smoggy, competitive Shanghai.

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Oh my gosh. Today is the  last day of Microcampus. I am sitting in one of the chair outside, bundled in sweatshirts because it is really windy, looking at Yang Zhou Ran. I am thinking about how wonderful it all has been and how much I love Xizhou and this group. I am going to cherish today and make it a really great day. 

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Today at around 2:50, Jason, Chris, Clara and I went to the Golden Flower restaurant to pick up Mr. Yang for the service learning presentation! On the way there, we ran into Alex, Vicky and Brandon with Mrs. Dou, the tofu lady, and Vicky told us that Mr. Yang would not be able to come! We quickly rushed to the town square, hoping that Mr. Yang was just joking, because  it wouldn't be something we would be surprised about. Unfortunately, he was not joking, but he said that he would come at around 3:30.

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I can't believe today is already the 25th of Mircocampus. It has gone by incredibly fast. Although I look forward to sleeping in my own bed, and seeing my parents and friends, I will miss Xizhou terribly. Its basically like moving to another place, but for a shorter time. We look forward to going back or somewhere new but we don't want to leave either.

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Today was a new schedule. Instead of SAS essentials after our meeting, we had time to work on Service Learning and our Inquiry Project. I finished about half of my iMovie, and after lunch I finished the rest. I felt VERY accomplished. Then at around two my Service Learning group went to Mr.Yang's, but he was very busy so he told us to come back later, and we did. We all of our filming done and began creating our video. I feel like we know Mr. Yang a lot better now, and he knows us.

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Happy easter everyone! It was weird not waking up and being excited for the easter hunt that my family has every year. Instead, we all went to breakfast and were surprised by only one thing…BACON! That always makes us so happy… Around noon, Brian Linden's family visited us at Yang Zhou Ran! We all played Star Shaped Badminton and Hacky Sack together! It was really fun! At five, we also made dumplings. This was my first time making dumplings, so when Xiao Tang showed me how to do it, I was not very good.

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Wow. I love sleeping in. At nine, my roommates and I crawled to breakfast in our pajamas, and we had a good meal. After that, it was time to work on our SAS essentials. I was so glad that I was almost all done! After lunch, Clara, Jason, Chris and I went to the Golden Flower to meet with our Service Learning Partner, Mr. Yang.  We even started taking the video for the final product, but unfortunately, we did not realize that Clara's camera cut off the video after five minutes, so we did not get very much.

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Today was a much better day than yesterday because I was feeling much much better. I had gotten a lot of sleep, and it obviously helped. It was a great a way to end the week because at around three, Mama T and Aunt Sheila arrived from the United States! Then after dinner, the girls ran into a very  complex situation. The boys were playing  star shaped Badminton!

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This morning when I woke up I was very tired, because the night before I was not feeling well so I did not sleep well. I dragged myself to breakfast, but when I ate something i felt A LOT better. Then it was time for Cass and I to do laundry. Finally! We hadn't washed our clothes is such a long time and the three day hike also reduced the amount of clothes we had. We rushed to the laundry place on our bikes with our giant trash bags full of clothes. We even had to use both of the washing machines.

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Another regular day! Except in the morning, Cass, Amy, Armin and I went to the local kindergarten for my project. They were all so cute! Later, Alex and I went out with Amy, again!   But this was not the most exciting part of the day. At around three, we went on an all girls bike ride! Well, and Mr. T but whatever. First we biked to a nearby temple where Cass had been before so she was able to inform us about it. But it wasn't like the usual, tourist temples that I have been to in Shanghai.

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After our amusing time in Dali yesterday, Tuesday was a good work day for all of us. After breakfast, SAS essentials, and lunch, Cass, Alex and I headed out with Amy, a worker at the Linden Center. On the road to Si Fan Jie, there are always several tables of Mah Jong playing elders. We all asked them questions regarding our project, and also picked up some Mah Jong skills. Then, at a clothing shop, we saw a lady knitting colorful cloth baby shoes.

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Today was a day of relaxation and recovering from out exciting weekend. We all woke up at around nine and then had a nice breakfast. Then it was time to catch up on the work that we had not been able to do while we were away (journals, SAS essentials, laundry, etc), and for our group it also meant cleaning our room which looked like a bomb had a exploded...At 3:15, it was time to go to Dali! I was so happy that we were going to Dali because I liked it so much last time.

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 After a rough and cold night of camping, Peyton and I woke up we could not feel our hands or toes. We packed up our tents with frozen hands but it took a very long time because we could not move our fingers and the tent just did not want to fit in the bag. After an hour of packing, the sun came up and we began to thaw. Thats when a giant sheep heard joined us in the sun, and the adorable sheep dog puppies were great entertainment for our not-so-happy selves.

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When we woke up in the morning in the local farmhouse in Hua Dian Ba, we were given two options: go back to Xizhou or hike up to Xiao Hua Dian Ba, have lunch there and then camp in the courtyard of the farmhouse. The original plan for Day 2 of the hike was to hike up to Xiao Hua Dian Ba and stay there till the next morning, but another hiking group told us that there was heavy snow, and that that they had a very cold night when they stayed there.

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Friday was the day of the hike. The hike! We were all so excited when we stepped on the bus at around nine, with our giant hiking bags, after having a humongous breakfast of bacon and eggs. Once we got to the bottom of the mountain, the mules showed up! Soon enough, Peyton and I were leading the way up the mountain. After hours of sweating and working extremely hard, with aching calves and backs, we got to the top of the mountain.

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What an exciting day! Besides it being a regular schedule, we had a ton of fun! After lunch, Peyton and I checked out our bikes and went on a very very long bike ride. The original plan was to go to the town square and get some information for our inquiry project. We ended up wanting to go to Lake Erhai instead, but on our way there, a huge funeral process, so we had to take a left into a small street that we didn’t know. After about 10 minutes of driving around, we ended up in front of the school that I had gone to on Tuesday!

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Today we went to a really interesting place called Shaping to a market. I had suspected a market similar to the one that we have here in Xizhou, but it was very different. The market sold everything, from spices and stones to chickens in a bag and cows. On the top of the hill sat several people carving something into large blocks of stone and marble, and creating a huge amount of dust.

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Today was probably one of the most successful Mircocampus days in my opinion! After a delicious dumpling lunch in the square, Alex, Armin, T and I went to Mr. Yang the driver’s toy shop! His wife is there and she answered a ton of my questions for my inquiry project! It was incredibly interesting, and I learned a lot of things that I had never thought of before. We then walked home all together, but straight after I headed off again with Mr. T and Ms. Mai to the local elementary school! 

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Today we felt very adventuresome, so after two hours of extreme hard work on our Phase 3, Cass, Alex and I went on a very nice bike ride to Lake Erhai. We dressed very warmly, and bundled up under many layers and rain jackets because it was drizzling slightly. We put on our heat rate monitors and helmets and checked out our bikes. We rode with a steady pace till we left the village, and thats when it started pouring.

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This morning we returned from our camping trip, and we were able to see a beautiful sunrise over the lake. Then we packed up our tents and sleeping bags and returned home in time for breakfast at nine. We had a relaxing breakfast and then chilled out by the courtyard. I continued to read my book “Warm Bodies”, and I hope to watch the movie some time, too. Peyton, Chris, Cass and I stayed in for lunch today and relaxed on our free Sunday.

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Saturday was a super fun day! The morning was meant for sleeping in, but most of us could not because we had not finished our work... Once we were all done, we had a nice breakfast and then had some chill time till after lunch. At one, we began our service learning! We got a Chinese History lesson, which was really interesting. Then our groups of four headed out into Xizhou to find Service Learning partners. My group first talked to Mr. Yang, the owner of one of the restaurants.

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Wow! Today was a very relaxing and fun day, yet rich in learning. At 11:20 Ashley, Chris, Yi Fei, T and I headed to the Tie Dye factory on our bikes. We were able to see so much more than we have before, and it was absolutely amazing. Once we were at the factory, we were greeted by 4, adorable grandmas, that were sewing cloth and then dying it. We were also surprised to see a super cute baby girl, that was wandering around the factory with her father.

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Today was another regular microcampus day, with the usual schedule. During WIPPI time, Peyton, Ashley and I biked to Linden Center with our “very fashionable” bike gear. At Linden Center we began out 3 to 5 interviews. I interviewed one of the receptionist who gave me a very helpful map of Xizhou, and the Linden Center guards also gave me some very helpful information about my project. But the best 3 to 5 was later on at night with one of the elementary school teachers.

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Today was probably one of the most awesome days we have had so far. After breakfast, a group meeting, SAS essentials and some lunch, we headed out with our ginormous hiking backpacks to a tea plantation. There, we took a very tiring yet fun hike up the mountain. We were all breathing hard when we arrived at a stunning stream of water that lead into a little glass clear pool. We were able to take many pictures, climb rocks, skip stones and just relax after the hike.

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Day 4 was our first real Microcampus day, with the usual schedule. We started out with breakfast at 7:30, the relaxing Terrace time, the group meeting, lunch, some SAS essentials, and then WIPPI (Wellness, Inquiry Project, Pitching In). The highlight of Day 4 was either exploring the market during lunch time with Alex or going on a run through heavy rain and fields with Peyton! During lunch, Alex and I wanted to eat somewhere besides the town square so we headed out into the market to find something to eat.

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Today was an extremely exciting day. We started to settle into our routine, which included terrace time at Linden Center, which was breathtaking and beautiful. We also had out first real group meeting where we discussed committees, and then a little  math class. But my favorite part of the day was when I went for a bike ride with Peyton! We wanted to continue exploring Xizhou so we grabbed some bikes from Linden Center and decided to bike to Lake Erhai.

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Wow. Day 2 was absolutely a great way to start our adventure. Today we were introduced to our new home, the village and several incredibly nice people that live around us. As we were shown our home, Yang Zhou Ran, we were all completely blown away by the beauty of it. The highlight of my day was when we took the horse carriage around through the town and all the way down to the stunning Lake Erhai.

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Oh my gosh. We are leaving on Saturday. I CANT WAIT! Time flew by so fast. The party/sendoff with the Pudong group and all the parents today was amazing! I was so glad I met them! It was fun learning about all the other projects and ideas that they had. 

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It is getting so close! It feels like yesterday that we were in the PAC first getting introduced to Microcampus. Besides being SUPER excited and pumped up, I am also getting a bit nervous. But all the excitement is completley outweighing the nervousness, and I cant wait till we step on the airplane and fly to Xizhou! 

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HI! My name is Nike, and I am 14 years old. I was born in Germany and lived there for 7 years, then Michigan and I have lived in Shanghai since August of 2012. I love eating, dancing, and running. I am now a Microcampus Alumni and was in Xizhou in March of 2013. I deeply miss Xizhou, and wish the best of luck to all future groups! If you have any questions regarding Xizhou, Service Learning, Inquiry, or anything else, let me know! I would be happy to help :)