Ashley Y. (Alumni-B)'s Journal

Hey everyone! Today is our last day in Xizhou and I feel kind of sad to be leaving. I know it's kind of weird, but I have mixed feelings because I love Xizhou but I want to go home because I want to see my family and friends. I'm also relieved because we have no more work to do for Microcampus. Today, we mostly did work and said our good byes. At lunch time, Yi Fei, Clara, Sujin, and I went to the Golden Flower Restaurant to say good bye to the owner, Mr. Yang. We signed one of his customer books, where people who eat at the Golden Flower Restaurant leave a comment for Mr.

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I came to Microcampus because I was interested in the Yunnan province, since I never have been to Yunnan before. I also believe that I was seeking independence and freedom because in Shanghai I was always at home doing homework and I seldom went outside to hang out with any of my friends or anything. I thought that going to Microcampus would give me a chance to be more well-rounded as well, because I was sometimes socially awkward, and talking to nice strangers in Xizhou would help me become more outgoing.

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In the morning, Clara, Sujin, Vicky, Armin, Mark, Brandon, Chris, Yi Fei, and I woke up at 2 o'clock in the morning to look for shooting stars. It was so hard to get up at 2 o'clock in the morning because we had only got four hours of sleep before. All of us went to the sky deck (or the terrace) to look at the stars. Sujin and Vicky saw a really bright shooting star, and Clara saw one too, but I didn't see one. I still thought it was cool to go on the terrace with a sleeping bag and check out the stars.

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Heyo everyone! Today we went to Da Li Old Town. In the afternoon, Mr. T told us that some people might not be able to go to Da Li Old Town, because they were behind on their inquiry project, but it turns out that everyone was able to go to Da Li Old Town. The first thing that Clara, Sujin, Vicky, and I did was look around in the street market. There were selling bracelets, necklaces, earrings, headresses, hats, and tie-die stuff as well. Then we went to the "Civilized Orangutan" for dinner. I had a smokehouse burger and it had bacon, onions, BBQ, garlic, cheese, and lettuce. YUMMY!

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Hey everyone! Today was a great day to do some work on our Inquiry projects and Service Learning project. For my Inquiry project final project, since I want to design a tea shop, I had to go buy I sketchbook. Clara and I went to a stationary store in the market place nearby Yang Zhuo Ran, but the salesperson wasn't there so we just made our way back to Yang Zhuo Ran. Clara is studying architecture and she wants to design a Microcampus gate, so she also needed to buy a sketchbook.

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Hello everyone! Today was such a fun and laid back day. In the afternoon, the Brian Linden's family came over to Yang Zhuo Ran to see where we live. Brian Linden is kind of like the founder of the Linden Centre. Brian Linden's wife (Jeanee), his son (Shane), and his younger son (Bryce), but Brian Linden wasn't here today. It was really cool to meet them because they are all so nice and friendly. Shane and Bryce both joined us when we were playing with the hacky sack, and Bryce played star-shaped badminton with us.

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Today was a great day to do our Inquiry projects and our service learning. We got to sleep in today until 9:00, because breakfast is at 9:00. In the afternoon, Nick, Ethan, and I went to Mrs. Duan's house. I brought my flute and Ethan brought his guitar, because we promised Mrs. Duan that we would bring our instruments to play her a song, since Mrs. Duan really loves music. It turns out that I hadn't played flute in a pretty long time, so when I tried to play a song, it didn't sound as pretty as it could be. Ethan played his guitar well, and he even tried to make up a melody on the way.

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Hello everyone! Today was quite a busy day, because we had to finish our Inquiry Project Phase 4 and we had an appointment with our service learning project. I also did some wellness and had to catch up with SAS essentials (the "regular" school requirements). Also, today was the day that Mr. T's mom (or as we call her, Momma T) and her best friend in the world, Aunt Sheila, came to Xizhou. Momma T and Aunt Sheila are going to stay in Yang Zhuo Ran for a few days, so it will be awesome to show them all the beautiful places in town.

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Hey guys! Today was the day that we ended our researching on our inquiry projects, so I was working on my inquiry project for most of the day. Each of us try to come up with a "hanger", which is an idea that we can "hang" the information that we learned on. I want to design my very own tea shop, because I have been learning a lot about the business behind tea, rather than studying the making of tea or tea ceremonies. I'm really excited to start working on my design. My favorite part of today was when half of us, Microcampus students and Mr. T, played with the feather hacky sack dinner.

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Hello everyone! Today we went biking for two hours during WIPPI time. It was really nice just to get outside in nature and look around. The whole Microcampus group was split into two groups: the girls and the boys. Each group got to go with Mr. T on a two hour bike ride. At first, we biked to Lake Erhai, where we got to see the lake and the scenery. We went to a temple nearby Lake Erhai, and Cass taught us about different gods and goddesses and about the Buddhist temple. I got to see the goddess of Merci, the god of wisdom and bravery, and Budha.

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Hey guys! Today was a nice "regular" day. We had our daily meeting, WIPPI time, and our five o' clock touch base. Today, during WIPPI time, Peyton and I went on a walk to the market, so we could work on our science project (focused on the ecosystem in Xizhou). Peyton asked many medicine shops for people who studied traditional medicine nearby (her inquiry project topic is traditional medicine). She found the person that she was looking for, since a few weeks ago. The doctor's name was Mr. Zhao and Peyton got his phone number, so she was pretty happy.

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Hey everyone! Today is a catch-up relax day, which is great! This morning, we got to sleep in until 9:00, because breakfast is at 9:00. Today is my laundry day, so we went to the laundry room right after breakfast and it took a while to get all of our laundry done. I went to laundry with Vicky and Sujin. Laundry is pretty difficult, especially hand washing clothes. We did laundry for most of the day, so I brought my computer. I had to work on my wellness reflection, my journal posts, and my "regular" school requirements.

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Today was the day that we start our multi-day outing to Hua Dian Ba. Hua Dian Ba is in the Da Li mountains so we had to hike for eight and a half hours, and it was a challenging eight and a half hours. Specifically, we hiked up to Da Hua Dian Ba. Because of the high altitude, my heart started to beat faster and there wasn't as much oxygen, so hiking up the mountain was physically difficult. Although, thanks to the advice of Mr. T and other Microcampus students, I was able to overcome the altitude and get up the mountain.

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Today was another hiking day, but today we didn't hike for as long. We had the decision of going back to Xizhou or climbing to Xia Hua Dian Ba. We only hiked for about three hours and Xiao Hua Dian Ba is the peak of the mountain. The terrain was at a high incline, so it was difficult as well. I listened to some music while hiking, to distract me from the soreness when we hiked. We stopped by a flat area for lunch and ate bread with peanut butter! My favorite part of today was when we got to the top part of Xiao Hua Dian Ba (where the peak is) and we got to climb to the peak.

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Hello guys! This morning, Vicky and I woke up pretty early and we both didn't sleep very well. I think that I might have been sleeping on a rock and it was also pretty cold at night. In the morning, we put away our sleeping bag and our tents, and I learned a new technique (from Mr. T) that helps a single person put away their own sleeping bag. As Vicky and I put away our tent, we saw frost and a little bit of snow stuck onto the hood. Once we finished putting away our tent, we moved to an area where the sun was rising.

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Hey everyone! Today is the last day before we go on the multi-day outing to Hua Dian Ba. When we go to Hua Dian Ba, we are going to hike for six hours, which is kind of intimidating, but I think that it will be fun. I love the idea of getting to go camping outside, so I hope that it will be a great experience. Mr. T also told us, Microcampus people, that Hua Dian Ba is one of the most beautiful places in China, so I look forward to experiencing that. This morning, I was the second person to get up in the morning, so I was feeling refreshed after breakfast.

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Hey everyone! Today is the last day before we go on the multi-day outing to Hua Dian Ba. When we go to Hua Dian Ba, we are going to hike for six hours, which is kind of intimidating, but I think that it will be fun. I love the idea of getting to go camping outside, so I hope that it will be a great experience. Mr. T also told us, Microcampus people, that Hua Dian Ba is one of the most beautiful places in China, so I look forward to experiencing that. This morning, I was the second person to get up in the morning, so I was feeling refreshed after breakfast.

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Hello people of earth! This morning, I woke first, so I did all of my morning routine, like brushing my teeth and changing my clothes, but I forgot to wake up everyone else in the room, so they ended up getting up at about 7:20. Even though they got up at 7:20, they still got to breakfast on time. Also in the morning, we, Microcampus people, took a bus ride to Sha Ba, where we went shopping. We were supposed to go to Sha Ping, but it was closed, so we went to Sha Ba. We mostly bought snacks, like cookies, sausages, chicken, and sugar-based snacks. There were all tasty and also cheap.

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Hello guys and gals! Today is Tuesday and it was a very laid back kind of day. In the morning after breakfast, it was kind of chaotic because there was a problem with the laundry schedule and I'm the laundry person, so it wasn't the best morning for me. In the afternoon for wellness, I started to play catch with the wall using these little rubber balls about the size of a tennis ball. I was throwing it around and it went over the wall in the courtyard and into another courtyard. I lost the ball and didn't find it afterwards, so good job to me for losing a rubber ball.

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Hello everyone! Today was a quiet and calm day, but it was also pretty rainy (for Xizhou weather). In the morning, the sky was a bit cloudy and when we were walking to the Linden Centre (for Terrace Time), I could see the gray clouds very clearly. It was actually pretty, because the sunlight would shine through the gray clouds and make an effect that made the sky look like a heaven. I really looked forward to Terrace Time, because I wanted to be in the quiet and calm atmosphere to just think about my experience in Xizhou.

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Hey guys! Today is Sunday, and Sunday is usually a very relaxing and calm day. This morning, we got to sleep in, but I woke up at 8 o'clock to the sound of talking. I couldn't go to sleep, so I just decided to lay on the bed and think. It was very relaxing. Today for breakfast, I flipped a pancake! I made about six pancakes and they looked awesome (I think). My favorite part of the day was when we got to go biking to Lake Erhai. I went with VIcky, Sujin, Nick, and Yi Fei. The lake was beautiful and we could see the mountains that were not to far off.

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Heyo everybody! It's the weekend! Today, we got to sleep in, but some of us had to do some catch-up work and had to wake up at 8 o'clock. Today we got to start doing service learning, and we got into our groups. I'm in a group with Nick and Ethan, so please check out their inquiry projects, journals, and our service learning projects. Today for service learning, we talked about possible service learning partners and also how to approach an elder.

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Hello guys! Today was another special day because we got to go on another half-day outing. Today we went to Zhou Cheng, specifically a tie-dye factory. Nike, Chris, Yi Fei, and I biked all the way over to Zhou Cheng, which was like an hour bike ride. There were a lot of hills that went up, so I was quite tired afterwards, but otherwise, the bike ride was awesome. When we got to the factory, the ladies who worked there let us try on the traditional headdress. We had lunch at the tie-dye factory and then half of us went to a kindergarten school and then to a market street in Zhou Cheng.

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Hey everyone! Today was another regular day again and we got to work on our inquiry projects, our wellness, and our committee work. Today, after lunch outside, Peyton, Nike, and I went on a bike ride to the Linden Center. At the Linden Center, I met Yan Zi, the Linden Center tea expert, and two other caucasian men who also work at the Linden Center. It was nice meeting all of them. After that, i played ping pong in the courtyard with Armin and Mark and did some more exercise to get my twenty minutes "in the zone". Finally, I worked on my inquiry project.

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Today was one of the awesomest days of the week, because we got to go on a half-day outing to a tea plantation, and then ate lunch at Da Li Old Town. At first when we got to the tea plantation, we took a half hour hike on the mountain, and even after ten seconds, I got very tired. We hiked up to a small pond and we all skipped stones. The pond water was nice and cold, so after putting my hands in the pond water, I felt refreshed. We had a little terrace time near the pond, and afterwards, Mr. Tafel guided us to the tea plantation.

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Hello guys! Today was one of our regular days, so I'm trying to settle in to the system. Today, we got to have our daily meetings, SAS essentials, our WIPPI (Wellness Inquiry Project Pitching In), and then our evening programing. The most open part of the day is WIPPI, because we have about four hours to do what we need to do. After I got lunch, I went to the Linden Center with Brandon, Clara, Vicky, and Sujin. I wanted to practice flute, Vicky practiced viola, and Brandon wanted to practice piano. Clara and Sujin were just observing.

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Hey everyone! Today was a great and relaxing day. We settled in to the regular schedule and even had a bit of math class. One of my favorite times of the day was when we went to dinner. I was in a group with Clara, Sujin, and Vicky and we decided to eat Er Si, in English called rice noodles. We ate at a local shop at the village square, and at first we wanted to order fried rice, but they were all out so we ended up eating rice noodles. The noodles were a bit spicy, but we had water nearby to drink. While we ate, we saw many stray dogs on the street.

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Today was a busy day and  we got to explore the village of Xizhou more in depth. We visited the village square, a market place, and an embroidery shop. The most fun that I had today, was taking the "local" taxi (a horse and a carriage). We circled Xizhou on the carriage and visited Lake Erhai. Because of the recent forest fires, the weather was a bit foggy, so we couldn't see the mountains past Lake Erhai, so the lake seemed like a vast ocean. I even learned a bit about the driver of the carriage, and his name is Mr.Shi.

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Hey guys! Today was such a long day of travel, because of the three and a half hour plane ride and the six hour bus ride. I was so happy to arrive at the place where us, Microcampus people, will stay at for the 28 days that we will be in Xizhou. This place is called Yang's Guesthouse or Yang Zhou Ran. I believe that this place is very cool because the architecture is traditional and it's cozy. Even though there are a few problems, like with the bathrooms, it is still phenomenal work for the limited time that the renovators had.

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Hi, I'm Ashley! I was part of the B4 Microcampus Group. Microcampus was such a great experience and I have grown closer to the other B4 members and local Xizhou citizens. I encourage all of the future Microcampus students to have a great time at Xizhou and cherish the time that you are there.