Colton S. (Alumni-C)'s Journal

I came to Microcampus because of the opportunity to get away from Shanghai for a month. I had been stuck up in Shanghai and I needed a break from the daily routine. When we arrived and Xiao Tang took us home, I knew I had made the right decision.

1 Comments

First in the day, we were packing our stuff for the trip home. It was sad, but it had to be done. I have weighed my bag, and I'm one kg under the weight while last time coming here I was 2.5 kg overweight. After packing, we went and bought antiques from the Tang, Song, and Yuan dynasty. It was amazing to be holding such old artifacts in our hands. Jorge bought a piece of transcript that no one can read anymore. It is over one thousand years old. We were flipping out on the way home because we were holding vases and figurines that dated back to before U.S.A. was born.

0 Comments

We had the honor of sharing our service learning videos today. Our service learning partner has the best smile, and so we were able to incorporate that into the video at the end so that we could have a nice thank you. Only one day left... I'm really excited for the jammy awards tomorrow. It is the 132th Microcampus Jammy Awards™. It will be the evening program, so it will be lots of fun but also very sad because we will be saying goodbye to this place. This trip has been a life changing experience and I don't want it to end. It feels like one day to, but not the same to others.

0 Comments

I have been thinking about this whole experience today, and we have been building bridges the whole time. There have been bridges built into the community and into the lives of the elderly. There have been bridges built on runs across small streams using cinder blocks. There was a bridge from Shanghai to Xi Zhou. As the bridges are built, the hard part is crossing them confidently. When we went on our run, our bridge was shaky and so were we, resulting in some wet feet.

0 Comments

We had an amazing evening program tonight. We had lots of fun preparing, making, and cooking dumplings and Vietnamese spring rolls. It was an amazing dinner, and I hope that we will have more like it before this trip ends. It was so fun because we were all helping each other and working together to get the food made. It also felt much better to eat it because the work had paid off. Afterwards, we played badminton in a way that we hit it as high as we could. It was pretty great, but when we played volleyball with Xiao Tang we had a blast.

2 Comments

We had a great adventure tonight monding. Monding is otherwise known as man bonding. However, because of the brules (bro rules) we are not allowed to tell any of this information to the outside world. Other than that, my service learning group was successful in talking with our partner. At first, she said we couldn't record, but then her daughter-in-law said that it was ok. After 20 minutes of talking to her we then said good bye to her and her cute grand daughters and went back to YZR.

0 Comments

Today we had a different type of karaoke. No one actually wanted to sing their solos, so we all just sang the songs together. It was fun, but it got old after a while and it became a sing/dance off. The boys were in the back of the room talking while the girls had fun singing their songs. There was lots of food until the party started. It vanished within 10 minutes. After about an hour of fun, the guys said good night, but with a promise to come back and help clean up at the end. I don't know why, but they sang single ladies...

0 Comments

We went to Dali Old Town today for dinner. Since the girls went to Bad Monkey, Xiao Tang recommended an amazing pizza shop that specialized in pan pizza. We were there for an hour and a half before all the pizzas were served, but it was worth it because the pizza was so good. We also enjoyed some of Sweet Tooth's finest that Xiao Tang brought over. The place was called Climb Dali. This man had brought rock climbing to Dali, and with it his restaurant. I have never had better pizza. The pizza I had was pepperoni, but it didn't have only pepperoni.

0 Comments

I'm amazed at the food this village offers us. There is the amazing golden flower that is just some of the best Chinese food I've ever eaten, and then there is the Xi Zhou BaBa shop. These Chinese pizzas consist of bread, lard, meat, onion stem, and some good ole' love. These are carefully constructed over a charcoal fire, and the ones that we tried today were the melt in your mouth kind of food. Since they are so dense, they fill you up so fast. For four kuai, we have had many good meals at Si Fang Jie infront of the BaBa shop.

0 Comments

Today, as Ying Yang and I walked around aimlessly without seeing Ms. Duan or Mr. Dong, we were led to a funeral to find them both. The funeral held more than 100 people. These people were friends, family, and strangers. We realized that this wasn't the right occasion to talk to Mr. Dong, so we asked him nothing, and started to leave. Even though we were walking very fast, a very nice old lady stopped us with an iron grip, dragged us back, and made sure we were given seats at a table. We then had one of the best meals I've had since I've been in Xizhou.

1 Comments

Today, Natalie and I found a local hospital with both a western doctor and a TCM doctor. When we arrived, the western medicine doctor was very into his appointment, but the TCM doctor wasn't in his office. He was in the back of the herb room watching a T.V. show on his phone. We asked him questions, but he was a bum. He would look away from us and give a sneer comment about how stupid our questions were and how pointless it is for us to be learning the basics of TCM.

0 Comments

We were able to beat the rain home on the hike today. It was all down hill, so my calves are kind of sore, but it was very fun because it was easier. We talked lots with friends, and Lucas owes Jorge eleven kuai because he fell five times. Each time, he either fell where some one else did. Storm clouds were always above us, but we never felt rain. We passed cows on the way down who were grazing, because it's normal to see cows on a mountain trail. We were so happy to arrive at the bus and then sit still for 20 minutes. It was even better that Ms. Mai rewarded us with chocolate.

0 Comments

We got to the top of the mountain today at the altitude of 3,232 meters! We had to put on our heavy clothing because of the fast winds and low temperatures at the top. We hosted our daily video shout out up there and then headed down the mountain to get back on the trail. Since Mr. T hadn't had the chance to go on this part of the hike with the last group, we were surprised to hike 15 more minutes and be home. The lovely clouds then gathered around us and hailed on us for 2 hours, preventing anyone from moving outside of their tents.

0 Comments

We had the wonderful opportunity today to walk through a hail storm to get to our camping site. The hail started as we walked across the valley through green fields and mud. It turned from tic tac size to skittle size in about 10 minutes, making the adventure so exciting that we had to get to cover in a low spot to be safe. Other than that, the hike was very physically challenging. We had Miranda and Alisa setting amazing paces at the front of the pack, and we stopped very little for water, resulting in being home an hour faster then the last group.

2 Comments

Today, after I finished my inquiry work, I packed and packed for the the upcoming 3 day hike. I had no trouble fitting all of the things into my bag, but it is slightly heavier then I expected. I don't have a back pack cover, so I hope that the rain doesn't ruin my clothes inside. As we were retiring to our beds today, Xiao Tang got one of her friends on the phone. His name is Bai Shu Shu, and he explained  the five elements, their interactions with each other, and he started to explain why the vital organs are classified under the five elements.

0 Comments

Today was the first day that I have gone to the doctor. He confirmed a lot of what I already knew, but it has helped me narrow my focus to the five elements in life. The five elements are wood, earth, water, fire, and metal. I plan on going back to the doctor many more times so that I can focus my topic even more and come up with a thesis statement. After the doctor, I raced home and then changed to get ready to play basketball with the locals at a school. I feel bad because in play, the kid was gaurding me in a way that he was almost hugging me.

4 Comments

We had lots of fun going to a tea plantation today. Even though I was sick of tea leaves by the end of this trip, we had fun in the process. First, the boys and I went to the waterfall at the top of the mountain and hung out there for a while. The water was crisp and cool, and was very refreshing to dip our arms in after a long hike up. After skipping a few rocks around and taking some group photos, we headed back down to the tea fields and started picking. By the end of the picking hour, our backs were hurting from bending over, and our hands smelled like tea.

2 Comments

I've had a very eventful day today. At about 12:30 this morning, I wake up rolling around with a terrible stomach ache. I have had this kind of ache before, but it never turns out very pleasant. Since I don't sleep with my phone, I resulted to calling out Jorge's name. After ten minutes of wasted efforts, I threw myself between our beds and flicked his foot. "Jorge," I whispered. "What?" he replied. "I don't feel good. Call Mr. T," I explained. No response came after this. After five more minutes, I had the same conversation, but he told me that I should call Mr. T.

4 Comments

As we came back from the tongue of Erhai Lake, we were able to get out and about and explore the village to find elderly people who could be our service learning partners. After searching in courtyard after courtyard, we came across a very nice lady that was very open to us exploring her and house and seeing the restoring work she was doing to it. Her name is Gao Ayi, and she has a son that is 30 years old, which led us to believe that she could be over 60 years old. She is very full of life, very enthusiastic, but she still needs help on how to answer her cell phone.

2 Comments

Today was the first opportunity we had to go camping. After three years of trying, the teachers were finally able to get permission for this year's group to sleep on the tongue of Erhai. It's a marshy stretch of land that we biked to and then set up our tents on. Ying Yang and I were able to get our tent up very fast because of past camping experience, and were rewarded with a home packed meal. I slept fine that night after the scary stories, but Ying Yang just didn't sleep.

3 Comments

We were able to go the major celebration of the third month. The crowds were so large that you could only move at a snail's pace. Stalls of anything were there. TCM, peanut brittle, snake skin, horse meat, whole chickens, and tea were all being advertised by the sellers there. It took 30 minutes to get in and get out of the street because of the massive crowds. All the restaurants were very old so we went to the other side to Dali old town where we found a slightly more modern restaurant where we found great food.

0 Comments

Thanks to Grace's inquiry topic of Bai Minority Dance, we had professional dancers come to YZR and perform dances that the girls learned. The girls all learned so fast, and the boys were given the chance to dance with tambourines with the girls. I thought that we could get a heart rate monitor and get time in zone because it was that hard. To dance, we had to hit our bodies with the tambourines to be able to perform the dance correctly. They also had great musical accompaniment with the dancers from the Dongjing band that we had met the day before. I was able to have a 3 - 5 with Mr.

2 Comments

I had the greatest cultural show last night with Ying Yang, Jillian, Hannah, Erin, Mr. T, and Ivy. Because of Ying Yang's inquiry project, he got connected to the band in an exclusive club, and we were able to watch this band of 10 people sing folk songs and play their amazing variation of the modern violin. The way they flicked their hands back and forth with the bow across their instrument was like they had a wall at a certain point. They have certainly mastered the art of traditional music in the Bai culture.

6 Comments

Grace, Hannah, Jorge and I were the first on the adventure for laundry. We had a decent amount of clothes to be washed, but when we got there only one of our washers was functioning because the other lady was using the electricity. On our way, we had trouble finding the right door. There was a building that we knew was the right place, but there were five doors. We tried four of the doors, but the one that we tried after 10 minutes finally opened. We used the machine, but left it there to wash during lunch. Then, after we ate, we went back during WIPPIT time and washed the second batch.

3 Comments

Today everyone shared their inquiry topics with each other. The creativity and thoughtfulness of our topics is so amazing, that we have projects from wood carving to happiness to the one child policy. I'm very confident that all the students here will be able to do a great job on their project. We also played lots of badminton. Everyone was gathered in our courtyard trying to hit the birdy to the other side. Everyone now knows each other and is comfortable. The favorite part of my day was the terrace time.

3 Comments

Today, Mr. Tafel emphasized the need for being outward and noticing things that we couldn't see when just talking with our friends. After that talk about that, I was able to communicate with some of the elderly citizens along with Ying Yang and Lucas. Everywhere you go you see board bean on the road, being smashed into smaller pieces. It's very interesting because when they haven't harvested, they jsut put it out there so others will walk/ride/bike over it to smash the beans out.

3 Comments

While on the bus and the airplane, we had a great time to get to know each other more before we actually got to the village. On the bus, there was sleeping, talking, watching movies, but I just thought about how developed Xizhou would be, and how we could just start and get out into the field. I'm very excited, but it will be a challenging experience to be able to communicate for our inquiry projects. Yang Zhou Ran is a wonderful guest house, and it looks much better than the pictures online.

0 Comments

The lock in Friday was so much fun. Mr. Tafel did a great job of preparing the time so that we might use it effectively, but he also gave us enough time to be by ourselves. The lock in helped me realize the energy of the group as a whole. We all have the energy to collaborate effectively, respond to presentations, and generally have fun as a group. The whole group knows each other now after that lock in, and we will be able to support each other in and out of micro campus meetings or activities.

0 Comments
Ever since the trip in 8th grade, I have always been walking outwards. I am no more afraid of silence, and I embrace the chances I have to talk to locals where ever I am. I'm so grateful to Mr. T for teaching us and guiding us through an experience that has truly changed the way I walk and talk. I hope that the coming years will bring the students lots of success as the locals in Xi Zhou continue to open up to foreigners like us.