Jorge R. (Alumni-C)'s Journal

Today we have shared the work that we did with Mr. Zhao Hua, our partner. Unfortunally, he was not present at the sharing due to personal home events. We had a group of Xizhou middle school eight graders, to come in and watch the videos with us. All the Service Learning videos were really great, and I enjoyed watching all of them. Afterwards, all of us  including the local middle school went to the Music room and performed for the eachother, and they sang us a Chinese song which was great to hear them present.

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At the end of a good, hardworking day, finishing up my inquiry project, I realized how hard I have been working for the passed days. Opening my workspace adding journals, service learning and of course my iquiry project. I have no regrets on this trip and I am glad that I worked as much as I did.

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You may be thinking what I am going to be writing about is going to be some great community service or service learning sort of thing. That is not what I am going to write about. Today when jogging around Xihzou and the nearby villages Colton, Lucas, Ying Yang and I found some ponds and started jogging around them. After a few minutes we had this great idea of jumping over this one small ditch around a meter of space and a meter of depth. At first we were not so sure it was going to end well, but then one of us went over and so did the rest.

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You may be thinking what I am going to be writing about is going to be some great community service or service learning sort of thing. That is not what I am going to write about. Today when jogging around Xihzou and the nearby villages Colton, Lucas, Ying Yang and I found some ponds and started jogging around them. After a few minutes we had this great idea of jumping over this one small ditch around a meter of space and a meter of depth. At first we were not so sure it was going to end well, but then one of us went over and so did the rest.

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Day 23 already here in Xizhou! Only 5 days left :(. Well, today was a special day. Today we got to make dumplings! After finishing up some of our service learning project I got work on making some homemade dumplings. First I had to make the dough. Flour, eggs, water and I don't know if I am forgetting something else. Anyways we first mixed the ingredients with chopsticks until we decided we were moving to slow and started using our hands. This method was miraculously faster.

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Hey everyone today is day 21 here in XIzhou! Only 7 days left :(. Anyways today we got to celebrate the last Friday of Microcampus with a fake, but great karaoke night. This means instead of the usual karaoke we sat all together through out the room and sang along to some songs. The atmosphere was really playful and easy. We were just having a good time. After a while the guys and I decided that we should head back to our rooms which we did for around 20 minutes. When our 20 minutes went by one of the girls came to our room to tell us we needed to help with the cleaning up of the room.

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Today is day 20! only eight days left :(. Anyways, today Colton, Lucas and I had a plan to go running in the morning. That plan did not go by so well. The alarm went of at 6:05 and Lucas asked us if we wanted to go. Colton and I groaned "Nooooooo", so we did not go. At 7:10 Lucas wakes up and says "Jorge! We are making pancakes today remember?" I of course did not approve of such a reasonability in the morning. After being forced out of bed by getting by U.F.O (probably socks) and getting scolded I decided I would so pancakes today.

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Today Is DAY 19 time goes by so quickly. Today was our final day to work on our Phase 3 of our Inquiry Project. I had a great interview with the local Xizhou Ba Ba maker in Si Fang Jie. When finishing my work I realized how much effort I have put into this experience. Of course I will never finalize my research, but in this case I believe I have gotten enough information to create a great final product. Anyways, today after the hard work we got some time for relaxing and talking to our fellow peers and friends.

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Today was a great day for my Iquiry Project. I finally have gotten most of my information up on my Phase 3 and have gotten a sort of idea for my final product. I talked to Mr. Tafel and Ms. Mai about some questions I can ask tommorow to finish of my reaserch and move on to further usage of my information to put into my final product. Today was the first time I have done excerise in my afternoon. Usually I wake up with some friends and do something in the early morning, but now I do not have to worry about having three sessions in the rest of the week.

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Of course we all forgot to stretch after hike so our legs hurt quite a bit. That was not a problem though. We woke up with energy to come back to our Iquiry Projects and to our Service Learning partners. Today I have decided to realize of the horrendous smell my roomates and I created in our room. It smells like a combination of three day old wet clothes with the rests of the human waste after the long hike in the bathroom. The way my roomates and I un-packed was probably the best way anyone can un-pack, this means opening our bags and throuing everything across the room.

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Today was our last day on the mountain! We woke up pretty earlier to prepare for the long way down the mountain. Pack our bags, fold our tents, eat our breakfast and down we went. The sun was up and hitting us strong. We all added new layers of sunscreen to protect each other from the sun rays. On the way down on knees got some pressure put on, but we are all strong people so we persevered through out the day and got down with out any problems. All of us were ready to fall asleep from all the excitement from the last two days.

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Today we woke up ready for a long hike as the day before. We pack our things and of we went up the mountain. I was prepared mentally to climb up another great peak here in Xizhou. I was completely wrong for the day. The hike lasted around two hours which truly contrasts to the six hour hike the day before. On the hike to our next campsite we stopped to climb this peak which hit 3232 meters above sea level. This was probably one of the coolest experiences in my whole life. The wind hit us strong and the temperature decreased tremendously.

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Day 13 (times passes by so quickly) here in Xizhou. Today I got to go back and visit the vendor at the Xizhou Ba Ba place. When having these trips it helps me work on my Phase 3 which is collecting information. Natalie and I went in the afternoon to get some information about the history of the Ba Ba. My language skills are not sufficient to generate and keep a conversation going that is why I need a peer to come help translate some language. Anyways, after a few questions and an offer to come work again, the vendor stated that the traditional ba ba has been going for over 1,000 years.

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m Day 12 here in Xizhou!!!! Today was a great work day for me. I got to work on my phase 3 for my Inquiry Project. I keep working hard and persevere through the great challange here in Xizhou. My project keeps evolving and becoming narrower to a undecided final-product. Anyways, after working we got to watch a movie in the afternoon. We started watching one of Mr. Tafel's favorite movies, Ace Ventura. We still have not gotten to the "best" scene where Jim Carry says: "I have exsorcised the demons" (that is Mr. T's favorite scene). All of us grouped up in the T.V.

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Today is day 11 here in Xizhou. All 16 of us went to a great tea plantation today in between the mountains with a great view of the Erhai Lake. The groups were separated in two. The boys went on a short hike up the mountain first and the girls stayed next to the plantation and gathered some tea leaves. When the guys came back to the plantation the girls switched and went up the mountain while us guys stayed to get some tea leaves. I have never been too much of a tea drinker kind of of person, but this was some really great fresh tea.

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Day 10! Only 18 days left :(. Today was a great day. In the morning and the afternoon all usual, normal breakfast and classes and time to work on my project. The thing that was different today was that today was Trivia Night. This means that in the late afternoon some of the students organized a time to play a trivia game with Mr. Tafel as our "host". The groups were made accordingly to our roomates. My group consisted of Lucas, Colton and I. I think we were the group that was having the most fun, eventhough we did pretty pourly on gaining points to win the game.

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Day 9 here in Xizhou! Today was a great time for stress relief. We woke up in our tents right next to the beautiful sunrise next to the Erhai lake. At 6:45 Lucas and I were outside on the shore of the lake looking out into the clear distance. We could clearly see the mountains and the end of the lake even with the dim light of sunrise. After a few minutes the sun started to come out from the mountains and hitting our cold faces. The water was empty except for this one man on a raft fishing in the cold light of the morning.

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Day 8 here in Xizhou! Today we had our first camping expedition next to Lake Erhai. We all got to choose our tent mates so me and my friend Lucas decided we were going to room together for the night. We rode our bikes to the lake from YZR with our lovely big hiking bags and our tents we got from our chaperones. On the way their Lucas offered to carry the tent so I carried the dinner in our plastic containers. When we got their we parked our bikes against a tree and started building up our tent.

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Day 7 already! Having a great time here in Xizhou. Great temperature and a beatiful breeze. Today was the third lunar month festival in Xizhou. All 16 of us got put into groups of four. My group consisted of Aakshi, Hannah, Alisa and myslef. We all went to explore the fesitval in Dali Old Town. It has been quite a while since I have seen a crowd as big as today. The streets we always filled with local tourists or other locals enjoying this time of the year. After awhile my group and I got a little overwhelmed and crossed the street to walk to foreigner street.

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Day 6 here in Xizhou. Today was a great day for my Iquiry Project. Today I got to make some Xizhou Ba Ba in Si Fang Jie. I went with Xiao Tang around three in the afternoon to the Ba Ba restaurant. I realise now that I am not good at making them and putting them on the burner. In the end I was able to make two Ba Bas. Funny part of this whole expirence is that both of mine got sold quickly due to the shop becoming crowed. I came to work in the busiest time of the day.

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Day 5 already!!!! 23 days to-go!!!! Today was a completely new experience for me here in Xizhou. Today was the day of the amazing two hour long bike-ride. The group consisted of all the boys and Ivy due to some T.V. Xizhou producers wanting some people from the program that could speak great Chinese to show up in some interviews. Anyways, first we stopped at this great local religion temple next to the Erhai lake. This temple wasn't Buddhist, Hindi, Christian or any other usual major religion. This was a special one village religion.

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Day 4 here in Xizhou, time flies by quickly. Well today was the first time any student from the cookie monsters group went to the laundry. Due to me being one of the two commitiee chairs for the laundry (alisa is the other) I made a schedule so I could expirernce the laundry with the first group and get all the little problems fixed if any occured. The first group included Hannah, Grace, Colton and myself. I took my resonsibilty and had everything packed and ready. When the group was leaving I grabbed the key to open the door to the laundry and off we went.

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Day three here in Xizhou, couldn't be any happier. Today was a great clean-up and organization day. Everyone became clearer on their jobs for the commitees (mine is laundry) and now everyone including me is catching up to the expectations for my Inquiry Project. Now I know exactly where the laundry "place" is located and what my resposibilty is to keep it clean and safe. I made the schedule for the first week here in Xizhou for the laundry days accordingly to the specifc days such as, students schedules being limited due to some important SAS essectials (classes).

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Day 2 here in Xizhou, today was probably an sipirutally eye-opening day. Today In the morning we went to an amazing Bai made church in Dali. After mass the priest stated himself (an american priest) that the church was one of the last original non-reconstructed buildings in Dali. The church look like a blue temple from far away, but when next to or infront you came to realize that the structure was a church. It had the usual cross on top and when look into detail the animals on the sides which looked like the usual dragons where actually the lamb of god.

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First day here in Xizhou, Yunnan!!! Long flight and then of course the amazing long bus ride to xizhou from kumming airport. Got here excited for my new home and I was not let down. I am amazed of the aura I got from simply walking into the village. I havent done much outdoor "exploring" yet and I can already feel the happiness of this place. Having high hopes for a different time here after all the excitment in Shanghai, from the play and our school. Food is amazing and so is my room. I am personally betting that I will not want to leave this new home.

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Hello my name is Jorge. I am a student in the 9th grade at SAS Pudong. I am Mexican and have lived in five different countries which are: Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Brazil and China. I am 14 years old and I am super excited to help anyone going to Xizhou by participating in this great opportunity called Microcampus. I went to Xizhou in April-May 2013 and if anyone has questions be sure to ask me. I have five different people in my family, my father, mother, older sister, younger brother and myself.