Ivy F. (Alumni-C)'s Journal

Day 1 in Xizhou

I was almost late to the airport. Check that. I WAS late to the airport, but not for the plane :). All the raised platform road things were closed, so my dad had to take so many detours and try again. 

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I need to go to bed soon. It's already 10:11. Latest bedtime in the history of Microcampus. So I'll make it short.

I finished everything I needed to do (on the checklist, hopefully I didn't leave anything behind...) and went shopping with Alisa. We bought things for our friends and families (well, I did). I was going to get an antique for my dad, but they were all closed :( Oh well.

Miranda made erkuai for our last dinner. I took a picture of it. So I'll put that up as the picture for today's blog. 

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This whole day was a mad scramble for Service Learning. I woke up early today and just lay un bed thinking about the strenuous labor I had ahead of me. I decided to finish editing all the clips by breakfast and then translate everything during SAS Essentials. So I left the room at 6:44 and headed to Classroom 1. There I got very...irritated trying to cut 14 minutes down to 5. But I succeded! Translating the entire 5 minutes actually took the entire SAS Essentials. 1 hour and 30 minutes for one little tiny 5 minute clip. HOW?

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Today, my entire journal entry will be about the little tiny memories that I have amassed throughout Microcampus.

Remember when...

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We all got up late today. I woke up at 6:54, 10 minutes later than usual. When I finished brushing my teeth and making my bed, everyone was still awake. Except Miranda. I went to every bed and whispered, "Get up! It's 7:10!" As people began to groggily roll out of bed and into the bathroom, I went outside. No one was out except for Aidan. A CCTV crew guy came in and stomped up the steps (butterfly with sunburnt feet?). I heard Mr. Tafel command him back down and reminding him that we were only available after 8:00. Certainly not 7:13. I decided to eat oatmeal for breakfast today.

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First of all, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!! To my mom. And to all the awesome mothers in the world. 妈,我爱你。

Today was mainly a "relax" day. We didn't have anything scheduled. Except for maybe a dumpling dinner. Some people went to Mass in Dali. Miranda and I washed the dishes because Katie and Lucas left for Dali. It took us forever, but it felt great when we were done with all of them :D The whole morning, I spent my time doing nothing at all. I ate fried rice noodles at Old Town Snacks with Erin and Miranda. 

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Finally. The long-awaited Saturday. When we can sleep in and have free time. I got up at around 7:15 to accompany Miranda to an erkuai shop. We walked through the Morning Market (yes, it was where I had predicted it to be) and to the workshop. Miranda pulled on orange gloves and began kneading the white rice dough. I filmed for her, but kept getting distracted by the rice-pulverizing machine. Miranda kneaded the dough for a long, long, long time, then squished and flattened it into a small box.

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It rained today. Which is pretty surprising in itself, considering that it has never rained above a light drizzle or for more than five minutes during our entire stay here (except for yesterday, which was 10 minutes). But today, it rained pretty darn hard. Jillian and I ran outside with Miranda to get Wellness in the rain. We orbited around her like planets or dogs. Next time my heart rate is above 185, I should sing "Give Your Heart a Break". Jillian and I also developed a method of getting our heart rate up by stepping up and down the steps in sync to "Blue".

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Today is finally day 20. The first day in which "1" becomes "2". So sad. So very very sad. Only 8 more days! And that can only count as a week, because we also have an entire day of traveling. Anyways. Back to day 20. (TT^TT)

I woke up at 6:30 to go to the morning market with Miranda. I was all ready by 6:45, but Miranda was still in bed. She rolled over and apologized for having a headache. This meant that we were not able to go to the morning market. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow? Oh wait, she's going to make pancakes. Maybe next week?

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Measuring the Big Tree

Today was supposed to be the due day for Phase 3. Note: supposed to be. I changed my due date to tomorrow, at 2:30. Actually, it was SUPPOSED to be 2:30, but because we're going to Dali, I have to finish it by 1. A loss of 1:30. Stress stress stress. Sighs. Oh well. Nothing I can do about the due time. Just do whatever I can and be done with it.

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Tomorrow, we all have to be done with Phase 3. I have rediscovered the wonton soup shop next to Xizhou baba. I asked everyone during WIPPIT time what their favorite food in Xizhou was, and the top three were fried rice, salty Xizhou baba, and wonton soup. I think maybe I forgot to include that, because the only time I had it was my first laundry day. The soup all spilled out into the plastic bag, and got cold by the time I got around to eating them. And they were spicy. But since 4 people marked that as their favorite food, I will retry that.

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It is now week three, Monday. Back to Microcampus school. This week is filled with deadlines: Wednesday Phase 3 is due, and Friday all SAS Essentials are due. Wonderful. But I guess there has to be some part of school involved in Microcampus. In fact, today during the 5-4-5 check-in, several students had a very serious discussion about the ethics of education. Rote memorization, or creativity and options to explore? Personally, I think both are equally important and that we need to find a balance.

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Last night was warm. I only "woke up" twice in the middle of the night. Breakfast was peanut butter, strawberry jam, 饼, oatmeal, oranges, and milk. At first, nobody dared to test the oatmeal, so Colton was our courageous explorer. After the first barrier was broken, everyone went into the kitchen for bowls and loaded up on oatmeal and sugar. The milk was left untouched, as suspicious black dust settled on the surface. Vincent broke his bowl and had to get a new one. After breakfast, we had the highest hackysphere in Microcampus history.

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Yesterday, I could not go to sleep. I don't know why, I just could not fall asleep. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with my being very very cold. I woke up at 3:30 and couldn't fall back asleep. At 3:44 I went out of the tent. There were so many stars! I can't even begin to describe how many there were. It was even colder outside, though, so I went back into the tent quickly.

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First day of the hike! Before we left YZR, everyone shared one thing they could offer the group and one thing they needed from the group. I said I was good at killing bugs, but I needed patience from everyone because I was probably going to make mistakes. We took the green "Juicy Fruit" bus to the foot of the mountains. Alisa and I took charge of the walkie-talkies and led the way with Miranda. (Reading the few sentences I've written, I suddenly realize how boring it seems. Okay, skip to later on in the day.)

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The main part of the day was WIPPIT time. I mean, usually WIPPIT time is also the most productive time of the day, but today was even more so. I guess. I finished reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (it is a really good and completely surprising book). Then, I spent an hour doing Inquiry work by writing down everything I had observed about the restaurants in Sifang Jie. You can read all about that in my phase 3. Afterwards, Miranda and I decided to go out and wander about. She debated a while as to whether to wear her blue poncho, her Bai skirt, or both.

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I was supposed to go with Miranda and Jillian to an Ersi noodle shop near the morning market today. However, not everything went my way. You see, at 6:40 I got a nosebleed, so I squeezed my nose and sat around doing nothing like I usually do. Problem was, 30 minutes later, I was still doing the same thing. Miranda called Mr. T and Ms. Mai for me. I was sent to the nurse's office. There, I used a blue clothespin-ish kind of object to pinch my nose, and put an ice pack on the bridge of my nose. Mr.

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Sunrise at Haishe

We got up at 6:37 to watch the sunrise. It was simply beautiful. The mountains were varying shades of mountain-blue (I know, it's not very helpful, but I can't describe it any other way), and the lake a pattern of pink, sky blue, and water reflecting color. I didn't wear my contacts, so the peaks of the mountains weren't defined at all. When the sun rose up, rippling gold streaked across the lake all the way to the waves at our feet. Poetic, no?

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Finally, Saturday. I got up the earliest, at 7:00. I was also the only one who didn't finish Phase 2, so I completed that up in the Piano Room. I came down at 8:51, looked into my room, woke Jillian up, and then went into the dining room. No one was eating breakfast. Miranda and Erin were making blackberry pancakes, so I just started breakfast first. Soon after, Alisa and Jillian joined me. Breakfast was relatively uneventful. The only reason why I'm writing this is to point out that we Microcampus students apparently love to sleep in when we can.

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San Yue Jie. The long-awaited many-day festival. We split into four groups, each having 3 of one gender and the one of the other. The "TV people" or "Boys and Ivy/Poison Ivy" (Aidan, Ying Yang, Vincent, and I) were in one group, assigned by Mr. Tafel. The next 12 minutes of the bus ride was occupied by frantic and loud choosing of groups. After getting off the bus, we all exchanged phone numbers and dutifully promised to text Mr. Tafel at 6:00. Xiao Tang and my group went uphill to meet the Dali TV people.

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Laundry was a disaster. First of all, I left a pack of tissues in my pocket. The result was bits of white paper all over Miranda's, Natalie's, and my clothes. Wonderful. We left all the clothes up to dry, and then returned to YZR. I went with the boys on their bike ride for the convenience of Dali TV, but while we were on the Erhai Peninsula, Natalie called. Turns out I forgot to put the laundry key back in the nurse's office, meaning that Natalie and Miranda couldn't get their clothes back. And that was mistake number 2.

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Today, our entire room went for an early morning run. Very early, I might add. We ran out past the village tree, took a wrong turn (we were trying to get to the rapeseed/canola place), and follwed a dusty dirt path. The sun hadn't risen fully yet, but some of the light shone over the top of the mountains. When we reached the end of the path where it forked perpendicular to the original road, we stopped and stared at the clouds. For some bizzare reason, they just seem so much whiter and fluffier than in Shanghai. At this point in time, the edges were dyed a soft pink.

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Day three. Our first day of really missing school. It doesn't feel any different.

We had pancakes for breakfast (thanks Alisa, Jillian, and Miranda!), followed by a room inspection. All students were commanded to stand outside their room doors, hands behind their backs as we awaited the verdict of Room Inspector Tafel. Vincent, Aidan, and Ying Yang recieved a 1.4; Jorge, Colton, and Lucas a 2.7; and Natalie, Grace, Hannah, Katie, and Aakshi a 1.7. However, our room got the lowest of the entire YZR: 0.8 Next week we will get a 3! Definitely! Wish us good luck~

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The first thing I heard in the morning today was the chirping of birds. An insistent kind of "tsiuuuuuuu" and then short "tsiutsiutsiutsiutsiu" like laughter. After that was Miranda's alarm clock three times, the creaking of upstairs floorboards, and Alisa's alarm. Mr. Tafel greeted us with a loud song from the second floor and an introductory to the Microcampus ritual of greeting each other by name in the mornings. This was followed by a circle of students saying, "Good morning, ____." Breakfast was pumpkin pancakes. Erin, Lucas, Alisa, and I washed the dishes afterwards.

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I'm 14, from Palo Alto, California. My fat cat's name is Socrates, after the Greek philosopher. I'm doing a dining visitor's guide, so I guess I'll be tasting a little bit of everything. I'm back in Shanghai and already Xizhou-sick on the first night. This has been an amazing experience and it has changed my life forever. You all are so semi-proahhh!