Cynthia G. (Alumni-J)'s Journal

Before we came to Microcampus, I created a video of myself talking about why I thought I was going to Microcampus. This last journal post is a sort of follow-up to the video now that I have gone through the experience. My main goal back then was to interact with locals and get out of "the bubble". This is true, however I have gained many other new perspectives as a result of this experience.

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Today was our last full day at Microcampus. We spent the morning finishing our final wellness reflections, wrapping up all our work to make sure there were no spelling errors and everything was perfect as we wanted to be. After lunch, several of us went over Mr.Du's antique shop to purchase antiques- we saw many pieces from a long time ago, ranging from the Han dynasty to the Qing dynasty. We purchased a few pieces to take back home. We used the afternoon to pack all our items back into our bags and suitcases.

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Today, we had our service learning presentations. Kelly, Caleb and I walked out to our service learning partner Mr.Yang's clothing store to pick him up. We took him back here to YangZhuoRan and showed him around and gave him a tour of the place. Then, all of us and our service learning partners filed into Classroom 1 for the viewing of the videos. Our group was up first in the presentation, so we sat up front while our video played. As that happened, I observed our partner Mr.Yang.

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Today we worked on wrapping up all our work- those of us who were unable to upload their video yesterday managed to get it up today, so most if not all of our inquiry projects should be done by now- you can see all of ours by clicking here, and mine by clicking here. After a review and some suggestions from Mr.T, we tweaked some things in our service learning videos and uploaded them- after doing so much work on the editing and the translating, we

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Today I completed the reflection and video for my inquiry project. After submitting it for review with Mr.T, I tweaked some things and uploaded the video. This means after weeks of work and research, my entire project is now complete, which takes a load off my shoulder. You can see the final product by clicking here. Service learning filming ended today at noon as well. Our service learning projects are due tomorrow- and we have been working on that as well.

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Today was another big day of work. Kelly, Caleb and I managed to get a large portion of our service learning footage, which was good because the person we thought was going to be our partner had gone off to Dali. We were able to talk to Mr.Yang, an 72-year-old man who sells clothing, and we were able to ask him some questions about his current and past life and film him. 

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Today is Day 22, which means it is the start of our last week at Microcampus- week 4. It is also our last weekend here, as we are leaving next Friday. With the deadlines of the inquiry project and service learning coming up, many of us used today as a work day. SAS essentials also ended yesterday, allowing us more time to work on our work here. Since today was a Saturday, we were able to get more sleep and get up a bit later, as breakfast wouldn't end until 9:30. This made it a little more relaxed, however, we had more work to do as well.

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*Note: This journal is part of my SAS Essentials work for science.

For our science work here at Microcampus, we are supposed to observe two -speheres and create three earth journals about these topics. One is the hydrosphere, and another is our choice out of the atmosphere, biosphere or lithosphere. I chose the atmosphere, however this earth journal, the last of of the three, will be focused on the hydrosphere. This is about the water in Xizhou.

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Since we completed Phase 3- the information-collecting portion- of our inquiry projects yesterday, we all met in Classroom 1 today at 1:00 pm to work on the next phase- Phase 4, which is about making a plan and preparing to create our final products.

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After the 5:45 meeting, those of us who have followed instructions, met expectations and kept up with work were permitted to go to Dali Old Town. After a bus ride of about 30 minutes, we arrived. 

Upon getting there, we could tell that this was a very different place compared to Xizhou. Several of us thought that it was pretty similar to Shanghai, with all the lights and people. There were sigificantly more tourists than there was in Xizhou- everything seemed to be made for the tourists.

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The Yan family compound in Xizhou- one of their many courtyards.

Today was pretty much a normal day, so I will just write about Xizhou in general. 

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*Note: This journal is part of my SAS Essentials work for science.*

For our science work at Microcampus, we are supposed to observe two -spheres and write about our findings in our journals. One is the hydrosphere, and the second one is an option of either the atmosphere, biosphere or lithosphere. This is the second earth journal, in which I will be focusing on my choice -sphere, the atmosphere, which is about the air in Xizhou. 

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Today was the last of our challenging but also kind of fun three-day hike. We went back down the mountain- we took a shorter path this time, as it only took about 75 minutes to get down. We got on the bus and got back to Xizhou, and walked back to YangZhuoRan with our bags. 

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Today we were awoken by Mr.T at around 6:30 am. We quickly packed up our tents, ate breakfast, and packed our lunches and day bags. Today's hike up was from 2600 meters sea level up to 3200 meters. It was a little easier since we only had to carry our day bags, but also harder since the higher we went, the thinner the air was. The trails were also steeper at times and there were a lot of weeds and twigs sticking out everywhere.

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Today was the first day of our big hike- we went from 2000 meters at sea level to 2600. We hiked up for about 5-6 hours. Some parts were paved roads, and some were natural trails. It was pretty tiring, since we had to carry our big hiking backpacks, which were pretty heavy. On the way we also looked for and picked up our hiking sticks, which are basically wooden sticks that we can use to maintain balance during the hike. We set up our tents next to a temple called ZhongHe temple. We had a big dinner at the temple consisting of rice and various other dishes.

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Yesterday, we took a trip to ZhouCheng village. Half of us went to the tie-dye factory, while the other half went to see the windmills. I went with the first group to the tie-dye factory. Upon entering the factory, I saw many large fabrics hung around, with many colors and intricate patterns and designs. Many women sat there making the tie-dye fabrics. Ye Ling showed us the tanks that they use to dye the fabrics- they were surprisingly large. 

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Today, instead of doing a normal journal, I will be doing a journal about a quote that Mr.T gave us. The quote reads:

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

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After the camping trip and the more relaxing weekend, it was Monday again, which means we had to go back to normal schedule. We woke up at 7 am once again, had our daily meeting, worked on SAS essentials (today was geometry), and did our committee work as usual.

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Since we had a camping trip last night, everyone awoke in their tents this morning. Mr.T woke us up very early so that we could see the International Space Station passing by as just a bright dot the sky- it was extremely cool. We also saw other stars and constellations, such as the North Star and the Big Dipper. Then we learned how to pack up our tents, and quickly discovered that it was more difficult than it looked. We took several tries to get the tent, sticks and stakes into the bag.

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Since today was a Saturday, we were allowed to wake up later. Our room got up at around 8:30 or so. After doing the breakfast dishes with Kristen F. and Noam, everyone gathered in Classroom 2, where Mr.T gave us a history lesson on the history of China from the Qing Dynasty up to now. Everyone took notes on their laptop, and we learned a lot. We also found out some key dates that could help us in our service learning project. 

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Today was a normal day. Once again, I biked with Katie, Kristen F. and Kristen L. to the backetball court, which was about 15-20 minutes away. We had out wellness time there and all of us got more than 30 minutes of time in zone. We finished Phase 2 and started Phase 3 of our inquiry projects, which means we are going to start talking to and interviewing the people in the village about our topics. I interviewed Mr.He, one of our security guards, who gave me lots of helpful information. Everyone was going out for lunch today. So, I went with Sara to SiFangJie.

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After going out to SiFangJie, the village square, with Kristen F. for lunch, I had wellness time, during which I went on a bike ride with Katie, Kristen F. and Kristen L. to a basketball court about 15 minutes away by bike. I ran laps around the court and also played a bit of basketball. I finished up Phase 2 of my inquiry project as well. 

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Today was our first normal day at Microcampus. We started the day again with SAS essentials- this time was Humanities and Science. We took a look at some of the assignments we needed to do- reflections about governance, earth journals, etc., and got started on that. We then had our daily meeting from 10:00 to 10:30, where we discussed the upcoming schedules, reported out on our committees, talked about SAS essentials, and many other things.

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Today was a normal (-ish) Microcampus day. We started the day with our SAS essentials- today was math. We split into two groups by algebra and geometry to work on our math. We then had our first Pitching In time- starting with Kristen F., Kristen L. and I doing the breakfast dishes. We then met with our committees. Along Kristen F. and Alexis, we talked with Mr.T about the expectations for our committee (website janitor), and as part of our job, we were able to find a few errors on the website that needed fixing.

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Today, we all woke up early for breakfast, which was at 7:30. We began the day with a tour of YangZhuoRan, our home during the Microcampus trip, given to us by Yeling, who is our coordinator/point person from the Linden Center. I learned the locations of both of the classrooms, the library, the TV room, the terrace, and basically where everything is. After taking some time to unpack and settle into our rooms, Mr.T took us on a walking tour around Xizhou. We learned our way around the village, some landmarks, and learned how to get back home from these places.

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On November 22, 2014, 14 students of the Microcampus Jailbreak group met at the Pudong Airport at 5:15 am. Everyone seemed to be quite tired, since most of us had to wake up at 3 or 4 am. We got on the plane to Kunming. We encountered at 45-minute delay, and then took off on our three-hour flight to Kunming. Most of us either slept, read, listened to music, watched movies, or socialized with each other. Upon arriving at the airport, half of us went to the baggage claim to get everyone's suitcases, while the other half went to get lunch for everyone.

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On November 14, 2014, all the students of the J group (except the people in MUN) met at Mr.Fumi's room at 3:00 to begin the lock-in. First, our counselor Mrs.Regan and nurse Ms.Chen came to talk to us about emotional, social, spiritual and physical health and how we can establish and maintain these during the 28 days we are at Xizhou. Then we had to order our own dinner (Pizza from Papa John's), which ended up being more of a challenge than we all expected.

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Today, I have started working on Phase 0 of my inquiry project- Topic exploration and selection. Click here to see my work. There is still 1 month or so until we leave for Xizhou, but I am really excited for it. I followed the journals of the ignite group during their trip, and they seemed to enjoy it. When they came back last week, I could tell they really did.

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Hi everyone! My name is Cynthia. I am a student at SAS Pudong. I was born in the US, but moved to Hong Kong at age 4. In 2008 I moved to Shanghai, and have lived here ever since. I have a little brother who is two years younger than me. I take Spanish at school, but I am a pretty good Chinese speaker. Some of my hobbies include reading fictional books (especially supernatural and fantasy) and the digital arts-such as photography and digital painting. I went to Microcampus from November to December of 2014 as part of the Jailbreak group. It was an amazing experience and I learned so much- I miss Xizhou.