Max S. (Alumni-J)'s Journal

I will be talking about why I came to microcampus. Before the trip, my reasons for coming to microcampus were to experience outside of the bubble and being more independent. These were pretty valid reasons but after coming to microcampus, I realized why I came. 

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For me, most of my work which includes inquiry project and service learning is done. Now I just have to pack and start preparing to leave for Shanghai. I am pretty sad that I am leaving Xizhou but it has been a great experience and I learned a lot here. I did not only learn about antiques here but the culture. The people here are very open and welcoming and they have been great hosts. Microcampus is an experience that I will never forget and I can only keep learning from here. Xizhou is an amazing village and I recommend that anyone who is up for an adventure come.

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Today we are presenting our service learning projects. Noam and I am going to go pick up our service learning partner, Mr. Yang. There are four groups on our trip and Mr. T said that all of our presentations are good and will be very good. I am pretty excited to show our presentation because I think that Mr. Yang's life story is very interesting. 

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Tonight is the girl's night out, which means that it is boy's night in! Earlier, Mr. T called a meeting between us and asked us what we wanted to do. There were many different ideas that we came up with. We thought of a video games night, a movie night, making a fort and more. We decided to have a movie night and watch Austin Powers. We also made a rule that we can have our computers out if we want to use them. Our plan is to bring our sleeping bags up there at 7:00 and camp out in there for the night. 

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Today, our inquiry projects are due. If you have not seen my inquiry project, you can see my final product here. You can see the rest of my groups projects here. My topic is on antiques. I think that working on the inquiry project was important for me in many different aspects. I learned not to procastinate and to take time on projects so that I do it well. I also learned that every intruction Mr. T and Ms.

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At 12:00 at night, I woke up to watch a meteor shower that was supposed to happen. I woke up, put some layers on and walked over to the terrace. When I got there, Hannah was the only person up there, so I got a chair and just gazed at the sky. Soon enough, I saw a shooting star, then more and more. Other people also started to come up to watch. After awhile, Mr. T came out and told us about the stars in the sky that we usually cannot see at eight or nine. It was a really cool experience, especially since I have not seen a meteor shower before.

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Today, since it is the weekend we get to sleep in. At 7:20, Caleb woke me up to tell me that we had to go to breakfast. I told him that breakfast started at 8:15 and I tried to go back to sleep. I got out of bed at 8:05 to go to breakfast. I was the first one there because everyone else was sleeping in. I was pretty happy about that because I could get the food once it comes out without having to fight over it.

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Today I went with Caleb to the morning market to look at fishes for his inquiry project. I have been to the morning market before but I never went and looked around closely. I followed Caleb around a corner where there were many fishers selling their fish. There were a lot of different types of fish. One fish that every fisher had was LiYu or Dali Fish. They had many different sizes for the fish, there were small ones, medium sized ones and big ones. 

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Today by our 5-4-5 meeting, we have to have our Phase 3 finished and request teacher review. So far my interviewing process has been going well. Everytime I go interview an antique dealer, I come up with new questions to ask. Most recently, I talked to Mr. Du. On the three day hike we took, I found something that looked like an antique in the ground. I brought it back to Xizhou and asked Mr. Du about it. He told me that it is a rooftile that is actually not that old and is pretty worthless.

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Today many things happened. First we got our food allowence, this might not seem significant but I have only three yuan for lunch because I put 200 in the bank to use for later. Today was also the first day we had wellness in a long time. Yesterday we had wellness but everyone had to work on their week 2 wellness reflection sheet. Today I played basketball with Caleb. Today is also my day to upload photos onto the hardrive. Unfortunatly, when I plug the USB stick for my camera into the computer, it does not show up so I can not upload my photos. I am going to ask Mr.

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At 6:30 this morning, Mr. T gave us a wake up call to get ready to head down the mountain. Sean and I were the last ones to clean up our tent and get to our meeting point mainly because when we set up our tent, we chose a spot with a slant which made it real hard to pack up. Neverthless, we still got to the meeting point on time and soon we were off on our hike.

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Today we went up the mountain and came back down. Our starting point was 2,600 meters and we climbed all the way up to 3,200 meters. I think that if I compare the two hikes we took so far, the second one is pretty much as tiring as the first one, but when we got to the top of the mountain, we had a choice to either go up even farther or stay at 3,200 meters and rest for two hours before going back down. I chose to rest so that on the way back down it would not be as tiring. When I was resting, I got to see the scenery and it was just amazing.

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Today we started our way up the mountain. A bus took us to the base of the mountain and from there, we were expected to climb up the rest of the 2,600 meters up. In the beginning it was not too bad but after awhile I could start feeling the burn in my legs. Mr. T gave us some advice to help us save energy. One of them was keep 2-3 meters between yourself and the person in front of you because if they stop for whatever reason, you can slow down but you will not lose your momentum forward.

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Today, we are packing for the three day hike from friday to sunday. According to Mr. T and Ms. Mai, we will be walking up and down the mountain the first day and the last day and will be physically very tired, but on the second day we will be enjoying the scenery so I am really excited for that. 

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During the daily meeting today Mr. T shared a quote with us. "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle. This quote is really powerful because it basically means that if you keep doing good things all the time, then it becomes a habit rather than something you doing when you want to look good.

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This morning, we woke up at the tongue of the lake to watch the stars. I was camping out with Sean. When Mr. T told us to wake up and come out, I was already awake. We got to see the International Space Station and many stars like the big dipper. Unfortunatly we did not get to see the Hubble Space Telescope. This was a very fun experience and I hope I get to do this again some time.

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Today, during service learning time, Mr. T gave us a lesson on China's history dating back to 1850 all the way to current China. I learned many things that are interesting to me for example, how Mao Zedong came to power and how there were pragmitists and traditionalists. I learned a lot and I hope that everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did. 

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Today was my groups first day of doing laundry. First, we brought all the clothes from YangZhuoRan to our laundry place, then we poured one and a half cups of detergent into the washing machine. Next we changed the setting to normal, and however many clothes we have. We then just waited for the laundry to finish so then we can hang them up and put the next load in. Today the sun was very bright so I predict that the clothes would not take long to dry.

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For science, our homework was to look at 5 inquiry projects about nature, we also had to observe the different spheres in Xizhou. I have to observe the hydrosphere but I am also observing the atmosphere. I looked at Banner and Sujin's inquiry projects on water treatment and Andre's inquiry project about farming. 

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Today, Noam, Sean and I went biking and played basketball for wellness. Our plan was to bike to the basketball court, play some basketball, then bike back. We followed our plan but when we were playing basketball, kids started showing up and wanting to play. In the beginning it was a three on four, but then kids just kept coming and in the end, it turned out to be a three on ten! We ended up running so much that we got time in zone really easily.

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Today we had our first regular day. I think one of the newer things that I experienced today was wellness. During wellness, me and a couple other buddies went out and exercized, I was running while they were biking along me. It turned out that it is not a good idea because the people on bikes do not get very much time in zone so now we know to either all be biking or all be running. The run was very fun because I felt like I know the village better.

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Today we had our first daily meeting and went over some of the things that we needed to go over. On the schedule, next up was pitching in and part of pitching in is touching base with our committee work teacher. My committee is the heart rate monitor monitor with Caleb. We went and discussed what we needed to know about what we do in the committee. Every time someone uses a heart rate monitor, we are supposed to check to make sure that they have deleted their files and make sure that they put their straps in the right spot.

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Today, at 8 P.M, we headed over to the Linden Centre to have a look at the terrace and the library. We first snuck back to the back courtyard to go up to the terrace. Mr.T said not to go up to the terrace if we were not ready to be quiet. When we got up there, I looked for a comfortable spot and sat down to watch the scenery for 10 minutes. I felt that that moment was the most relaxing 10 minutes in a long time because I never really just sit there and watch something.

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Today we took a 6 hour long bus ride from the Kunming airport to Xizhou. I found this bus ride very tedious because I am not very good at staying still, but we had many distractions. Mr. T gave us many facts about the geology and history of the scenery around us. We also had our phones and computers with us so we could use them for entertainment. We took two bathroom breaks at these small gas stations along the way. Even though the bus ride was pretty boring, the scenery that surrounded us was amazing and I can not wait until still time so I can enjoy more of the beautiful scenery. 

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My name is Max. I was born in Hong Kong and have lived there for 7 years before moving to Shanghai. I enjoy playing sports like track and field and tennis. I am really enjoying Xizhou so far, the weather is great and the facilities are really nice. Microcampus has been a great experience and I will miss it very much.