Aavia S. (Alumni-L)'s Journal

It is our last complete day here in Xizhou and it was a busy one. Our inquiry projects were not up to par with Mr. Tafel's standards do it was a frenzy of students working today. The issue that I had with my inquiry project was that my final product was not loading. I tried so many times to re-upload it to the blog page, but it would not work. Finally, on my last attempt, it loaded.

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Sitting in Si Fang Jie, I realized the amount of people who were taking pictures just for the sake of taking them. Mr. Tafel has previously told us to soak it all in rather than snap pictures obliviously. As I observed them clicking their pictures, I wondered whether we were like that at the beginning of the trip. Now I know that I have grown and evolved throughout this entire process. Initially, all of us would see something that looked appealing and take the picture without looking back. After learning the ways of Mr.

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My tummy grumbles when I see this picture. I am craving this mint oreo cake at the Sweet Tooth shop in Dali Old Town. The picture above was taken the first time all 9 of us went to Dali. Since this week is all about the deadlines, there might be a chance that some of us might not be able to go. We are all hoping for the best. Speaking of deadlines, our first deadline was today for our inquiry work. Earlier today, I had my appointment with Mr. Tafel for my complete iMovie review with him. He gave me some really helpful tips for enhancing my movie.

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Today is Mother's Day! Happy mother's day mom, you are the best and I love you. Click on this link or some fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO6JiFztJdg. Anyways, we are wrapping up our final inquiry product and are getting the review from Mr. Tafel tomorrow. In addition to that, we have our service learning videos due on Tuesday on this week. All the deadlines are creeping up on up. Luckily, I am staying of top of things.

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I have been conducting a mental countdown in my head for the past week now. The countdown is telling me I have to make the most of my time here and to create lots of memories because time is running out. We only have 7 more days, 1 more week till Microcampus is over. I can hardly believe it. It seems like just last week when we were at the lock-in stumbling through the instructions Mr. T had given us. And it felt like just yesterday when we were on the bus ride to the Linden Centre for the first time ever. I guess it really is true when people say "time flies when you are having fun."

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Today was the day were I began the movie making processes. First, I started the introduction portion of my inquiry project video. This lasted about 2 hours. I talked about the bubble that we live in back in Shanghai and how Xizhou is so outside the bubble that you can not even see it. We can not see it because we have now turned into locals here. 

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Did I really play Ma Jiang? Yes, I really did. So, today's schedule for WIPPIS time was upto us to organize. We had Inquiry time from 1 to 3pm, and I decided I would to Wellness next. Since I completed 3 days of physical wellness already, I was ready for emotional and social wellness. Alice and Jack were already pretty good at Ma Jiang, so they taught me the rules. The picture above was taken during our super intense game. I was so confused initially, but it is really easy to pick up. The rules are simple; get as many sets of 3 in either similar cards form or consecutive a cards form.

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Yesterday, for evening activity, Mr. Tafel gave a presentation on genetics. He talked to us about the benefits of using the Y-chromosome for uncovering family histories that are unheard of. He first began by talking about a personal family story where one of his relatives was unsure if he was a family member or not. To resolve the issue, Mr. T contacted the son of this "relative" to test his Y-chromosome. If the Y-chromosome matches Mr. T's, then they are all one, big, happy family. Fortunately, in the end the results came out and it was a match.

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The smell of smoke wafts through my nose. It is now the beginning of a new planting season for garlic. While we were on the 3 day hike, the workers near the Centre harvested all the garlic from the fields, leaving just the soil behind. To close the season off, they are burning the soil. I am not completely sure why they are doing this, but it might be to cleanse the soil. The smoke lingers in the buildings and through the rooms. In addition to this, there have been many celebrations such as the San Yue Jie and May Holiday. And you no what that means!? Firecrackers.

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The smell of smoke wafts through my nose. It is now the beginning of a new planting season for garlic. While we were on the 3 day hike, the workers near the Centre harvested all the garlic from the fields, leaving just the soil behind. To close the season off, they are burning the soil. I am not completely sure why they are doing this, but it might be to cleanse the soil. The smoke lingers in the buildings and through the rooms. In addition to this, there have been many celebrations such as the San Yue Jie and May Holiday.

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Magic happens on Microcampus. Yesterday, during our intense room inspection, Mr. T did an amazing, mystical magic trick. He gave me an ordinary coin and told me to hand it off to someone. While we were deciding who to give it to, Mr. T went to the other end of the compound and waited till we called him. I gave the coin to William and I made sure he kept a straight face. Mr. T being Mr. T was able to figure out who had the coin in a matter of minutes. He did this trick 3 times and got it right each time. Do you even know what the chances are of him getting it right each time? 1/729!

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Today a normal WIPPIS schedule day. But during inquiry work time, I learnt something quite strange about my project partner Shi Ayi. Shi Ayi is a Miao lady who works 2 doors down from the Linden Centre selling traditional textiles. I went to her store again to talk to her about her family history. After about 20 minutes of her talking about general history, I asked her about anything special to her Miao minority culture. She said while she was young there was a poisonous creature called the Gu.

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This post was required by the humanities teachers back in Shanghai. I chose to write about the economy of Xizhou and the major aspects of how it grew throughout the years.

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Today was our final day on the hike. As mentioned before, I woke up to the sound of us counting down. We were retreating from this retreat. Still time is a time where we sit and admire our surroudnings without speaking to one another. Mr. T organized a still time for us right as we woke up to watch the sunrise. I was mesmerized by the sight of the sun literally rising. Just a second ago the sun was hiding behind the mountain, and then all of a sudden it spills over and shines on us. This was the beginning of our day.

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After that cold, miserable night, I was looking forward to getting to our next camp site. Turns out, it was another farm. But not an ordinary farm with cows and pigs; it was a farm with yaks, mules, and sheep. We got there and I was in awe. It looked as if we were on a totally other planet. The ground had random craters in it the size of the golf course pits. The mountains were towering over our campsite, encasing us with  shelter from the blistering wind. And once again, the sky was as bright as ever. As we all settled into our new home, Mr. T talked to us about Mount Baldy.
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Today was the day of the hike. We set off at about 8:15 to concur ourselves and the mountain. To start, we began by playing rhyming games in order to forget the fact that we are going on an uphill incline. After that, we cherished the view all the way to the top. Everywhere you looked, was a scenery. The sky was bright blue, the grass was dewy with the previous days showers, and the air was crisp. The picture on top was taken about an hour away from our final destination. Our final destination turned out to be a farm.

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Yesterday was Mr.T's All Star Whiz Bang Super Duper Trivia Night! The first step to prepare for this was creating a costume for our team. Alex L. and Alex W. was on my team. We decided that we would wear our flannel pajamas, a blue shirt, and our head lamps. The name of our group was FLANNEL IS THE NEW BLACK. We used trivia night as our evening activity. So as the game picked up its pace, Flannel Is The New Black went down.

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Today is day 10 and is the start of a new week. We are currently in week 2. Since we have just begun Phase 3, we had to begin interacting with the locals in order to make connections, I chose to go to the cheese factory with Evy (our guide here at the Centre). I began by interviewing a lady by the name of Mrs. Yan. As I was asking her questions about her cheese factroy, out of nowhwere cheese started apeearing in the pan in front of her.

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Yesterday, was the most anticipated camping at Lake ErHai. ErHai literally means "ear water" which should explain my title of this post. Anyways, the whole camping expericnece really pushed oursleves in the Big 4 categories. And I mean it. When we first arrived, we were suppose to make our tents. As a part of setting up the tents, we had to use stakes (a type of pin) to secure it down. These stakes would not go in to the ground! We can't event remember how many times we moved our tents to find the right spot. It took us an hour an a half to find that spot, whereas Mr.

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Today was the first weekend on microcampus. Our day began quite late compared to our usual schedule. We started with pitching in and finishing al our "chores" for the day. Then we had chill time, lunch, and a special lecture from Mr. T. It was "Mr.T's super boring Chinese culture history lesson" (that is what Mr. T calls it himself). He talked about the different dynasties and major events of China. With this lecture in mind, our service learning partner will be assured that us students do understand the culture of China. This is about a 2 hour seminar.

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This post is a part of our Humanities curriculum on Microcampus. We were suppose to write a blog post explaing how the 7 elements of culture is shown here in Xizhou.

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Yesterday, was the day we went on the field trip. 7 of us went to the tie-dye factory and 2 of us went to the wind farm. I chose to be 1 of the 7 that went to the tie-dye factory. We first began by choosing a template for making our own tie-dyed piece of cloth. I chose the ying-yang symbol. I began by stitching on the orange dots and pulling the string taut. Then, we gave all of our cloths to a man who dyed it all in a blue tint. He used a giant ladle and a deep-fryer pan for the soaking process. After that, they bagged it and we headed for a tie-dye store.

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Preparation time! We are currently, preparing for many things. Our interviews with the locals are starting tomorrow, the hike is coming up, we are beginning Phase 3, and our camp out is on Saturday. With the interviews tomorrow, all of us are reaching out to the locals and bonding with them for stronger relationships. For hiking preparation, the whole Limitless crew is leaving for a practice hike on Friday. 

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Today was our first day of the WIPPIS schedule. WIPPIS stands for: Wellness, Inquiry Project, Pitching-In, Stillness. It is a program we use for Microcampus in order to squeeze everything into our busy lives.

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Today was our initiation day for the microcampus pitching in responsibilities. We started the day off with our daily meeting. During this time, we do an overview of the day and discuss plans for our future. My current responsibilities are: organizing evening events, monitoring blogs, communicating with Mr. Carozza about science class back in Shanghai, and making sure people are leaving a positive impact on the Centre. I feel that these little tasks are the ones that really make Microcampus, well, Microcampus.

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Today was the day we really ventured out into the village of Xizhou. Our day began with a tour around the Linden Centre with our friend and guide Cecily. She took us through all the little rooms with a brief explanation for each. I have a feeling she is going to be a vital person to be in touch with for the whole duration of the trip. The venturing began after the tours. We practiced retracing our steps back to the Center without the help of Mr. T or Mrs. Mai.

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Yesterday, was the day of the Limitless Group's departure from Shanghai. We started at Shanghai, flew to Kunming, and went on a 6 and a half hour bus ride to Xizhou. I was exuhsted from the previous day's musical and barely got any sleep. Then all of a sudden, as we enterd the little town of Xizhou, I woke up. Metaphorically and literally woke up. We learnt about the history of Xizhou and how the government obtained money by selling building to developers and the ripple effect after that. Also, we learnt about the establishment of the Linden Center.

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Hi everybody! My name is Aavia and I am 14 years old. I was born in the United States, moved to India, moved to China, and I lived in Xizhou for a month. My inquiry project was on The Linden Family/Centre and how small businesses are impacted by them. Some things I enjoy to do in my free time are singing, dancing, reading, and sometimes swimming. The Shanghai American School society offers many opportunities for us students studying here and some that participate in are: The Musicals, AMIS, ASA Dance, CISSA, and I was in MUN for a short period of time. I was part of the L-Group of Microcampus and it was truly a great experience.