Collin M. (Alumni-K)'s Journal

When I was signing up for Microcampus, I did not really know what I was setting myself up for, and Microcampus has been so much more than I have ever expected. I feel that the reason I came to Microcampus has really changed once I came here and actually experienced the place. Now that I've experienced Microcampus, I feel that the reason I came was to really feel "Real China". Now that I've been to Xizhou, I have really learned what China is really like, and how nice the people really can be. Another reasont that I came to Microcampus was to really push myself.

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Today is our last full day in Xizhou. I spent the entire day walking around the village, having a last look at the village, as well as saying goodbye to people. As well as that, tonight we had our Jammys. A Jammy is similar to a Grammys, but the host is Mr. Tafel, and we have to wear our pajamas to the Jammys. I won the Awareness award. Tonight was also really emotional for many of us, because we were leaving tomorrow, and talking about how we might not talk to each other at school.

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Today we had to show our service learning video to our partner. In the morning, we had to finish up some last additions to our video, and do a final language checkw with Cecily. After that, we had to go out and get our service learning partner, Mr. Yang. He owns a small convienient store close to the Linden Centre. When we got to go pick him up, he seemed really exited, and a lot more happy then usual. When we showed our videos, at first Mr.

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Today was really similar to yesterday, in the sense that it was really hard work, we had to spend almost the entire day working on our Inquiry Project and our Service Learning video. I had to go out and take some pictures for my Inquiry Project. I do not really have too much time to work on this journal, so I am going to keep it short.

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Today was sort of the day that our Inquiry Project is due. But what was more important was that we had to get our service learning finished. Therefor, we spent almost the entire day sitting on our computer trying to get our service learning video and our inquiry project done. Other than that, nothing really happened today, not really any big events. But I can slowly see that Microcampus is slowly winding down, and we are also slowly finishing all our work.

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Service Learning is a project that we all have to do, and its where we interview an elderly person about their past, to see how their life was like during the interesting times in China.

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Today we started on on our final product, and it went pretty good. But what also happened today, was what Mr. T introduced to some of us to something called a hacky sack. Its just this small bean bag that you kick around like a Jian ZI. At first I was not that good, but I got better eventaullly. But what I noticed is that when we all get together as a whole Microcampus group, we are actually pretty open now. I feel that we have all gotten to know each other a lot better, and we feel more confortable with each other.

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Today for evening activity, we had Kevin C.'s birthday! Happy Birthday Kevin C!, and we had some Mint Chocolate cake from Sweet Tooth, and after that we play some hacky sack. But what was really cool was that right outside I heard some really loud music, so Sam J. and I went to dance with them! So we went together and danced with the ladies in the village. They were really nice, and they were also really accepting of us dancing with them, although at times they laughed a little at us because we did not know the routine. But all in all it was really fun, and I want to do it again!

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The day was pretty normal, but then at our 5:45 meeting a few kids when to Dali Old Town, and I was one of them. Mr. Tafel chose the kids that he thought made good decisions.

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Yesterday we moved in to Bao Chen Fu. Its a new building built by the Linden family. Its reallly great. Its actually bigger than the LInden Centre. Our room is really big. But because there was a big change, we also had to get new roommates. Yay. And for the boys the rooms are 3 boys in one room, and 4 boys in the other. Sadly I was put with 4 other boys. Its not as bad as it sounds. And I also had a really good nights sleep.

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Today we started our hike downwards. It was really downhill, and we passed by many many streams. Nothing much happened today, and nothing really amazing happened. But once we left the mountain I started one of the longest walks down. Because we finally got to the main road that leads down to where the bus is. Because I knew that the bus is there, I wanted to get down as fast as possible. Once I saw the bus, and Mr. Tafel let us run free, I ran down. After that we got to Bao Chen Fu, which is the new place we where staying at. Its somewhat unfinished, but its really big and beautifil.

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Mr. Tafel said that this hike might be the most diffucult one of the three days, and the kids that underestimate the middle days hike really struggle. Mr. Tafel also told us that the hike is sort of mostly uphill. The hike was actually pretty good in general, but when we reached the peak, it was amazing. It was a giant valley, like really giant. The place was called Da Hua Lian Ba, similarly to the last area where we walked, there were a ton of Yaks, and even more than last time. We were at 3232 meters. When I got up there, I felt really accomplished.

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Today was Day 1 of the hike. I am writing this journal after the 3 day hike, and just if you have not yet figured out, I am still alive. We had large muels or donkeys carry the larger and heavier things, like the giant water tanks and other fruits and treats that were brought along.  Mr. Tafel had the slowest person lead the charge, and we also had 3 Walky Talkys total, one with me, one with Sam J. and one with Mr. Tafel.

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Tomorrow is the big hike. I've heard a lot about this "Big hike". Mr. Tafel says that this might just be the most diffucult thing, or even the most challenging thing that we have ever done. Its going to be a three day hike, and we are also camping around that area. Its also going to be a lot higher in altitude than in Shanghai, or even Xizhou. During the test hike, it was not really that bad. But in the test camp, it was not as good as I thought it was going to be, there were a ton of rocks beneath where we were sleeping.

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I don't think I've talked much about Still Time. Its basically a thing that we do during our schedule, and we have to sit somewhere and sort of watch the village "Happen".

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Still time

Today was sort of my first time out with teacher support, and I talked with Mr. Yang, the silversmith. And even with just one conversation with a stranger, I learned a lot about myself and this trip.

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ErHai Sunrise tree

Yesterday we had our little camping demo. We drove our bikes down to the tongue of the lake, while carrying our sleeping bags and tents.

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Today marked Day 7, and the end of the first week in Microcampus. Microcampus is so much about connections, about connections with teachers, students, locals, and so many more people.

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mountains

Day 6 was actually relatively average until the wind in the mountains started to become really strong, and it created a really magnificent cloud formation in the sky, that added by the fact that the sun was setting created an amazingly colorful and wondorus scene.

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Xizhou Fried Rice

Nothing too amazing happened today, it was just a normal day, and I think it went relatively well. So I am going to talk about the food here at Xizhou.

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Lake ErHai

Today was an interesting day. We had Mr. Tafel explaining how we should handle the bikes, and Ms. Mai explained how to use the heart rate monitors. But, today was also our first day that we had with very few crutches, and we had to make our own decisions, and saying that, we made mistakes.

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cherry flower

This was our first "official" day at Microcampus. Today, we pretty much got a tour of the village, and Mr. Tafel explained in more detail about our daily schedule. 

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xizhou rooftop

All adventures have a beginning, and ours happen to begin at 5:00 in the morning. We met up with the group, said goodbye to parents, got on our plane and started our long journey to Xizhou. The whole day went smoothly and as expected, and all around, the day was pretty great.

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My name is Collin M., and I was a part of the 2015 Kryptonite Group. I am a half Chinese, half American child, and I attend Shanghai American School. I have been at SAS for about 8 years, and I grew up in Shanghai. I don't really have many hobbies, but I guess I enjoy frisbee, football, drawing and sleeping. Now that Microcampus is over, I really miss the clean air, and all the nice people. Microcampus was such an amazing trip, and it went by so fast, I learned so much about myself.