Ryan Z. (Alumni-A)'s Journal

I can't believe that Microcampus is almost over! It's all gone by so fast and I'm finding myself in somewhat of a state of mixed feelings, on one hand, I miss my parents and friends back in Shanghai, but on the other I want to stay at Xizhou, it's so nice here and the people are friendly. I love the Linden Centre and Yang's Guesthouse as they've become a home for me, but I want to return to my real home back in Shanghai, back to my old home with my old friends and family.

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Well, I'm sick again today, so I'll talk about last night at the local school. It seems when class is out the place is a community centre and last night Noah, Harrison and I saw some old ladies dancing there. We actually started dancing with them in a bit, at first everyone else on Microcampus was just watching at us but after a while they joined in too, the ladies were really friendly and I hope we get to dance with them again sometime soon.

 

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The biking trip was so much fun today. My favorite part was probably when we had the budget Aqueduct treatmment on our feet, even though the water was ice cold, it was nice and it was a great view from up the aqueduct. In conclusion this was a pretty good spring break and I'm glad to be back again to school, because I feel I really gotta catch up on some work.

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There was so much at the festival and although we didn't get to see the horse races it was still exciting. The place was as crowded as a Shanghai subway we were just in a sea of people the whole time, and they were selling everything, from fried chicken to jade, to herbal medicine. Later on we went to Dali Old Town for an awesome lunch at Bakery 88, I love that place, the lady is really friendly the place is clean, the art is nice and the food is the best part, I got a Salami sandwich and shared a BLT one with Harrison later on, I gotta go to that place again someday.

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This was my first time camping, after we bought our food for the next two days or so we loaded them on our bags and climbed up the mountain. We stopped a lot and I fell behind a lot, but in the end everyone still made it to the camping site. It was interesting spending the first part of the night outside the tent because most of the time I could hear people inside the tent gossiping. I'm glad that I got to stay in T's tent the other part of the night because I was so scared that I was gonna wake up with bugs all over my face or something.

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It's so nice to see everyone with their parents, and for my parents to be here. I'm really surprised that my dad came to the Microcampus as he's usually so busy. I'm excited for the upcoming weekend as we have absolutely no work to do, and we can be like normal guests at the Linden Centre, taking tours of Xizhou, doing some shopping and catching up with things back at Shanghai.

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I love the Linden Centre and the idea behind it. I feel it's a place where people can experience a genuine, living, breathing culture, and not a reanimated, superficial culture where people are paid to wear "traditional" clothes and dance "traditional dances", while in reality they live like all the other people in Westernized China when the tourists aren't looking. I feel that the Linden Centre really lets people experience the real China, and not the mass industrial, commercial, Western China we are all so accustomed to.

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I love the Linden Centre and the idea behind it. I feel it's a place where people can experience a genuine, living, breathing culture, and not a reanimated, superficial culture where people are paid to wear "traditional" clothes and dance "traditional dances", while in reality they live like all the other people in Westernized China when the tourists aren't looking. I feel that the Linden Centre really lets people experience the real China, and not the mass industrial, commercial, Western China we are all so accustomed to.

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Well it's Monday and we're back to "school" school with pencils and paper, even though we have pencil and paper work now it's still nice to be able to work here, because we get to choose when we want to do the work and what work we want to do, for example I don't HAVE to do math at hour X or language arts at hour Y. I definetly hope that I'll be able to balance "school" work with Microcampus work.

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Wow, I can't believe we've had an entire school week already, it honestly dosen't feel like "school" school at all to be honest. I'm definetly learning, but so much of it is first hand and I feel I could never learn this in a classroom, I'm really excited for the rest of the trip, I feel there's so much more to learn here.

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Si Fang Jie must be the busiest part of Xizhou, restaurants and stands everywhere, today I finally got to taste the famous Xizhou baba. Xizhou baba really is like a pizza, maybe without the sauce and cheese and comes with a sweet option, which is rose jam (I haven't tasted it yet I hope I will soon). Mi Xian is pretty good too, a little spicy for my tastes but still tasty and it comes at a great price, 6 RMB. I'm pretty sure I'll be coming to Si Fang Jie a LOT more on the trip.

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Today we went to the Tea Plantation on the mountain and I learned a lot. I was actually baffled upon learning how they prepare the tea, especially the "sha qing" part where they purposely try to eliminate the "freshness" of the tea leaves, I was also interested about all the ways people could consume tea, such as directly eating the leaf, which tastes bitter but has a faintly sweet aftertaste. I also thought the tea ceremony was pretty cool and the red tea they served was great, for the lack of a better word to describe tea.

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Today Vella and I had our second encouter with Dr. Zhao, I found what he said to be really interesting as usual. I also feel kinda bad for him because he told us that TCM and his professors were harshly supressed by the Cultural Revolution, and during that time TCM was degraded to useless and lowly. Dr. Zhao however, seemed really happy because he said that now people have faith in TCM and he finds joy in healing people of their maladies and Dr. Zhao encouraged Vella and I to find joy in helping others too, this was really inspiring to me, and I hope Dr.

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Today Vella and I had our second encouter with Dr. Zhao, I found what he said to be really interesting as usual. I also feel kinda bad for him because he told us that TCM and his professors were harshly supressed by the Cultural Revolution, and during that time TCM was degraded to useless and lowly. Dr. Zhao however, seemed really happy because he said that now people have faith in TCM and he finds joy in healing people of their maladies and Dr. Zhao encouraged Vella and I to find joy in helping others too, this was really inspiring to me, and I hope Dr.

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Day one was pretty chaotic, and although everything seems unfamiliar everyone at the Linden Centre and Xizhou are extremely friendly already and I enjoy the "aura" around here. It's really unlike Shanghai here because I've realized at Shanghai it's acceptable to pass someone without making eye contact but in Xizhou itself it's almost impossible to not make eye contact and greet them, I guess it's just because there are less people here? I guess it's a combination of that and the fact that people seem more "close" here, I feel it's hard to explain if your not actually here.

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Finally here at Xizhou, it's great at the Linden Centre, and Xizhou looks really nice in general, the beanfields were great and you can actually see stars during night which is a rare thing to find in China. I'm really anxious for the next few weeks to come, and I'm specifically excited to talk to the Xizhou doctors as it is a subject I'm extremely interested in and it is also my inquiry subject.

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It's good to be back after being sick (again) I'm happy that I don't need to go on the trip picking up garbage this afternoon, because it gives me some time to catch up on all the work I have been missing out. I guess today has been pretty chill, as it was mainly a work day and there wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

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The parents have left and Microcampus has pretty much returned to normal. Today we did a lot of catching up, as we missed roughly two days with the family visit. On top of all that I'm really excited for camping tomorrow and I hope that everything goes smoothly, as this is my first time camping, I'm also glad we are gonna attend the Three-Month Festival, and I wonder what it's about. In conclusion, I'm pretty glad that we're finally back on our normal Microcampus schedule.

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Today Audrey and I went to see Dr. Zhao. Dr. Zhao explained some basic concepts of traditional Chinese medicine such as the organs and the elements that they are associated with, he also explained a not so well-known concept in TCM about the tongue, and how if certain areas of the tongue are inflamed it indicates that certain organs are inflamed, for example, if the bottom of the tongue is inflamed, than the heart has too much of the "fire" element in it, the remedy Dr.

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Today we went shopping at this market close to Xizhou which pops up once a week. That place seems to have everything, canes, rakes, brooms, meat, garbage cans, statues, candles, incense, barely cover half of what was there. Upon walking to the "core" of the market it kind of reminded me of the markets in Shanghai, if not even more crowded. 

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Today was the first independent day, extremely exciting. I personally feel that it's great to finally decide what to do and when you want to. Although we do get to plan out our own days, I think we all seem to be getting work done. I'm glad our morning meeting only took half an hour today, compared to the hour and half it took yesterday. Lunch was great today, those noodles at Si Fang Jie are so good, and the horse cart ride later was fun as well, I'm glad it also worked as part of our science film assignment demonstrating Newton's Laws.

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Well, after one entire day of resting yesterday, I'm glad I've finally got Phase zero and one of my inquiry project, and some math work completed. I really enjoyed morning silence this morning because I could see the beautiful fields from the Linden Centre again today. Apparently yesterday the rest of the Microcampus group started making puns, which makes me happy I wasn't here yesterday, because just after hearing the puns today, I personally don't think I could stomach another one!

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