Isabelle S. (Alumni-M)'s Journal

Luke, Shanan and I shared our projects with Yang Nai Nai and Deng Nai Nai for the first time. At the start, I was pretty scared because I really hoped they would like the video. The period of time before our movie was played, I sat in my chair quietly and tried to relax; but, I could feel my heart beat pound within my chest. I could feel the sweat form on my palms and it was all pretty nerve- racking.

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Service Learning. Luke, Shanan and I have been working on our service learning the whole day. We first checked in with Mr. Tafel, got some "Mr.T's Pearls of Wisdom" added and changed some edits. Then, with those changes done, we went to Mrs. Zhang and got some changes within the translations. After spending an hour changes all the incorrect translations, we showed Mr. Tafel our final product.

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Today was a so called catching up and remaking day. At the start of the day, I had a watch and confrence meeting with Mr. Tafel; that is when I found out a lot about how my project was extremly confusing to the audience and instead of mainly focusing on myself, I should make sure to look at my project through another peoples' eyes. So, for the rest of the afternoon, I was re-editing, and remaking my whole Imovie.

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Today was our third official room check. It was amazing! The first time we got checked by the International Federation of Room Inspection, the room Jackie, Charissa and I shared scored a negative 15; which meant me placed last. Apparently, we owed the universe stars, which I still do not quite understand how that is physically possible. Anyway, the second time we scored a 2,  which was tied for first. We were quite proud of our accomplishment.

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Today we got a chance to plan out our own schedule. This gave us enough time to work on our service learnings, our inquiry projects, and many other factors that come along with Microcampus. Anyway, because today is the day right after a storm, it was EXTRA cold. All of us wore around 5 layers or more. We even started wearing our thermal clothes which was quite comfortable after all.

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Today was not necessarily a lazy day, but indeed it was a rainy day. From 4:24am till now, which is around 3:25pm, it has been raining heavily on our roof of Yang Zhou Ran. Luke, Shanan and I went out in the rain trying to find our service learning partner, but ending up with the result of having to talk to her neighbor. Her neighbor was quite friendly and offered us water and tea.

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Mrs. Evy and I went on a treasure hunt like day. We biked over to Yang Nai Nai's ( one of the staff member at Linden Centre)  home and asked many questions about my topic. For instance, the preparations, the decorations, and organizations needed for the funeral. Anyway, while I was there, she took us up to her terrace where the view was magnificent. After going to her house, and taking a bunch of pictures of us there, we went to the two large ficus where most funerals take place.

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Tonight was " Mr.T's Wizbang all-star Super Hyphen Duper Trivia Night!" My team consisted of Luke, Shanan and I; we were called the SLI ( Shanan, Luke, Isabelle). We wore beanies and sat in our chairs as if we were hippies. There were five categories, People and Places. Good Times. Art and Culture. Science and Technology. Games, Sports and Hobbies. TMI ( Tafel, Mrs. Mai, Information). Most of the time, my group chose People and Places or Art and Culture.

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Meeting Yang Nai Nai was both fun, interesting, and useful for my topic. She told me all about the process of funerals, the special decorations and many more factors about my topic. The reason why she knew so much was because her grand-mother just past away and she helped witht he memorial service. Anyway, Yang Nai Nai in general is a pretty wonderful person. She is kind, nice, outspoken and very sharing and caring. She gave Ms. Evy and I two bags of dried papaya, one of the bags were created by herself; it had this personally made sugar on top.

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Today I went to Dali Old Town with some of the people in our Marvelous Musketeers. I had dinner with Jamie and Annelise, it was pretty much girls night out. We got pizza, shepherd's pie, this oreo milkshake, this chocolate molten lava cake, and these ugly browines. It was a day in paradise! The pizza was oven baked, which gave the pizza a pretty good texture.

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We came back with mud all over our forearms and our knees. It took us around 10 - 20 minutes to simply just insert a tent into a bag. When we left the Tongue of Erhai, we had these ginormous hiking bags on our backs, helmets that fitted our heads perfectly, and these orange vests that semi wrapped around our backs, but were not able to close in the front. I biked with Jacklyn and Charissa back to Yang Zhou Ran.

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I went camping and it was the coolest experience ever! I shared a tent with Jacklyn and we camped right next to the Erhai. As a Microcmapus group, we biked to the Tongue of Erhai and spent a night there. It was a pretty wild night. After having dinner, we waited for the sky to turn dark. Then, we sat in a circle, some of us on this rock table, some of us sitting by the tree; and we told ghost stories. The stories were not only scary, but many were actually quite funny.

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Today Jake and I, a staff from the Linden Centre went biking with me to Sha Chun during WIPPIS time( WIPPIS : Wellness, Inquiry Project, Pitching In, and Still ). Originally we were suppose to go there to find a shop that sold these large paper cranes that were set on top of the caskets. But, when we got there, we could not find the shop whatsoever. So, Jake and I decided to just bike around the village and look at posters and sayings around door frames.

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Today was a both informational and relaxing day. Mrs. Evy came over to Yang Zhou Ran and she helped call over Mr. Zhao and Mr. He. I played Mr. Yang, the casket maker's recording (the recording I made when I had an interview and conversation with him the other day), and they helped not only to translate, but they also gave me even more information and details based on what they knew. That was extremely useful because today, I got to understand my topic more in depth, especially about caskets and some superstitions Bai minority people have.

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During my wellness time, VincentKayla and I biked for around 50 minutes to an hour; we biked all the way to Erhai. The scenery was beautiful and it was something I would never see in Shanghai. The sky was blue, no clouds visible. The water lapping over each other as they get pushed over the already molded rocks. I could smell the fresh air as it gets inhaled through my nose and out through my mouth.

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Today was quite a day. Let us start off by talking about the fact that I went to a graveyard. Also, within that graveyard that I went to on the mountains, I saw a snake. The snake was quite long but also quite thin, so not as scary and intimidating. Anyway, while I went to the graveyard,I learned a whole lot about end of rituals within Bai minority. Also, I got to see the different forms, shapes and decorations that belong to certain casket /coffin. Another thing that fascinated me was the fact that people would cover up a coffin that was from the past.

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Wow! Today was adventurous. Even though many things happened, I better keep it nice and sweet; just for today. So, today Luke and I went for a job, for our TZ ( Time in Zone), and we got chased THREE times, by THREE different dogs. First time it was this tiny husky that had the most adorable eyes. Second one was this white really fluffy dog with these spots of black on its back, and the last dog was just plain scary. It was white, and it had black spots which I am assuming is from the dirt it probably rolled in.

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It is the Mid- Autumn Festival today! We went out and talked to people while they were either preparing food for the party held later on, or they were sitting around enjoying their day. Vincent and I went to Si Fang Jie and talked to many of the restaurant staff members. Before we went there, we stopped in front of Yang Zhuo Ran and talked to Yang Ayi, Li Ayi, and Zhao Ayi. They were these really nice ladies who let us try some of their fried pork.

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Today is Saturday, stating we not only got to wake up late, we got to relax the whole day. There is not that much I can say about today, but it was not only relaxing, but it was also extremely useful. Most of the time, I either worked on my SAS essentials, or I sat around enjoying the scenery. 

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Today we got to experience a day without WiFi! It was easier than expected considering Jackie and I had to make our daily video shout out. Also, we got the chance to go out into the village and talk to the local folks. Throughout this process, I got the chance to not only meet and interact with local folks, but I also got see and feel what it was like to talk to people beyond my comfort zone.

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We went to a tie dye factory. It was not necessarily a typical tie dye factory, but it was a village sort of thing. For instance, there were these really nice elders that helped and taught us how to sew and how to bind out cloth so that it could make pretty and unique designs and patterns. The whole process was really cool, but I think the coolest fact was the fact that even though these fascinating elderly woman are quite old, they are still able to make such cool and unique designs on simple and plain cloths.

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I am going to start off by talking about "In Zone Time". In zone time is a time where our heart rates have to be above 145 in order for it to count in your in zone time. We wear these heart rate monitors which are quite uncomfortable but extremely useful. Anyway, today was the first time we got to actually wear the monitor and see how long we can stay in zone.

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Today was the first time we got to ride our bikes and it was amazing. We biked from Yang Zhuo Ran to Er Hai throughout the bike trip, we rode through many rice fields and alley ways. My favorite part of the whole trip was when we took a break right next to Er Hai, because we had around 10 minutes of still time.

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Today was quite an adventure. As a group, we went through the village and had a "buffet" of the variety of places and people we might like to know better and talk to more later on in the trip. One of the coolest memories of today was probably going to a rice factory. Not necessarily rice, but rice noodle factory. During our little visit to the factory, I learned and watched them start with only rice and create it into noodles we ate for breakfast this morning. I like to first mention how amazing those noodles are, they are beyond perfection.

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We, the Mavel Musketeers finally arrived in Xizhou. Before I start unfolding the story of Microcampus, I would like to start off by talking about the travel. Before the trip started, I believe everyone was freaking out about their comfort food bag, hoping it would not break or explode on the trip, crossing their fingers and making sure no one else but themselves touched that bag, and trying to fit in as much junk food as the bag can withhold. Another thing most of us were definitely worrying about, was the fact that our luggage had to be under 20 kg.

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I just can not believe it! One moment I am applying to get into Microcampus and waiting anxiously to find out if I got in, and the next moment I am sitting here writing about how I am leaving in 2 days. I am extremely excited to meet new people and dive into a topic I have never imagined looking more in depth with. Throughout this trip, I will be working on many of my challenges. For instance, I will be improving my work time; not procrastinating, being focused when I work and working steadily instead of all rushed. I also want to be less loud while I talk, especially during meal times.

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My name is Isabelle S. and I am 13 years old. I was born and raised for several years in the US, San Francisco, but moved to Shanghai, China when I was around 4. My father is from Paris, France (born and raised) stating I have blood from Europe; also, I have a French passport. Therefor, I am not only American and Chinese, but I am also French. Before I came to SAS, I went to local school, stating I have a pretty strong basis in Chinese. Anyhow, I am currently here in Xizhou enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful blue sky. The topic I am studying is the end of life rituals (past and present traditions, tombstone carving, and casket making). From the people I have met, I can agree that everyone here are friendly and extremely welcoming. I am still extremely excited about what I may encounter, witness or experience throughout the rest of this trip.