Christina M. (Alumni-D)'s Journal

The impact that ethno tourism has on the bai culture, is easy to tell. This impact, has forced Bai people, to dress up in the way that they would for dances and special occasions, all the time. This because a movie was once produced called Five Golden Flowers, which was meant to show off Xizhou's great culture, but it ended up giving people the wrong view of Xizhou. Tourists then came to Xizhou, because in the movie they had watched, everyone seemed to be dancing, and singing happily.

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When I first heard of Microcampus, I was really confused. No matter how many times I asked someone what it was, they could not give me an acceptable answer, which helped me understand what it was. Finally at the end of seventh grade Mr. T came to the Pudong side of SAS. He answered most of my questions of what Microcampus was truly about. I then was really interested in joining. I thought it would be a really cool experience, and I knew that if I did not at least try to get into the September Microcampus group, I would regret it.

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Today was the last final day in XiZhou. It was my turn to do the service learning video for the day before (day 26), so Kate, Jeffrey, and I went out to the morning market. Afterwards back at home, we finished up the final reflections for our service learning, and wellness. I went out and bought the last few presents I needed for my family. I cannot wait to go home tomorrow to see my family and friends!

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After lots of video taping, cutting and editing, our service learning videos were ready to finally be presented. We invited Mr Yang (our service learning partner) over to come watch the video. Mr. Yang is 80 years old, and was born in Xizhou. We walked him over to our house, offered him food, and then walked him upstairs to sit down and get ready for the video to start.

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Today was Monday, and we all now that none of us truly love Mondays. All day we have tried to get back into the normal schedule, from our relaxing weekend. Everyone looks tired, and yet we know we had work to do, because the inquiry project is due tomorrow. So yet we keep on working and working. Today we also did our science talk. Our science talk was basically where we had each written down around eight questions about limited resources, and then went around a table, asking our favourite one. Mr. T was in the room, so he helped answer a lot of questions.

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Today everyone was stressed out, because of all the work we had to finish. The inquiry project was due today, so everyone was scrambling to get their project checked by Mr. T so that they could submit it. We also have our Service Learning project due tomorrow, so we also have to finish that. With all the stress going on, it was very hard to work today, but I got everything done and submitted, so I am good!

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The impact that tourism, in general, has on Xizhou, is very strong. The tourism, has changed how the Bai people live. They have started painted their houses to fit how the old Bai houses looked like, so when researchers come to Xizhou, most of the "ancient" architect is fake. The tourists have also changed Dali Old Town. In Dali Old Town, western restaurants are starting to replace old restaurants. These western restaurants are also becoming more popular, because the Xizhou people are being able to charge more for their food just because it is "western".

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Today we finally videotaped our service learning partner. At first our group went to Mrs. Zhao, but she was convinced that she would not be a good service learning partner, and that we should talk to someone a little bit more older and wiser. When we finally realized that we could not convince her that she was a great service learning partner, we went to go talk to Mr. Yang the chemistry teacher. He said he was open to talking about anything, so we decided to video tape him.

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Tonight for the evening activity, it was girls night in, and boys night out. Basically us girls watched a super girly movie, painted our nails, and did our hair. Half way through, I grabbed my computer, dying of the girly-ness, and started watching my own show on my own laptop. The guys were suppose to go camping, but right after they finished setting up their tents near Erhai Lake, the tide started rising a lot, so they had to come back.

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Tonight, the evening activity was suppose to be "reflecting". The evening committee planners were actually tricking us, and surprising us with a horse cart ride. Basically it was this long cart, which could hold approximately nine people at the most, pulled by one horse. The Microcampus students broke into two groups to go into two different carts. We rode down to Erhai Lake, stopped for a break, and then went back home. It was really fun to just be able to enjoy the view while talking with friends.

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Yesterday Mr. T said, that if we all finished our work, we would be able to go to Dali Old Town. Dali Old Town is this town that is a huge tourist attraction. It has yummy Chinese food, and Western food. After trying to find a restaurant, Grace and I decided we were going to go to Kaiyi Kitchen, to order a pizza, and some noodles. The noodles were really good, and were not too salty. The pizza was really weird, but was amazing. It was a "fruit pizza" which meant that it had apples, peaches, bananas, and pineapple slices on it, as well as some ham.

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Today I was super sore from the hike. Every inch of my body was aching from caring my heavy backpack up and down the mountains near Xizhou for three days. My neck and shoulders hurt from all the stress from the weight, and my heals hurt from climbing downhill on the last day. All I did today was chill, and relax, enjoying the freedom from caring my hiking backpack.

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Today was the last day of hiking, and it was VERY tiring. It was mostley down hill, which hurt a lot. We kept on going arcrost and then back accrost this stream/river. We were soaking wet, and cold. The water was rushing fast, and the rocks you had to step on where very slippery. Before we had reached the river, Mr. T had told us to find a hiking stick. While we were crossing the river, I was glad that I had it, becuase it saved me from falling more than a few times.

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Today was our first day of our three-day hiking trip. It was all uphill at first, and then after hours of hiking up hill, it became flat. Walking across the flat land, was like walking through Shanghai, except that all the buildings were replaced with grass, sheep, and yak. After endless hours of walking across the flat land, only more flat land came into view. It seemed to go on forever. Each step you took seemed to just make the distance we had to go, seem longer. After hiking for eight hours, we reached a little farm house, which offered us food and a place to rest.

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Tonight the evening activity was trivia. I was in a team with Aneka, Jeffrey, and Anna. Our group name was called the "Odd Balls" (JACA). At first we were pretty bad, and did not answer any of the questions right. After a while, we started getting the questions right, and got all the way up to second place. On the final round, you got to bet as many points as you wanted, and if you got four or more right, the points you betted got doubled.

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Today was suppose to be full of relaxation, but instead everyone was stuck with doing homework. As hours went by, I started drifting off into endless wonder, daydreaming about whatever came to mind. The day seemed to be dragging on and on! After hours of working, I decided that I needed a break. I went to go grab a snack from my comfort food bag (a bag full of yummy food). I then went back to my computer to write my daily journal post, which I am doing right now! :)

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Being a Microcampus student myself, I know that the very small things I do, can leave a huge impact on someone else's life. We have had many talks with our chaperone, Mr. T, about being respectful to the locals, and always making a positive impact. The point of our service-learning project, is to make an positive impact to the local villagers lives, by showing the world a story through the eyes of a Xizhou villager. This impact we makes, opens the villagers eyes, by the fascinating stories, but it also opens the worlds eyes.

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We went to Dali old town today, for four hours. I was in a group with Rebecca, Gayatri, Minanda, and Anna. We walked all around, trying to find a cheap place to eat. We found it pretty hard to do, because most of the places were American food restaurants, that were over priced. After much searching, we found a little noodle place. They had really weird noodles, but at least it was affordable. As soon as we finished eating, we went shopping! I bought presents for my mom, and then went back to the noodle place, and bought this AMAZING cheap icecream! It was the best stuff EVER!

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The weather today was CRAZY. It started off as a cold morning like usual, and then quickly warmed up. There were blue skies, and beautiful clouds around the mountains. As the day went by, we were all trying to stay cool, and drinking a LOT of water. When Me and Aneka went to the Linden Centre for terrace time (which is 30 minutes of silence and doing nothing), we sat up on the deck area. As we sat there, we saw that across the Erhai lake, there were flashes of lightning, and we could hear and feel the rumbling of the thunder. All of a sudden, a rainbow appeared out of nowhere.

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During dinner, what ever we do not eat, we put into something called a "slop bucket". We then go into a group of three, and head down the road to feed it to the pigs. Today was my turn, and I went with Kate W. and Gayatri. It was pretty gross caring the bucket, so we took turns as we went. The pigs were huge, but there were only two of them. As soon as we handed the slop to the guy who owned the pigs, and he put the slop into the pigs eating place, the pigs went crazy. Both of them dove right into their food, and they were really loud and gross.

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Today was the first day that all the girl choir students got together and practiced. It was a little difficult, because we have four soprano1s, and only one soprano2 and one alto. We mainly practiced a song called Audiamus, which required a lot of work. It was hard for Gayatri and Sarah (who were the alto, and soprano2 part), to learn the song, because of how loud the four of the soprano1s were singing. The song was also hard to practice because it is not in English. After sorting out the language, and the different parts, we were able to sing half way through the song pretty well!

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Today, after we had breakfast, Gayatri, Sarah, and I went for a bike ride. At first, we did not know how to check out the bikes, so we had to call Rory, who had to explain to Graham, who had to tell us. After we got it all sorted out, we finally started biking. We went down the road we live on, and went all the way down until we ran into this big tree. We turned right and made a big loop around the village, just like we had yesterday, but on instead of walking, we were biking. We ended up coming back home in around ten minutes.

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Today all we did, was basically get to know Xizhou. Me and my roommates woke up at around 6:30. We all showered, and then got breakfast at the cafeteria. We then split up into two separate groups. My group worked on our inquiry project, and the other group explored Xizhou. We all met up at the square for lunch. Gayatri, Sarah, Rebecca and I, got Xizhou baba. After everyone finished eating lunch, we went back home. Then, the two groups switched activities. My group went to explore Xizhou, while the other group stayed at home, and worked on their inquiry project.

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Okay, so today was FULL of traveling. I woke up at around 3:30 AM. I ate breakfast, got in a cab, and then went to the airport. At first, I couldn't find the place where we were suppose to meet up in the airport. Finally, I figured it out. It took a while for everyone to get their bags checked in, because a few people's bags were over weight. After the bags were checked in, we went through the rest of the lines, and then got a snack. We then got onto the plane and found our seats. Our plane ride was three hours.

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Hey, my name is Christina, and I thought that the lock-in was a really unique experience. It was really exciting to FINALLY meet the Puxi campus kids! We had heard so much about them, and had talked to them over Skype, but this was the first time we actually met face to face! I think that the lock-in went really well, and it was really fun to work with everyone to order dinner, pay for dinner, and then bike into the village safely for breakfast. I think I was worried at first that some of us might not get a long, but it turned out to be fine, and everyone seemed really nice! :)

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Hi, my name is Christina Manning and I'm 15 years old. Born in Canada with a dual German citizenship, I have lived in countless countries throughout my school years, including Korea, Dubai, and Australia. I am currently in my sophomore year at Shanghai American School. Microcampus was an amazing experience - one I will never forget. It provided me with a new perspective on China, and it's people, which is something that I will always cherish.