Kate J. (Alumni-D)'s Journal

Today was the Jammy Awards! A presigious award ceremony that outshines the Grammys by far. We all dressed up in our most glamorous jammies, and walked the red carpet (made of red t-shirts.) We got into the venue (classroom 2) and began the 24th annual Jammy Awards. I won a few things, but my favorites are "most huggable", "highest jumper", and "Ms. Microcampus." This was such a great night, and a great end to the trip. It was such a fun night and a great way to bond. 

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There are many reasons why I chose to come to microcampus in the first place, but after being here I realized that some of the answers are different. I am here because I want to experience experiental learning, personal growth, having a positive impact, and to expand interculteral understanding. I knew that I was coming here to get outside of my "bubble," but I was not expecting something so far out of my comfort zones. This experience was different than what I expected, it was much better.

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Today was a big day. We had our service learning presentation, went to Dali Old Town and watched the stars on the terrace. The service learning presentations went very well, and we were all very proud of our work. We got rewarded for our hard work with a trip to Dali Old Town! I got dumplings with Kate and Chuli, then went to Sweet Tooth (as usual.) We went shopping around a little bit because it was our last time in Dali Old Town. I got some really cool stuff that I never could have gotten in Shanghai. 

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Today, we bought a bunch of candy and used it while we played card games. We played apples to apples, and every time we won card, we got a piece of candy. Only a few people came to play, but it was very fun because it was kind of a relaxed night. We always have so much fun when we play apples to apples, and it is a great way to bond. We wanted to do something fun for one of our last nights here. I think that with only a few days left, we need to make the most of our time here. I am glad that we got to spend time together, and I hope that we make the most of our last week here!

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Today, we bought a bunch of candy and used it while we played card games. We played apples to apples, and every time we won card, we got a piece of candy. Only a few people came to play, but it was very fun because it was kind of a relaxed night. We always have so much fun when we play apples to apples, and it is a great way to bond. We wanted to do something fun for one of our last nights here. I think that with only a few days left, we need to make the most of our time here. I am glad that we got to spend time together, and I hope that we make the most of our last week here!

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Tomorrow is our last day of inquiry and service learning work before we turn it in for teacher review. I got a lot of work done, and I'm glad that we will have the projects mostly done with by Wednesday. It will feel so good to have all of my work done.

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On the weekends, we only have a few things that we need to do. I took advantage of the free day to do some work. I finished my book, and got some inquiry and service learning work done. I am glad that I got some of this out of the way because I will have less to worry about this week. I like the weekends because you can work for as long as you want, and take breaks when you need to. I will start a new book tomorrow, and hope to finish it before we get back. I started working on the "sharing my learning" part of the final product.

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Today, the guys went out for boys night out (whatever they did), and we stayed at Yang Zhuo Ran for girls night in! We watched two movies, All About Steve, and Ramona and Beezus. We bought nail polish and did our nails. I did a Rory and Aneka's hair while we watched the movie. We brought our sleeping bags up and were really comfortable and cozy. It was so nice because we were some of the only ones in YZR. At the end, I braided Rory and Chuli's hair together in a heart. It was funny because they tried to stand up but it was very hard.

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In 1930, the government started splitting people into different minorities. There are 56 different minorities in China. Two of them are the Bai, and Hui. In XiZhou, the two main minorities are Bai and Hui. The majority of people in the XiZhou area are of the Bai minority. About 20-30% are Hui. The religion of the Bai is Benzhu, and the religion of the Hui is muslim. The minority that you are in depends on what the government put your family into in the first place. When you are old enough, you can convert to other minorities.

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Today, we were suposed to see a dance group for the evening activity, but they weren't performing tonight. Xiao Tang felt bad so she arranged a little surprise for everyone. She had set up horse carts for us to ride tonight! Since I am the point person for the evening programing committee, I told everyone that we would be doing deep "reflecting." Of course, after dinner, everyone wanted to chill, or do something fun. Honestly, no one wanted to think very hard, because they were all tired. After dinner, everyone was dreading it because we made it sound a lot worse than it would have been.

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Today was our last day of field research for our inquiry project. If we all got it done, then our reward was going to Dali Old Town. I had one last interview tonight, but only because the person was busy during the day. We got all of our work done so we got to go to Dali Old Town for 4 hours. I went with Kate W. and Chuli to get dumplings at our favorite shop first. After that, we headed to our favorite (dessert) shop, Sweet Tooth. I got a slice of chocolate peanut butter pie, and Kate and Chuli had a few bites too. We met Bryce Linden today, so he came to Sweet Tooth with us.

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Today I just realized how much I have gotten to know the village of XiZhou. Aneka and I walked to dinner and ate at our favorite restaurant. We ordered our usual dishes and then headed down to the market to get some pomegranates. We ate our (devine) dinner and then talked with Mr. Yang the restaurant owner. After dinner we went out into the town square to eat our pomegranates. After getting home, we grabbed our badminton raquets and played around a little bit. Rory, Aneka, Gayatri and I had such a blast while playing badminton in the court yard.

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Today we watched the sunrise, had a nice breakfast and started heading down the mountain. We first had to go uphill a little bit, but once we got over the mountain we went down to Erhai Lake. At first the paths were covered in water and it was very wet and slippery. We walked through many streams and my hiking boots and pants got soaked. After that, we spent about 6 hours getting down the mountain. After we got back, I had a nice shower and went straight to bed after calling home. This was a great day, and I am going to get lots of rest for tomorrow.

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Today we woke up and headed uphill for about three hours. Today was not as long, but it was more uphill than day 1 of the hike. After we reached the top of the mountain, we could see Xiao Hua Dian Ba (small hua dian ba.) We went up into the hill that reaches 3,232 meters above sea level. This was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. We had terrace time there and then headed down. Since it was still early morning, we had the rest of the day for relaxing and exploring. I explored and took lots of pictures. After my relaxing, I went up to one of the mountains to enjoy the view.

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It is the first day of the hike and we just went up the mountain and into Hua Dian Ba, which is a gorgeous valley. After we reached the top of the mountain, we walked in Hua Dian Ba for about three hours until we reached our camp site. We had a (delicious) dinner and set up our tents. We got to see all of the stars and learn about the constellations. I didn't get much sleep because I wasn't wearing enough layers. The hike today was so beautiful I couldn't believe it. It was challenging, but also so fun. This was a full day of hiking, so it felt good to get into bed.

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I am really missing home right about now. Pretty much everyone was homesick during the camping, but it felt good to get back to Yang Zhuo Ran. I am looking forward to the hike in a way, and not looking forward to it in a way. I think that it will just make me want to be home even more. When we are camping, and hiking for 6 hours a day, I will want to be at home. When we get back though, I'm sure it will feel so good to be in Yang Zhuo Ran. It is the halfway point today, and I miss everything back home. I miss my family, friends, home, my dog, the food, my bed, school, everything.

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Today, for our evening activity we went camping. This was partly for fun, and partly to prepare us for the hike. I had a stressful hour or two while we were preparing to leave for the tounge of the lake. I started packing my stuff, and getting all ready. After my (very full) bag was packed, I went to go get my bike. I got there only to realize that all of the bikes had been taken. So before I sorted that out, I went to pack my dinner. Again, I got there only to realize that there little food left. I got what I could, and grabbed a few granola bars, too.

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I had kind of a typical day here, and it was great, but I have decided to use this journal post to talk about the sky here. Today, it was very blue. It is just finishing up rainy season here, so sometimes the sky is a little gray in the morning and afternoon. During the day, the sun shines bright. The sun here is very intense when there are no clouds. At night, the sky has nice shades of blue that always surprise me (they are different sometimes.) We can see stars most of the time. We can also see Jupiter and Saturn sometimes. Mr.

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It is day 10, and it is our first day back from the weekend. I had a very good day, but of course the highlight was trivia night! Mr. T always love to play jeopardy with us at least once on the trip. Since I am in the evening activity committee, I helped to make the groups. After dinner, we all met up in classroom two where there was a projector. We watched a little bit of family feud to see what it was like. My team was Sarah, Rebecca, Andre, and me. After the first round, we were in the lead. Another round went by, and we gained bigger lead. The third round, all the points doubled.

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This journal post is a humanities assignment talking about the impact of tourism here in XiZhou. Here it is! 

Tourism has many potential positive, and negative impacts. XiZhou is possibly one of the most beautiful and amazing places I have ever been. Since it is so small, it is not a very well known spot here in Yunnan. When tourists come, everybody notices because it is such a small village.

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It is Saturday! We got to sleep in, have a late breakfast, and it was supposed to be a "chill" day. Unfortunately, it wasn't for me. I got up, had breakfast, and then did the dishes. After I did the dishes, I went to go do my laundry. Right after laundry, we rushed to lunch. After lunch, we had four hours of service learning time. I met some very nice people that would work well as service learning partners. After that we went back to hang up our laundry. After that, we rushed straight to dinner. After dinner we had movie night!

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It is only 2:00 and I have already had such an outstanding day. I woke up this morning and went on my usual run. After that we had breakfast, which as usual was very tasty. I love the dish we have called Er Si. Which is a soft noodle in soup. I also love the banana muffins that are made because they remind me of home. After breakfast we had SAS essentials, which is always good because I get a lot done. Today, I spent a lot of time working on my health character traits reflection.

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Today, we did many fun things and went on a two hour bike ride, but I also had many other highlights to the day. On the bike ride, we got to see Lake Erhai. It was so beautiful and I can't wait to go back. After dinner, we played card games and had a blast. It was a nice relaxer from the work I today. Although our WIPPIT time was cut short because of the bike ride, I still got to go talk to people in the village. This was a great experience because I got to see what it is going to be like for the next few weeks. I had one of those evenings that you just can't stop laughing.

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It is day 4 here and it was our first day of WIPPIT time! WIPPIT is a five and a half hour block of time that we can schedule. We have basic guidlines of what we need to do, but we can choose which order we do it in. The "W' is for wellness, which includes physical, emotional, and social wellness. We have an hour of wellness time everyday. The "IP" is for inquiry project. That is when we can go out into the village to interview people, and we can work on our inquiry projects. That is for two hours.

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We did many things today, but the most special time was terrace time. For terrace time, we find a quiet spot for 30 minutes to just observe things. We went to the Linden Centre to the roof terrace. That was the spot that Mr. T thought of microcampus in the first place. It was amazing what we could see once we just sat still. I watched the sunlight, the farming, the birds, the people, the pigs, the students, and so much more.

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Day two was even more amazing than day 1! I woke up a little early to spend some time on the terrace and take some pictures. The scenery here is absolutely amazing, and I got to see so much of it today. We started off the day with a great breakfast. Since I was a part of the daily video shoutout today, I was part of the group in charge of the dishes. After breakfast we had some time to work on our inquiry projects, and some down time. After that, we headed to Si Fang Jie (town square) for lunch. The food was amazing, and we got try some of the XiZhou specialties.

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We have just arrived in the beautiful XiZhou! At 5:15 AM we met up at the airport to begin our journey. We were on the plane for three hours, then got on the bus for seven. After arriving in XiZhou, we had a tour of the house and the town square. We had a nice walk to Si Fang Jie (town squre) and found our way back to Yang Zhuo Ran (the house.) We got to see all the kids in the square playing and having fun after dinner. The beautiful sunset behind the mountains was the perfect end to the day. We got settled in and got unpacked a little bit.

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Hi, my name is Kate and I have very mixed emotions about the September microcampus trip. I am excited, nervous, anxious, scared, and many more emotions that I don't even know how to explain. :) I am excited because I know that this is a once in a lifetime experience that I will cherish forever. On the other hand, there are so many things to be nervous about. I hope that I will be able to keep up with my work here in Shanghai while also keeping up with my work in Yunnan. The pre-trip process is a lot more work than I expected it to be.

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My name is Kate, and I am 13 years old. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. I have lived in Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Microcampus was the best experience of my life. This trip has given me the opportunity to learn about the village and the people who live here. I have learned so much about the culture, and the history throughout my time here. I am going to miss watching the birds fly in the cloudless blue sky, and breathing the fresh air. This was such an amazing experience and I will cherish it forever.