Andre R. (Alumni-D)'s Journal

Today was the JAMMIES ™.The JAMMIES are a bigger version of the Grammies. We all wore our most glamourous pyjamas and went into the TV room. As we walked in we walked down the Red Carpet (4 of Graham's red shirts). The TV was having technical difficulties, and so the offical ground of the JAMMIES was moved to Classroom 2. The JAMMIES is an award show that gave us the chance to recieve awards for awards such as "Best Photobomber", or "Best Arrivial Time Guesser." This was fun, and when we accepted our awards, we gave a speech, and all of the speeches were very cheesy.

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Today was the last day that we had a chance to go to Dali Old Town. We all had to have our work done, and have 8 photos posted to our journals in order to go. Before we left we also had our Service Learning Presentations. We all had invited our Service Learning partners to come and watch our presentations and we all got to see the look on their faces when they saw themselves on the projector. Afterwards we all got pictures and had a small party with food and drinks.

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Today Anna and Gayatri said they had a suprise for us. At 7:30 we all went down to the kitchen, and since both of their Inquiry Projects have to do with traditional food, I was expecting a tradtional Chinese dish. So when they ripped the cover off of the plates, I think we were all suprised when we saw a chocolate brownie/cake with small Snickers pieces spelling out DYNAMITE! After the shock subsided, we came up with a fair order on who would get the cake in what order. After everyone got their piece, we all dug in. It was delicious!

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Today Aneka and I edited our Service Learning video more. We had 45 minutes of film, and by the end of the day today, I had edited it down to under 6 minutes. This included putting the Chinese character that our partner said, as well as the English translation. I unfortunately missed Black Jack Night due to all this work. Also today we were all supposed to finish our Final Inquiry Projects. I managed to get all of this done, as well as this journal, so today was a very productive day.

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Today was a big advance in my Inquiry Project. I continued my video, and got it from 16 seconds to almost 3 minutes. Then I went out with Annaliese, and took pictures for my Inquiry Project. I also worked on my Service Learning video with Aneka. I learned that my chinese names for must of my tools were wrong, and updated my project to the changes. I am feeling good about my final product, and it is progressing well. I can not believe that there is only 4 days of Microcampus left, but I am still attempting to live in the moment. 

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Today was BNO, and GNI. These stand for Bro's Night Out, and Girl's Night In. For BNO we were scheduled to go camping, but the tide got too high, and we had to come back around 9:30. The girls apparently did each others nails, and braided each others hair, and I was so jealous of them. Sadly, there is not enough time to do another BNO, but we got to know Bryce Linden more. Bryce and Shane added our new bro count all the way up to an astounding 6!

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Today, the entire afternoom was dedicated to advancing our service learning project. At 3, my service learning group went to our scheduled appointment with Mr. Yang. Unfortunately he was not there at the time, but we suspected it had something to do with his wife, so we decided to try and interview her. She seemed shy, and would not let us film her, and so we asked again where her husband was. She said he was out working hard in the field. After we thanked her and left, we went to Mr.

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Unfortunately for us were not allowed to do reflection time for our evening activity. We went on a horsecart taxi ride! We were tricked into thinking that we were going to do reflection time at SiFang Jie. The horsecart ride was very bumpy, and the horse pooped on Rory's foot. We rode to Lake Erhai and actually had a few minutes of reflection. I would post some pictures but it was too dark to see anything. I had bought a lot of candy beforehard and hyped up on sugar. When we got back we had just enough time to do this journal, before going to bed.

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Today was the second time that we were allowed to go to Dali Old Town. We were allowed to go to the Dali Old Town because we finished all of our Phase 3 work. When we got to Dali Old Town we did almost excatly what we did last time. We went to the Foriegner Street and got some American food at a restaurant. The food was very good, and afterwards we went to the best dessert shop in town, The Sweet Shop. The food there is amazing and it always fills me up. Afterwards we went to get a massage, but our calves were still hurting from the hike.

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Today we got started back on track with all of our work. It was weird trying to get back on track after 3 days of hiking, and not doing WIPPIT Time. We took time before the daily meeting to confirm what we were supposed to be doing on the first day back from the hike. I went with Annaliese to the next village over to see the machine from which the kernels are taken off the rice. The machine was huge, and they said it can cost more than 10000 kuai. On the way to the factory, we saw a man who we wanted to get directions from to the factory.

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Today was the last day of our 3 day hike. We woke up to the yaks that had surrounded our campsite the day before, having migrated to the other side of the plain. Today was even colder than the yesterday in the morning. With the memories of the last night's stargazing still fresh in my head, we got up and got ready for breakfast. Breakfast was plain oatmeal, but it tasted better than it should have because it somewhat tasted like home food. We began our descent away from the mountains by heading away from the valley.

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Today we got up to a very chilly morning, and a great sunrise. Once we got up, and shook the sleep out of our brains, we got ready for another hike. Today we were scheduled to reach a maximum height of 3232 metres above sea level. We hiked uphill for about 2 hours, and saw the hill that we had the option of climbing. Matt, and I were the first ones to put down our bags, and to start climbing the hill. Normally this would be an easy situation, but when you are 3000+ metres above sea level, there is much less oxygen in the air, so we were both panting in the first 20 seconds.

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Today was the beginning of the 3 day hike. We were all very prepared, but it was much harder than anyone had anticipated. We began on a red soil trail and already we were feeling tired after an hour. This was not a good sign, but everyone managed to stay postive. We had a few water breaks and that kept our energies high. Everyone supported each other, and made sure that we were all going to make it through the rest of the hike. After about 5 hours, we were all very tired, and looking forward to the end, but little did we know we still had almost half of the hike left.

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Today was the exact halfway point of Microcampus. 14 days, and we are still going. Today was a normal day until after dinner. Graham got a call from Mr.T that said Graham's antique dealer had found some stuff that Graham and Mr.T had forgot at his house. We went to his shop and he said to get into his van. This was ok because we are in a small town, but this is probably not a good idea in Shanghai. He took us with about 6 or 7 others to their houses, then took us to the gas station, and then finally back to his house. After we retreived the items, we walked 2 minutes back to SFG.

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Last night it rained and camping was only an option. However, we are tough, and decided to go to the Tongue of the Lake  for a camp out. We rode our bikes through a deep puddle on the way there. When I say deep, I mean deep; deep enough that when Graham fell of his bike, the water came up to his chest. After we rode through some more puddles, we finally got to our spot. Everyone locked their bikes to another bike, then to a tree. Setting up the tents was quite an adventure for Graham and I.

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Today was the beginning of the second week at Microcampus. It felt strange having to get up before 7:20, but I managed. At WIPPIT time Matt, Jeffrey, and I went to the Linden Centre to find Craig Evans about a possible farming experience. On the way we tried to set up an appointment we saw working in the farm, but we were rejected. Craig told us that Fay would set us up with the farmer Mrs. Yang, who is also a kitchen worker at the Linden Centre, also she is someone we already interview, so we already had established a connection.

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Today was offically the end of the first week of Microcampus. It was comptely chill except for a few moments of stopping to catch up on SAS Essentials work. After I got all my individual work done, all the kids from Pudong science got together to discuss how the village of Xizhou depends on the Lithosphere, Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, Biosphere. Before that we went to Sifang Jie for lunch. I do not think I have ever explained what Sifang Jie is, so now I will tell you. Sifang Jie is the main square in the center of Xizhou, Sifang Jie literally means 4 corner street.

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I looked at my watch as it said 7:30, I ran out of bed before I realized that it was Saturday. It was nice to be able to eat breakfast whenever we wanted between 8:30 and 9:30. Breakfast was comprised of amazing bacon, and eggs. At 1 we started our Service Learning Projects. We split into our groups and went to make connections with local elders. It went well except for the fact that most of the elders spoke traditional Bai dialect, and we did not really understand what they were saying.  

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Today was pretty normal until 3:30 in the afternoon when we piled onto a bus to go to Dali Old Town. We entered through the West Gate and us boys went looking for somewhere eat dinner. We eventually found an American restaurant where we ordered Amercian food. This is the first time that we had American food in a week, and it tasted better than normal. After that we went to a spot that Mr. T reccomened for dessert. None of us could finish our dessert because it was so filling. I came up with the brilliant idea of getting a foot massage.

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As Matt and I worked on getting our 30 minutes in zone again today, Xiao Tang approached us saying she had a suprise. She had brought in two men from the Government of Agriculture in China! We went for a walk with the men to one of the men's old house. His old house was locked and he didn't have the key, so we were invited to his new house. When we got in to his house, he introduced us to his whole family including his mother, who I am considering doing my Inquiry Project. Xiao Tang translated our questions for us. I His family was very hospitable and offered both of us pomegrantes.

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My roomamtes and I were supposed to go for another early morning run this morning except for the fact that we all fell back asleep after the alarm stopped ringing. We were all very grateful for the extra half hour of sleep. During today's WIPPIT time we spilt into 2 groups, and one group went for a bike ride, and the other worked on their inquiry project.

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Today was the first day that Mr. T said followed a normal day's schedule. It was also the first day that we had WIPPIT. WIPPIT stands for Wellness, and Inquiry Project, Pitching In, and Terrace Time. I already got my first day with 30 mins in zone. I had to run to the Linden Center and back and also jump roped for at least 15 mins. WIPPIT time is better thatn normal classes for me because it is very stress-free, and it gives me more freedom. WIPPIT is probably, besides food, my favorite part of the day, and I can not wait to do it again tomorrow.

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We woke to a pitch black morning. The night before we had decided to go for a early morning run. Just a caution for anyone who wants to go for a morning run, then be prepared for not wanting to go. Once I finally got up Matt, Graham, Jeffrey, and I went to the front gate to start our run. Aneka was also going for a run, and decided to join us. The main gate was locked, and as Aneka was trying to open the gate as quietly as possible to not wake the others, the guard came over and ripped the gate open, very, very loudly.

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Boy isn't leaving at 4 in the morning absoulutely delightful. Sure it is. We got on a plane at 6:30, and finally had time to sleep. After the flight we got on a seemingly endless 7 hour bus ride from Kun Ming Airport, to the village of Xizhou. We carried our bags to our home of Yang Zuo Ran. We got settled into our new rooms and had some down time. We had an amazing dinner that the staff prepared for us. We had some more chill time, and then got ready for bed. The rooms are awesome with really cool bunk beds. Couldn't wait for the first real day of microcampus.

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Today was the first real day at Microcampus. In the morning we split into two groups judged by our working groups. My group went for a tour around the village interacting with the locals at Happy Embroidery, and also at a rice noodle factory. When we got back to YZR, we met up with the other group, which had chill time for the period when we were gone, for lunch. After lunch we switched activites. Unfortunatley I was behind in my Inquiry Project work, and spent the chill time working on it.

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It was great meeting all the Puxi kids. I think it was good for us to meet, not digitally, before we left for Xizhou, and so we had time to bond. If was fun laughing at how much trouble it was to order pizza in China. We had a lot of fun overall, especially trying to find a valid place to sleep. We got to know each other better, and that just made me look forward to Microcampus even more than before. I can't wait to see everyone again through Skype tomorrow. 

 

 

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Microcampus has been an awesome experience. WIPPIT time has made me more responsible by giving me time and not telling me what to do, and when to do it. The food is absolutely amazing, and that has helped me expend my cultural food boundaries. I suggest Microcampus for anyone, especially if you love new experiences, and trying new things.