Joanne C. (Alumni-N)'s Journal

In the beginning, I thought I wanted to come to Microcampus because it would be a "fun and different experience". I do not think it is possible to have a full and complete understanding of what Microcampus is like before going on the tripNow that I have gone through everything, I think there is so much more to it. Microcampus reveals character and habits and is an opportunity (thanks to Mr Tafel).

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Today, 6 people, Mr. Tafel, and I went to visit Mr. Du's antique shop for a final time. We went to look at what he had, and possibly buy something that piqued our interest. Before we even entered the place, Mr. Tafel's word of advice was "buy something as if it was sitting in a brand new store instead of an antique shop". That way, if it was fake, we would still be happy. If it wasn't fake and actually 600 years old, all the better. We entered his home and Mr.

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Unfortunately, Mrs Yang was not able to attend the Service Learning presentation. We walked over to where her stand is, offered fruit, she declined, offered to walk her over, she declined again, she gave us fish and butterfly embroidery keychains, and then she accepted a bag of Longan. However, it was nice to see how the other two guest's reactions. While watching other people's videos, I would look over to the person of whom the video was about. They would always smile, and maybe look slightly embarrassed.

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For the past two days, our WIPPIS times have been solely dedicated to finishing up both our Inquiry Projects and out Service Learning videos. I am just almost done with my Inquiry Project, but I also have to do a major part of Service Learning because I'm the only one who can speak "proper" Chinese. I excused myself from lunch early, went up to classroom 1, and did my work like I should.

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Today, the phantom of the room inspector paid YangZhuoRan a visit. He sang out in the building with a beanie for a mask. He glided from room to room, giving a rating on a scale of 1-5. Last time, we were the highest scoring room with a 3.7. Today, however, we were the lowest scoring room. Jie Ling and I cleaned our parts of the room, but apparently Ryley forgot to.

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Yesterday, I went for my final time to the woodcarving shop. I got in the car at about 13:15 and returned home at 17:15. There, I was to be in the smoke and saw dust for what I think the very last time. I spent my time finishing up the background leaf, cleaning the corners, and carving the details. At the end, Mr Yang unstuck it from the table (they used super glue to hold it down), and brought it outside for a quick sanding. At first, I just stood by and watched saw dust fly all over the place.

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Yesterday night, after we all ate dinner, Bryce Linden brought hackey sacks. Bryce and Mr Tafel are both really good and are really interesting to watch. Ms Zhang is still really good but pretty funny to watch. All the students are all learning, so the game doesn't go very quickly. We played in SiFangJie as one big group, but could barely see cause it was night time. The ground was wet so by the time we were finished, the hackey sacks were soaked and muddy and disgusting.

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Today for my Inquiry Project, Mr Tafel and I went to DaLi Old Town to continue on my wood carving. By the four times I've already gone, I was pretty accustomed to the environment: busy people, smoke in the air, chill place... All good stuff. Compared to my first visit, I was falling in the swing of things. My piece really came along, and my teacher said I learn quickly. I think I'll be done halfway through my next visit, so I might carve another small little piece just for fun. 

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Today is the day that we start (and finish) Phase 4 in our projects. We all got into classroom one and sat there for about two hours and a half both listening to Mr T guiding us further through the process and editing our Phase 4. Phase 4 is about developing our final product, so we had to consider what our final product was going to look like and what it would be about. Towards the end, Mr T gave us a perspective on the deadline of the final product (10:00 AM, Monday), and two pieces of advice.

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Today, Riko and I jumped rope for wellness. Part of the new set of rules enforced upon us include wellness inside of YangZhuoRan unless with special permission from Mr T. In resolution, Riko and I took two ropes and jumped roped right outside of YangZhuoRan. We had 35 minutes to get 30 minutes of time in zone, and out heart rate monitors didn't work all too well. Amazingly, we did achieve it eventually, but we didn't just jump rope. We also did pushups and played tug-o'-war.

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My Humanities book is Shanghai Girls. It's an amazing book written by Lisa Lee, but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone under my age. It takes place in Shanghai, 1937, and goes to San Francisco as well. The writing style is really nice to read and really is one of the better books I've read.

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At SiFangJie today, Ryley, Riko, and I went to visit Grandma Yang (杨婆婆). She's the person who we're talking to for our Service Learning project. She makes little hand crafts right outside her home for a living, and is there all day wearing a big white hat. She's really nice, really open, really friendly, and laughs a lot. When I asked her "are you comfortable with answering some possibly personal questions", she replied, "Whatever I can answer, I will.

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Today I went to DaLi Old Town with Riko from 13:30 to 19:00. It was pretty difficult to find someone willing to go with me for such a long period of time, but she knocked on my door and offered, so I owe a huge thanks to her. We got to DaLi Old Town in search for a wood carving teacher. The first conversation I had with someone was quite awkward, but as we moved on the the 4th and 5th person, it was a lot more natural.

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Today I went to a tree with Melanie. The real name of the tree is the "Ficus Hookeriana Corner". If you don't believe it, there's a sign. We walked over during our down time to climb on the tree, which we did so with careful permission from Mr T, and began our ascent. At first, our shoes started slipping, so I took mine off. Then Mel's water bottle was being a real inconvenience, so we left it on a split in the tree. After that, it was fairly easy to climb around.

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Today we went for a five hour hike that we actually completed in four and a half. We packed our bags, drove up to the base of CangShan mountain, and started climbing. At first, the pace was pretty fast, and not everyone could keep up. We also stopped on steep slopes and different forks in the road. It was only after a good 30 minutes or so that we finally got into the pace of hiking. After that, it was a breeze. We took breaks when we needed to, and talked to each other to make sure we were all right.

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Really, I'm better than both of them, but they don't need to know that. Unfortunately, Melanie is responsible for looking over my journals, so she may be mad and I may be dead in the near future. Yannick's pretty fun to eat soup with. For the two times I ate lunch with him, the soup was always spicy. First, we went to Old Town Snacks to get dumplings, so I asked him if he wanted his with a little bit of chilli.

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At 18:30 tonight, Jie Ling finished her dinner early and so did I. In solution, we decided to call Mr Tafel if we could go out for a night walk. Once he approved, we went off to the ficus tree. The first thing we noticed once outside of YangZhuoRan was how big the moon was. Because it was so close to all the buildings surrounding us, it looked huge in comparison.

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Today we went back to the tie-dye area for wellness again. This time, we brought a frisbee. The frisbee is definitely smaller than regulation size, but it was still useful. The problem was that we were on concrete when we really should've been on grass. There was a little bit of a breeze as well which threw it off course a bit. Surprisingly, it got me time-in-zone, so it was still okay. After that, we headed back to YZR. It was only after we just got back that I realised I wanted to take still time there, so I decided to finish pitching in just a bit early so I could go back and chill.

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For wellness today, Margaret, Sabrine, and I went to a parking lot. We couldn't jump rope in the courtyard, so I called Mr T to ask him where we could. He explained the directions on how to get there, and I roughly knew the way. When it came time to run out, I was quite proud of myself for being able to navigate where to go.

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Today we just came back from camping out at Lake ErHai. We started off on Saturday, where we packed our hiking backpacks and rode our bikes to the tongue of the lake. There, we set up our tents, ate the dinner box that we packed along with us, and eventually, slept. Beforehand, however, Melanie and I walked around the park area. It was dark, so we had our flashlights. Even with flashlights, I shone it on what seemed like solid ground, and stepped with both feet into a swamp area. What fun. We also looked at stars.

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Today is Saturday. That means we got to sleep in. However, I decided to wake up at 7:30, take a morning shower, and do some exercise with Jie Ling. In fact, our plan is just to do 2 minute elbow planks and 40 pushups each morning and night. This morning, since no one was out yet and Ryley was still sleeping in our room, we decided to do it out in the courtyard.

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Today we went on a half-day trip. All of us got onto a bus then about half of us got off at the tie-dye factory while the other half stayed on the bus until we got to the wind turbine farm. From a distance it seemed like the wind turbines were huge. They were all scattered across the mountain. When we got closer, I feel like they were a bit smaller than I originally thought, but once you get close to one, it becomes huge again. If your eyes follow one of the blades as it spins towards you, it scares you a little bit.

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caterpillarRiko doesn't like caterpillars. I tried to get her to take a picture with one, but she steadily refused. That's okay though, I took a picture of the caterpillar anyway. We were doing our daily video shout out by the ficus trees, when there was a caterpillar. It crawled on my laptop and my camera. Eventually when it crawled back off, we gently nudged it with a stick.

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All count-off numbers 1 through 7 went out for lunch today. I'm number 7, so I went with Margaret and Yannick to SiFangJie for lunch. We also went out for dinner last night, and ate at Old Town Snacks with Yannick and a few other people, so we didn't want to go back there again. Instead, I suggested Muslim food, so we went to that area to look for a restaurant.

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We went for a bike ride around Lake Erhai to get used to the bikes. I went with six other people, and we went through all saftey procedures as a group. First we got to do a "chalk talk" where we discuss what to do in which situations, then we picked our bikes, put on our safety vests and helmet, and went out. At first, I thought that I had the biking thing down pretty well, but as a group on narrow streets and lots of people was a bit difficult to deal with.

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Today I woke up at 7:00 when it was still dark. It was a chilly morning, but slowly warmed up with the sun. We went on a quick tour of YangZhuoRan, had breakfast, and went over a couple details before having some free time till 10:00. I decided to go up to the music room to play guitar because I didn't get much time last night. The sun came up through the windows, onto the tables and chairs, and hit the back of my head. I chose to start off with "Stop This Train" by John Mayer because it felt like that kind of morning.

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Yesterday was the first day on Microcampus. We went from plane to bus to our own two feet to get to YangZhuoRan, but eventually made it in one piece. We ate dinner, got our rooms sorted, unpacked our bags, and then it was time to nearing time to sleep. Instead of going straight to bed, I dug in my backpack to find the binoculars that I brought along. Taking some time to myself, I went straight up to the terrace and looked up. The sky was mental.

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My name is Joanne and I am 14 years old. Some of my hobbies include guitar, ultimate frisbee, cross country running, the occasional poem, and the more-than-occasional doodle. I have lived in a small town in Minnesota for the majority of my life, but I have grown accustomed to the quick pace of Shanghai. The 28 days of Microcampus was an unforgettable experience that will influence me in my future. I strongly believe that future Microcampus students will have a great time.