Risa Y. (Alumni-P)'s Journal

Today is the last full day of our phenomenal Microcampus experience in Xizhou! Time has passed so fast, I still remember the first day like it was yesterday. We have already packed and will be leaving YangZhuoRan at 7:30 tomorrow morning. After I finish writing this will be my last and final time to say my goodbyes to the locals. Yesterday was the end of all the loose ties, we presented our uuservice learning video to our partners and at last, everything is finished.

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Why did I come to Microcampus? At first, I wanted to come because I thought it was a China Alive trip but longer, it is not. I wanted to come to try to take on leadership and get out of my comfort zone, I have. I wanted to come to make more connections and practice my social skills, I do that everyday now. The moment I signed up for Microcampus I knew I took a risk to go to a completely different place for one month. I thought it would practice me for independence for going to boarding schools next year, and it did.

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Yesterday was the all star whiz bang super duper fun trivia night and our team won by 148 points!. We were called the "Yellow YingYangs", although the meaning is a little races. Our mascot was a rotten banana, black on the outside with yellow spots, but still perfecly white in the inside. After we rushed to finish dinner and go outside to look for possible customes, my group member, Michael W and I went out shopping for my group and got matching hats, scarfs, and banans. It turns out we got the highest score in the history of trivia.

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Imagine four brave musketeers, roaming through the sharp rice fields only to reach the most treacherous, Linden Centre. A little while ago, the four of us, Nicole F, Annie Q, Grace W, and I decided to dress up in sweatpants and comfortable attires to go work out at the Linden Centre gym, but if only we knew how perilous the road in front were... There were needle like straw stuck our over our pants and shoes after we came out, the rice fields were filled with narrow dirt paths that could be walked on.

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Today a few of us decided to head uphill to get some steaming hot baozi, which is steamed bun that has fillings inside. It was honestly amazing and the best that I have ever tried. Since we eventually realized that there were nowhere in the shop to sit, we decided to walk in the rain and find a possible shop to sit down at. Unfortunately, all the shops along that street were filled with students on their lunch breaks. And so eventually, we arrived at the street heading to YangZhuoRan, and decided to head back since the rain started heavily pouring down.

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As a member of the common area committee, our job is to keep the common spaces clean and give "gentle" reminders to those who lost their stuff. So that is exactly what my partner, James L and I did. We first began this process where if the person wants to get back their lost stuff, they would have to sing or dance or 30 seconds or more to get it back straight away or wait for six hours, in addition we have the right to record.

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As my roommate, Grace W burst through our room exclaiming how there were only 6 more days of this phenomenal experience in Xizhou, I felt my heart thump. How could this be ending so soon? It is hard to believe that I have just gained a new home but now we are being teared away from it. I know Mr.

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This afternoon during inquiry time, my fellow friend, Rachel B invited me to go to HaiShe with her to accompany her on her woodcarving experience there. So once we got there, I was actually very astonished by how breathtaking the view was, I honestly thought the wood carving place would just be in a dull building. Instead, it was in a forest like environment surronded by the warm embrace of nature. The building was made out of glass and wood and Rachel worked with an assitance wood carver in a table outside. After she finished the requirements work for today, we went out exploring.

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This was a great way to start of the day, my roomates, Grace W, Nicole F, Tiffany Z, and I rolled out of bed as soon as the alarm hit 7:15. After that was pretty normal except Mr. T told us some very exciting news for some of us. He announced that 5 people would be going to Dali Old Town! I later found out that I was one of the 5, so that was very interesting. I am really looking forward to eating pizza in Xizhou, which I had been craving for for the past 2 weeks. Other than that, we have to finish the whole Phase 4 by the end of WIPPIS time today.

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Today, we had a pretty harsh morning where we learned how each of us are using our technology. Technology should be a learning tool instead of a toy, and I think each of us knows it deep inside but no one is actually acting this way. Personally, I think I do need to work on this too, to have more of self discipline and less of technology. I should not always rely on my phone to take pictures, I should also bring my camera around too and not complain about how heavy it is.

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Today was FREEZING, which was very unusual to be happening in Xizhou since it has been sizzling for the past 16 days that we have been in Xizhou. It started raining and forming really strong wind the day our Phenomena group went hiking in Jade Belt. After that, the weather twisted into this winter like day. During the morning today, everybody was freezing and was wearing stocking hats, mittens, layers and layers of jackets, and even furry socks!

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Yesterday three of us, Grace W, Rachel B and I got an offer to go milk the cows by Mrs. Zhang. It was a really cool because it was one in a life time experience, something that definitely wouldn't happen in Shanghai. All three of us took turns doing it and it was kind of weird and intimitating at first, but overall it was a pretty interesting thing to do. Mrs. Zhang was extremely hospitable to us and we really appreciate it. After the miking, we each searched and bought a scarf that she made for the hiking trip today. 

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Yesterday, our Phenomena group went hiking and camping at Jade Belt. During the afternoon hike, Mallory B, Rachel B and I were the front pack/leaders of the group and we were like the navigators which had to ask around to find the direction of "WuWei Si". After going to the interesting temple, (some religious microcampus students prayed too) us leaders decided to bring to group to a higher ground and explore more territory.

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Walking through the dusty construction worksite, my friends, Rachel B and Grace W finally step upon the cheese "heaven". Inside the place, there were breathtaking tie-dye pieces hnging against the wall, colorful adournments laid on huge tables, and last but not least, Mrs. Zhang and her husband making cheese. Meanwhile we were getting used to the beautiful site, Mrs. Zhang immediately offered us a plate of freshly cut cheese grinning warming at us.

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Today was actually pretty chill, except for the fact that two Microcampus students got sick this morning. This should tell everyone to take notice and be aware of the four "Hs" hygiene, hydration, hand washing, and 9 hours of sleep. I think personally, consistent hand washing is the most challenging out of the four for me because I tend to forget to wash my hands before meals and after I get back from outside. So I will definitely need to work on that because this is probably the main cause of why people get sick in Microcampus.

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After the breathtaking view of the stars yesterday, today was yet another great day of excitement in Xizhou. For wellness, the four of us, Nicole L, Rachel B, Claire Q and I jogged to the bank first, then to the place near "Joanne's" tree. It was seriously an astonishing view, on the east side of the tree, there were a series of rice paddies and lakes.

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Today was Sunday, a day for relaxation and rest so we did not really do anything all day except for sleeping and playing cards, What was really memorable was yesterday night, our star gazing activity. After shower, Rachel B and I noticed the beautiful night sky, stars boasting across the clouds. So I immediately called some other friends to join us in the courtyard.

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This was a very long day, we had two hours of history lecture talk, (although the topic was very interesting), then three teachers from SAS actually came to visit us; Mrs. Reed, Mrs. Digges, and Ms Fishman which was a nice surprise and reminded us Microcampus students about our home in Shanghai as well. Overall, I think our service learning group was very productive since we have talked to about four people in our one hour thirty minute time. I think we might have found our service learning partner, Mr. Mao. His story really intrigued me, I found out that his real name was actually Mr.

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This was a great way to start off the day, right after breakfast, Mr T introduced us the official "Phantom of the Room Inspection." As we were finishing off cleaning for breakfast, suddenly Mr. T appeared with a mask on half of his face and starting singing opera about room inspection. I was honestly really surprised about how long he could hold a note. After that, Mr. T started doing a full room inspection one after another. The first one was room 4, they got 1.1/ 5, which we thought was extremely low however our thoughts changed immediately after he inspected my room.

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Here is yet another amazing day of Phenomena. The sky is clear blue as usual, cuckoo birds are "cuckooing" when the minute hand hits 12, and it is our second day of the WIPPES schedule. I was was one of the half group which went outside for lunch and James, Michael, Grace, and I ate at the "Garden Entrance" and my favorite dish was the 青椒炒肉丝. Before eating, we ech went to the milkshake/bubble tea place and ordered something, I got the rose petal bubble tea today.

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Phenomena has yet again experienced another extraordinary day of Microcampus. Us as a group has truly and finally got to our senses about how to "behave" well and adapt into the environment, in addition to making connections with locals. Speaking of connections, today, I have made two new friends during my wellness time. Grace and I kept jogging down hill until finally reaching a beautiful space filled with clear blue skies and farmers growing crops. As I was jogging along the pave walk, a nice looking lady walked my way carrying axes, wheat, and others in her basket.

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Today was a pretty special day for Phenomena, our first day actually taking control of this trip. After three days of taking instruction and guidance from Mr. T and Mrs. Mai, today they have stepped back and we have started to take control of our own actions. This morning was pretty normal, breakfast was amazing as usual, except a student led the daily meeting. Tiffany did a great job and we all learned a lot from it, for example it is a time to report information instead of confirming and asking questions if you are the point person.

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 Today is day 3 out of the 28 days of Microcampus. It was not exactly a great day and we still have lots of things to work on. The most unforgettable part of the day was our biking journey today and the speeches given out tonight. Our small group  didn't bring the best we had, but we should have. Our biking experience didn't start off as good, not everyone was pulling the weight, but we each had something specific to work on.

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Today is day 2 out of the 28 days of our whole microcampus experience and we are already getting very comfortable in YangZhuoRan, our new home. We spent the day getting to know the village and while doing that, the most memorable part was the tie-dye shop and the rice cake factory. When we first got in the rice factory, it was honestly very fascinating to see how so little people can manage such a huge amount of work. There were piles of rice stacked up, machines operating (grinding the rice up and making into dough), and people going back and forth. Mr.

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This is the first day of us getting settled down to our new home, nearly four hours on the plane, a long walk with our luggage, tiring, however still very exciting to experience. The most memorable part of the whole day was just exploring the village for the first time. Before lunch, Mr. T took all the girls for a walk to the SiFang Jie, there were still some construction going on in the pavewalks. When we finally got there, the whole scene was really fascinating to me, blue skies, locals laughing, and many little shops selling food and clothes along the path. There we met Mrs.

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Hi, my name is Risa Yokoyama and this is my first journal entry post. I will be participating in the Microcampus trip in 2016 from April to May. I am really excited to travel to Xizhou with the group to meet to local residents there and just experience their daily life. I hope this amazing opportunity will help me expand my horizons and also get out of my comfort zone. I cannot wait!

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My name is Risa Y. and I'm 14 years old, currently in 8th grade. I was born in Japan but moved to China when I was about one year old and this is my 9th year at SASPD. My hobbies include singing and playing badminton. This Microcampus experience has evolved me into an independent leader and has made me gain my horizons and improve on my social skills at the same time. This has been a life changing experience and I will forever cherish and remember this special month in Xizhou.