James L. (Alumni-P)'s Journal

Our group have finally completed our service learning video! After 2 days of cutting, editing, revising and a little bit more editing, the video is finished! Click here to view the video. Our three minute video took a team of four 48 hours to complete. If it were that difficult for us to finish such a short video, how difficult would it be to complete a 2 hour-long movie?

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My dumb phone finally arrived! My parents sent me a flip phone for me to use here in microcampus. I think flip phones were really popular during the 90s. What really surprised me was that they still manufacture them today. These dumb phones are also so difficult to use. I charged mine for the entire day but it simply refused to turn on no matter what I tried.

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In this blog post I will be sharing my results after days of experimenting and analyzing a card trick. If you happen to find to post, you are in luck because you are about to learn a new card trick. This is trick is a variation of the card trick where I sort cards into three piles for three times and then tell you which card you chose. The original trick is completed with 21 cards.

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I was the facilitator for the daily meeting today. The experience was actually quite interesting, and there was a lot to reflect on. Being the meeting facilitator means you must have a good grasp on what exactly is happening for the day and what will happen in the near future. When I was the facilitator I announced all the important events that will be happening in the next 5 days. You also needed a confident and audible voice to keep the meeting in control.

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Today during SAS essentials we had to finish up our science lap write up. My write up was about how we can reduce the green house gas sulfur dioxide released from the burning of the garlic plants. This is a pretty big problem in Xizhou. The solution I came up with was to collect the left over garlic stems and leaves to extract the sulfur from them for industrial uses. The largest industry in Dali is the mining industry.

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Today I finished Phase 4 of my inquiry process. I decide on what my final product will look like and I finished creating the out line of my final product. I will be creating a hypothetical business for my final product using the knowledge I acquired about business management during my time in Xizhou. I will utilize the knowledge I gained on business structures, market environment in Xizhou and marketing strategies to explain to my audience just how my business will function.

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Today was a tough day. Many of us got into trouble for misusing our technology. We are currently going through one of the big dips during the trip. Nevertheless, It is what we do after the big dip that matters the most; its what you learn from your mistakes that allow you to grow. I am sure everything will get better for the rest of the trip. Only with the right amount of sunshine and the right amount rain, will a rainbow appear in the sky.

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Today I went and Interviewed Mrs. Zhao, the owner of the restaurant Old Town Snacks for inquiry project. Old Town Snacks is the most visited restaurant by Microcampus students. After this interview I learned more about the restaurant and Mrs. Zhao herself than I ever could be simply eating at the restaurant. I learned that Old Town Snacks is one of the leading dining businesses on Sifang Jie. About 8 years ago, restaurants on Sifang Jie had no proper housing for them open up a shop.

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Today is a Sunday, with a pretty layback schedule and nothing too exciting going on. Therefore, I will use this post to do a brainstorm on the possible final products of my inquiry project. My topic is business management in Xizhou. Through interviews with locals, I have acquired knowledge on the structure on small business, how they function and the marketing strategies used by owners here in Xizhou. I currently have three different models I might base the final product on.

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Today is day 15, marking the half way point of my microcampus experience in Xizhou. I will be using today's post to reflect upon my growth and achievements in the past 14 days. So far microcampus has been an amazing experience for me. I am getting to experience and do things I would never get a chance to do in Shanghai. Over the past 14 days, I have learnt a ton about my inquiry topic Business management in Xizhou.

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I woke up today feeling a lot better. My stomachache was gone and I'm feeling just fine. I've only had water and porridge for the last 24 hours. I am still going to take the day off to give my body more time to rest and my delicate stomach a chance completely heal. I also spent some time working on my inquiry project. I am going to have to miss the hike and the camp out tonight, but my health always comes before anything else. This experience has taught me just how important rest and hydration is for one's body.

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Today was just another normal day. We had our normal WIPPIS schedule and I spent my inquiry project time out in the village and interviewed another local business owner. Since nothing much as happened during today, I'll spend this blog post talking about my biggest hobby in Xizhou: trying out the local cuisine. So far I have tried out 2 local delicacy: the Xizhou "Ba Ba" and the "Ru San". The Xizhou "Ba Ba" has a very similar shape to the 葱油饼 we have in Shanghai but with slighter larger and thicker in size.

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One of my blog post followers just brought up another interesting theory that I would like to share with every one: Time Zones. The Chinese government had the entire country follow the same time of GMT +1. However, in reality, China is so big it takes up three to four  consecutive time zones. On a world map Shanghai is in the GMT +8 Timezone while Yunnan is actually in around the GMT +7 time zone. In simple English, the time in Shanghai is around one hour faster than in Xizhou, Yunnan.

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Today for my inquiry project time I went and visited Mr. Tao, the owner of a coffee shop called Tian's Coffee. I interviewed him for my inquiry topic, Business Management. His responses to my questions really made think. When I asked him what drove him to start his business, he surprised me saying that he started his coffee shop because of his love for coffee.

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Today is Sunday, a day where we get to just chill, relax and get some rest. We started off the day with some wellness reflection, where we took sometime to consider our physical, emotional and social wellness the past week. After that we started playing some cards games like 24, BS, Egyptian Rat Screw, Spoons and Signal. When I got bored with cards I decided to go with Raine, Alexis, and Tiffany to go biking to a basketball court they found the other day to play ball. However, Murphy's Law holds true again: Raine and Tiffany forgot where the court was.

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Today Mr.T gave us a two hour-long lecture on the history of China. He explained to us that china's history is actually a giant loop. It starts with a establishment of a new leader or new government. This government than implements their own reforms and changes to the society. The reforms have its initial success but then its effects slowly fade out; the society reaches a point where it can't get any better. This new leader or government would then loosen the reforms or and new laws. The loosing of rules or addition of excessive laws would then cause a wealth imbalance in the society.

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Today I went visited the owner of "Happy Embroidery" Ms. Li for my Inquiry project Phase 3 work. Compare to my last interview with local contacts, this one went a lot smoother. One thing I changed was that I used my laptop to record the conversation rather than taking notes while my local contact talks.

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Today was my first time signing up for teachers support and actually interviewing a local contact. During my WIPPIS time I went to Sifang Jie and had a chat with Ms. Wang, owner of a rose petal product shop. She sells products ranging from rose petal wine, rose petal cakes to rose petal candy. I started off the interview feeling extremely awkward and anxious, but Ms. Wang was a very nice person and she helped nudge me along with my questions. As the conversation progressed, I felt more and more confident with my questions and received extremely useful information.

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So far I have came up one "educated guess" to why the sun sets so late here. What I believe is the major cause of it would be the location of Xizhou. Xizhou is in the Yunnan province, further down on the map than Shanghai. In other words, it is much closer to the equator. Using the knowledge I acquired during science class, I know that locations closer to the equator have higher angles of insolation, and a longer time period of insolation (for more detailed explanations please google "What creates the seasons on Earth" like what I did).

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Today we officially took over the process and completed our work on our own. Overall, I believed we actually did a pretty good job today; not once did we make a mistake and have Mr. T gives a lecture. Compared to yesterday, we did a lot better. As Murphy's Law states: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong"... and it did. We had a little (just a little) trouble with the wellness session today. Claire twisted her ankle so she could jog with us during the wellness session.

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One phrase to sum up what happened today: Mad Mr. T. Today is one of those days where you just can't seem to do it right and manage to screw everything up. Altogether I had around 5 discussions with Mr. T, and in every discussion Mr. T managed to see right through me and point out my mistakes and weaknesses. Although he phrased his words in a kind and gentle manner, I still felt like I died a little on the inside. Nevertheless, I learned a lot from these conversations.

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It has been a long and tough day. After waking up at 3 AM, enduring a long turbulent flight and stuffy bus ride, we have finally arrived at our destination where we will be living for the next 28 day: the Linden Centre in Xizhou. We arrived at the Linden Centre at around 2 PM, which according to Mr. T, was the earliest time out of all the microcampus groups to have arrived. Most of the day was spent unpacking our luggage and settling into our rooms with occasional lectures given by Mr T. regarding rules and guidelines at the Linden Centre.

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Hi, my name is James. I am 14 years old and this is my second year at Shanghai American School Pudong. I was born in Seattle but moved back to China with my parents when I was about 4 to 5. My hobbies are playing basketball and golf. I was part of the 16th microcampus group, Phenomena. I grown and matured more during the trip than I ever will in the three years of middle school. Microcampus has been a truly amazing experience for me, it is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. Memories made, memories not wasted.