Grace W. (Alumni-P)'s Journal

Nicole FAlexis and I worked together in a group for our service learning project.

Our service learning partner was Mrs. Zhang. She is currently 59 years old and collects and sells antiques for her and her husband's antique shop. She lived in Xizhou for almost three years, but is from Heqing, an area in Yunnan that is North East of Dali.

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I came to Microcampus for experiential learning and for a unique journey that would serve as a break from the unchanging daily life in Shanghai. Now, it is the last full day of that journey, and I can definitely say this trip fulfilled my wildest dreams. I definitely learned experientially, overcoming challenges along the way that helped me grow. It was definitely unique and different from anything else I have ever done, and probably will ever do.

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(Tuesday, 5.24.16. Day 25)

Four teenage muskateers headed to the legendary Linden Centre,

The first one's name is Nicole F.

The second one's name is Risa.

The third one's name is, well, it's me.

The fourth one's name is Annie.

We're marching to the legendary Linden Centre

off to see the mystical magical gym,

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(Friday, 5/20/16. Day 21)

The farming lady holds a little rusty metal hatchet,

carrying a little grass-woven basket,

Tossing with her little hands the little grubby grasses,

into the murky little pond.

Her little sister waddles over with her little rusty metal hatchet,

carrying a twin little grass-woven basket,

containing twin little bunches of grubby green grass.

Now,

Two little expressions looking up at me.

I wonder aloud a little,

what are you doing with your little grass bunches?

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(Monday 5/16/16. Day 17)

Our days here are becoming more regular and uneventful as the daily Microcampus schedule becomes a norm for us, though not at all in a bad way. Just looking at my Week 3 schedule tells me not much will be different this week- here is when I have dish duty, here is when I tape a shoutout, here is when I have laundry, here is when I should upload photos, here is when etc. Today was one of the days when nothing really special happened.

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(Friday 5/13/16. Day 14)

The "Cheese Factory" sounds fancy, but realistically it is an old household from around a century ago owned by a joint family who makes milk and cheese from their cows. Last night, RisaRachel, and I walked over there for an appointment that I made the day before, on Thursday. 

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(Thursday, 5/13/16. Day 13)

Our peers back in Shanghai are currently working on a project to impact the natural environment (see our science blog for further info), and our science teachers have asked us to make up for this by writing about natural environment related facts from Xizhou in place of today's journal post. I have chosen to write about my observations and learnings about the locals' impacts on the environment.

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(Sunday, 5/8/16 Day 9)

It is time for lunch, and I am preparing to head outside. As I dig in my purse for my wallet, my hand touches a cool, round object - an apple! I pull it out, and a flood of memories flows out along with it...

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(Saturday 5/7/16, Day 8)

It had been a day full of rest - a weekend day. We all had the heavenly chance to sleep in, eat late, and for once, afford to spend some time freely. 

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(Friday, 5/6/16, Day 7)

Phenomena is gathered together, shoving our breakfast into our hungry mouths as spoons, forks, and knives give metallic screeches on our plates. It seems like any other start to a normal day here at Microcampus.

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Today, May 3rd, is Day 4 of Microcampus.

This morning, we woke up early to come outside as a group and gather in a circle. The second Mr. T and Ms. Mai came down the stairs, we surprised them with a "Hi, Mr. T!" along with our expressions full of hope that today would be a better day from yesterday. And well, it was!

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Day 2 was a day full of learning and growth for myself as well as the rest of our group. We underwent several talks with Mr. T about behavioral expectations that weren't yet being met, and learned more about the full impact of consequences on others around us.

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Today was the official beginning of our Microcampus journey. We spent most of the day travelling and meeting the unique places and people that we would learn about further, throughout our 4-week trip. Our travel from the humid, crowded Shanghai to the drier environment of Xizhou was pretty tiring, and I realized more deeply how important it was to take an extra step further in taking responsibility for myself and my health. For one, I had to ensure I stayed a lot more hydrated; I noticed myself sweating more vigorously due to a lower humidity level in the air around me.

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Hi, it's Grace W.! I was a part of the Phenomena group, the best and most wonderful group of all. I am from the Bay Area of California, where I was born and raised before moving to Shanghai in 6th grade. I enjoy activities relevant to creative art, swimming, outdoor adventures, and music -- I brought my violin on the trip. Microcampus has been such an amazing experience, and I what I miss the most about Microcampus and Xizhou are the freedom for exploration, the process of connecting with the friendly and open locals, and the experience of positive impact. I have definitely achieved all the four focuses (personal growth, intercultural understanding, experiential learning, and positive impact) in ways I could never imagine, from my unique experience at Microcampus.