Maya K. (Alumni-O)'s Journal

Well, why did I come to Microcampus? The reason I signed up for this trip is because I wanted to be able to step outside of my comfort zone. I had heard so much about this trip from the previous M Group, and my sister had previously gone on Microcampus as well. They all told me they learned so much about themselves, and it was truly the journey of a lifetime. I wanted to experience this, and I wanted to be able to step outside of my comfort zone.

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Today marks our very last day here in Xizhou. It seems that time has flown by so fast, and just yesterday we landed in the Dali airport. Today is a day filled with a mix of emotions, and feelings. Saying this, I would like to use this journal post to give thanks. Thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Linden and the Linden Centre Staff, for letting us stay in the Linden Centre for 28 days. I would like to thank Mr. Jake and Ms. Jo, for helping us throughout our Microcampus journey.

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On March 30th, 2016, we were able to share our Service Learning video with our partner and her older sister. I must say that it felt very rewarding to see their faces watching the final product. I felt so happy to see them laughing while watching our video. There is not really one emotion to describe this whole experience, as it was a jumble of many. I felt happy bringing them over to the Linden Centre, and showing them around. Knowing that this would be the last time I would be able to see them until I returned, made it even more special.

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Yesterday we were able to go and have dinner with the both of the Yang Nai Nai's. They are sisters, and both own embroidery shops close to the Linden Centre. We have been visiting them regularly for the past few days, and it has been really nice. Every time we go over to their shop, we are always welcomed in. They both are the sweetest people ever, and I am so happy to have met them during my time here in Xizhou.

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Today has been a day filled with many ups and downs. Since we do not have any SAS Essentials this week, we worked on Service Learning instead. We were able to finish the storyboard for our video, and get the basic layout done. After lunch, Angelesia and I were then able to work on getting the basic structure of our iMovie finished. I felt very accomplished with the work I had done so far, and could not wait to see the finished product.

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Today is the day for wrapping up all of our Inquiry Work. I must admit, when I knew that I had only three days to complete this, I had absolutely no idea how in the world I was going to finish it. Yet, here I sit, writing this journal saying that I have completed my final product. Before 3 PM today, all of us were supposed to have a chat with Mr.T, and receive pearls of wisdom from him.

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Today was a very busy day, and a very enjoyable one too. To start off, we found our Service Learning partner! We were not able to find the two previous nai nai's we had met last week to be our Service Learning partner. On our way back from their place, we stopped by a house that had found different families living in them. These people were very nice, open, and welcoming, and invited us into their home.

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Yesterday, four other students and I had the opportunity to visit the one and only Dali Old Town. We arrived at 'Ren Min Lu' and Mr.T gave us a little tour of the place. It was not hard to tell that this was a town for tourists. The streets were filled with multiple different cafes, coming from different cuisines. All the shops had brightly colored textiles, and different colored tie-dyes. In fact, we even ran into a McDonalds along the way! In the end, we went to 'Stella's Pizzeria', a place recommended by Mr.T.

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Today is the big day when we finally finish Phase 3 of our Inquiry Work. At first, it seemed that I had a lot of work to complete in such a short amount of time. However, once I actually looked closely into my work, I realized it was not what I had previously thought. This really helped me feel more relaxed as I completed the rest of my Phase 3.

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We have a very busy week ahead in Microcampus here in Xizhou. Today is our second to last day of time to work on our Phase 3 of our Inquiry Work. We have two hours to work today, and two hours to work tomorrow, which brings us to a grand total of four full hours left to work on our Phase 3.

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Today officially marks our third week here in Xizhou! Time really flies! It seems as though the past two weeks have gone by so fast, and just yesterday we had arrived in the village of Xizhou. I have really enjoyed these past weeks. I have been able to make many connections in the community, and it is nice to walk in Xizhou and wave at the people I know. Yesterday was a very enjoyable day, filled with meeting new people, and eating lots of good food. I remember how when I first arrived here in Xizhou, I was so nervous to go up to a local person and start a conversation.

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Today is officially the halfway point for our journey in Xizhou. I guess you could say this is a pretty important day for us in Microcampus. Today was also the day that we went on the big hike. We hiked for about four and a half hours from the beginning to the end. It took us around two and a half hours to reach the Jade Belt, where we then walked on flat ground for the next hour or so. The uphill journey to the Jade Belt was tough, and very tiring. However, because of this, reaching the Jade Belt felt a thousand times better.

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The knowledge that today was the last day of MAP testing was something that brought us all to a good mood in the morning. To add on to that, being able to sit outside in the courtyard for the test was an unforgettable experience. I could hear the birds chirping and the wind blowing against my face... meanwhile I was taking a test. Nonetheless, today was definitely a good day, and I am very happy to say that our roller coaster is moving. We are officially out of the dip! Today was something known as community day, where we go out in the village and pick up trash.

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I really enjoyed today as a whole, because there were so many great parts to the day. To start off, I had Tafel Fried Rice (again)! Alba, Chelsea, Nicole, and I all went to Old Town Snacks for lunch today, and I must say we had a very good meal. We had heard so much about the sweet Baba, we decided to give it a try.

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While out at lunch today with Angelesia and Chelsea, it started raining and pouring. To be honest, it was a really nice change... not that I am complaining about the beautiful weather for the past week! I really missed the smell of rain, and the sound it falling from the clouds. I feel that today was a really good day to restart, and to re-energize.

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Everyone has their ups and downs, and every group has their ups and downs as well. Right now, the O.R.E.O. Microcampus group is facing one of these downs. In a rollercoaster, there are peaks and dips in every ride. It is our job to make something out of each and every one of these peaks or dips. We all know that at times everyone will encounter a dip or peak somewhere along their journey. Our first week in Xizhou was a definite peak.

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We have just come back from camping at the tongue of Lake Erhai. It was such a beautiful, and interesting camping experience. It was around a forty minute walk from the Linden Centre to our camping site, in front of the Lake Erhai. Setting up the tents was a task I found easier than expected. Although, the stakes did keep on coming out of the ground because of how soft the dirt was.

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Today marks our first full week in Microcampus, and in Xizhou! Overall, it has truly been such an amazing week with so much going on. One part of the week that I really enjoyed was connecting with the people in Xizhou. This includes both the locals, and the students of the O.R.E.O Microcampus group. I have been able to go outside, and simply talk to the locals, and get to know more about them. It has also been an interesting journey in terms of earning more responsibility and independence.

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I really enjoyed today as a whole. I had teacher support with Ms.Mai, and we went back to Mr.Wang's house to learn how to make the sides of a bamboo woven basket. When I first went in, he showed me a stack of ten bamboo baskets, and said that he had just finished making them this morning. I was absolutely stunned by the speed of his making of the baskets. In fact, he said that he takes around 30 minutes to make one basket. It was really nice to visit his house, and to talk to him.

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Today was a really eventful day, and I was able to learn a lot from it. To start off, we managed to put in our first load of laundry! Another part of my day that I really enjoyed was going out, and interacting with the locals. I had teacher support with Mr.Tafel today, and was able to go to the market to meet some local vendors, and talk to them about my Inquiry Project topic of bamboo weaving. The people that I met were very open and welcoming.

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Our orientation for Microcampus is officially over, and now we are being handed responsibility of planning our days. Though today was much more structured than the days to come, it was a very cool experience to have a real Microcampus day. Both Mr.Tafel and Ms.Mai have handed us the bucket of trust, and it is our job to keep it full. It is our job to follow our schedule, and to get everything done by the end of the day, without having to have someone behind our backs 24/7.

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Though yesterday was our first full day in Xizhou, I felt that today was our first full day. I am slowly learning how Microcampus goes, and it has been a very interesting process. Angelesia, Chelsea and I all went to Old Town Snacks in the town square, Si Fang Jie. I was very excited to finally be able to try the famous Tafel Fried Rice, and I must say it definitely lived up to the expectations.

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Today was our first full day in Xizhou! It was a really eventful day, and I learned a lot from it. The main purpose of today was to get to know Xizhou, as we would soon have to be able to get around without a teacher guiding our way. One part of the day that I really enjoyed was going to the market, and just walking around. We stopped by a spice stall, and talked to the vendor about her products. I got to learn two new names of spices: pao cai, and zha cai. I felt really at home, and happy seeing all of the spices that we use to cook with in Shanghai.

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Today marked the first day of our journey in Xizhou! It seems like just yesterday we started preparing for this very trip, doing research for our Inquiry Project, going for the Lock-In, and packing our suitcase. Leaving Shanghai, I was filled with a mix of emotions: sad for leaving my friends and family, nervous for the journey that awaits, and excited to be able to go to the village of Xizhou.

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The journey has begun! I would like to dedicate this journal post to Mr.Tafel and Ms.Mai for allowing me to participate in this great opportunity. I have watched my older sister go to Microcampus and she had truly enjoyed the experience. My friends have gone on this trip, and they came back saying it was the journey of a lifetime. I am so thankful that Mr.Tafel and Ms.Mai have given me the chance to have the same experiences as both my older sister and my friend had. Once again, I would like to say thank you!

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My name is Maya K, and I feel lucky to say that I was part of the O.R.E.O. Microcampus Group. I have been able to learn so much during this trip from being able to live outside the bubble that is Shanghai. Not only was I able to explore about my Inquiry Project topic, I was able to make connections with locals, and learn about myself. Going to Xizhou has been an experience that I will never forget, and I hope to go back and visit soon! Microcampus has truly been One Really Excellent Opportunity.