Chantal L. (Alumni-O)'s Journal

Why I came to Microcampus. That is a question I never really had the answer to, because my answer was always changing. At first, the reason as to why I wanted to come to Microcampus was because I wanted to see China without all of the cars, technology, and the noise. But after 27 days in the village, my answer is still uncertain, because there are so many reasons as to why I came to Microcampus. Now as my time is now up in the village, I know that Microcampus is worth coming to and being a part of since I have learnt so much about myself and the people around me.

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Today is the last full day of Microcampus. I do not have much to say about the last day at Microcampus, but I do want to say thank you. Thank you Mr. T., Ms. Mai, the Linden Centre Staff, Mr. & Mrs. Linden and the locals in the village for making this place feel like home and always being there to support us through our hardships. The last few days at Microcampus is all about giving thanks. But I am truly thankful to have had the chance to experience this program and to have grown as a person. This really has been a really great experience that few  have had a chance to experience.

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Our Service Learning partner was Lao Mao. He is 60 years old and is the owner of a old antiques shop near Si Fang Jie. Lao Mao's actual name is 张亮春(Zhang Liang Chun), but people call him Lao Mao because of his beard, so he changed his store name to Lao Mao's Old Antique Shop. He has lived in XiZhou for 10 years now, but he has been traveling around Yunnan most his life.

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Today is the last day for the editing of our Service Learning videos and we will finish the video today so that it is ready for tomorrow. The Service Learning video is about giving thanks to the people who have hosted us in the village for 28 days and to make sure that they understand that we are so thankful for all that they have done for us. This is our last week here, and in this last week, we should give thank to all the people around us.

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Yesterday was Max's birthday. We hosted Max a surprise party in which we started planning weeks ago. Maya, Alba, and I started blowing up the balloons and making the decorations for the party during our pitching in and down time yesterday afternoon. When 7 o'clock came around, our peers brought Max into the kitchen to show him his surprise party.

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Two days ago, we found a Service Learning partner, but he had to leave the day after he agreed to our terms, so we had no luck with him. The next day, which was yesterday, we found another service learning partner, but when we showed Mr. T, we realized that she had already been a service learning partner. So today, we have to find a service learning partner and start the project since we can't film after noon tomorrow. 

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Excellence is not an act, it is rather a habit. Students act differently in front of teachers, and it has now become a habit for some of us. But we are all trying to change. We have all, made some progress in being excellent and we are all changing and adapting to the area around us so that we can make the best of our experience. There is one week left at Microcampus. And we should continue to be excellent and make it a habit instead of an act so that way we are better and that way in the real world in the future we will do good. 

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Yesterday, 5 students went to Dali Old Town to have some Western food and to see how globalization is occurring in an area like this. It was a very neat experience since it looked and felt like Shanghai, a piece of home. Though I have been away from home for 20 days, I feel like I haven't been away from home that long since I now call XiZhou my home, but in a few days, this won't be my home any more. All the memories that come from this experience will forever be remember.

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Yesterday I finished Phase 3 and today I will be starting and finishing my Phase 4. Today is a busy day wrapping up our inquiry work and moving on to our Final Product and wrapping up our time in XiZhou. There is only a week and a half left of Microcampus, and I do not want this experience to end.

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Today is the second to last day for our Phase 3 work. We have a total of 4 hours left for our Phase 3 work which is mainly for gathering and finalizing all of the information that we have received over the past few weeks at XiZhou.

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Today is the beginning of weekend #2. The weekends are different from the weekdays, we have more time to ourselves and we do not have to worry about our Inquiry Projects on the weekends. Usually we have around 2-3 hours of down time in which we can do anything that we want. We also have that planned for today but we also have around 4 hours of Service Learning today.

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Today was a really good day. We went out for a four and a half hour hike reaching the Jade Belt from the bottom of Cang Shan and back to the bottom from the Jade Belt. The hike was tiring at first because the climb was steep. But after we reached 2626 meters above sea level, the ground was flat since we scaled 600 meters. We kept walking down a path for around an hour or so until we reached a path that led to the bottom of the mountain.

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Today after the daily meeting, Mr. Tafel gave us a talk about 'Hooks and Hangers' which will help us for our Final Inquiry Project. Then Mr. T presented us with the 'Amazing Mystic Psychic Power'. He gave us a metal object in which we had to place in ones pocket with Mr. T outside of the room so that when he came in, he could guess who had the object. Mr. T performed this trick a total of 3 times and he guessed them all correctly.

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Yesterday Ms. Mai and I went to the Cheese Farm for my inquiry project. While I was there, I was able to understand more about my topic but the best part of the experience was eating fresh cheese made on the spot. When I was talking to Mr. Ying, he gave us some of the cheese that the family made from previous days and cheese that was freshly made. It was different from all the cheese that I have had before, but it was different in a good way. It was fresh and tasty and it tasted like milk without preservatives.

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Today we had our first MAP test at Microcampus, we will be taking this test for the next two days. Because we are taking this test, we do not have SAS Essentials these few days since the test takes about 1 hour to finish. We took the Language Usage test today and we will be taking math tomorrow and reading on Thursday. It was a different day today for the group, I think that we have all finally understood and started to 'comply' with the Microcampus lifestyle.

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Today Mr. Jake and I will be going to ZhouCheng to find some contacts for Phase 3. ZhouCheng is a village near XiZhou that produces basically all of the tie dye that is sold in this area. It is around 20 minutes away from the Linden Centre by car. I will be going to the tie dye factory in which we have visited last week and made our own tie dye pieces. I am going to ZhouCheng to talk to the people over there since they have been making tie dye for a long time.

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Today is day 9 of Microcampus and we just came back from our camping trip. It was a great experience. It took us about 1 hour to get to the camping site and after that we set up our tents. It was not as hard as I thought it would be and the tent stood strong throughout the night. I was sharing a tent with Chelsea and we both woke up to the sound of the wind a few times in the night.

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Today we are getting ready to go for a hike and to sleep over at the tongue of lake Erhai. Ms. Beck will also be joining us on our hike, she is bringing mac&cheese for us as well as a look at what is happening back in Shanghai. For dinner today we are packing noodles and eating when we get to Erhai. It is not a very hard hike but it is not particularly very easier either. I hope that all goes well and that this is going to be a successful hike. 

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Today we were taking care of Sophie in our pitching in time. She is a really nice baby, she loves the attention from us that is given to her. Today part of taking care of Sophie was to feed her milk. She drank the first half of the bottle quickly, but then she started to throw the bottle around. She is a little bundle of joy, always pulling on peoples hair or holding onto peoples fingers. She is always ready to play with us and taking care of her is so easy because she doesn't complain about anything so it is easy for us to help out Ms. Mai and Mr. T.

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Today was a big day. Our room did laundry for the first time and it went smoothly. Although at first we didn't know how to use the new machine that well, Mr. Yang helped us so that we understood how to use the machine. After a few minutes he told us how long it would take for the laundry to finish. This allowed us to plan ahead which is an important part of Microcampus. Now that we know how to do laundry, it will be easier for us to manage our time next round.

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Today I finished my 3-5's so I was ready to go out into the village to understand more about my topic. I talked to a total of 4 people, but one didn't accept my presence as well as I thought they would. That is also because I didn't know what I was doing and it was the first time I was asking someone to help me with my Inquiry Project work. With the help of Mr. Tafel, I understood how I should have approached the people.

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Mr. Tafel has now given us the opportunity of independence. We are getting used to the Microcampus schedule for the week so that next week we will be able to create our own schedules and that way we will have even more freedom than now. But with adjusting to the Microcampus Schedule, we have to make sure that we can get all our work done that we need to finish in the day to make sure that we will not get overwhelmed in the end. Today is the first day that Mr. Tafel, and Ms. Mai allowed us to steer the 'ship/boat' since orientation is now over.

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Today we went biking around XiZhou. The scenery was magical, it seemed like it was all a dream. As we rode out into the landscape we saw the Canola plants and the garlic, it was the complete opposite of Shanghai. The biking trip was not the smoothest since we encountered some troubles with the bike chains, but over all it as a smooth trip since we all got our biking licenses in the end. 

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Today we started adapting to the Microcampus schedule and we talked about our committee work. Everybody has about 2-3 committee's in which they are in so that they can make sure that the group is functioning and that everything is going smoothly for the bigger picture of the group. We talked with Mr. T and Ms. Mai to make sure that we knew what we needed to do and how we needed to do those things. But right now Mr. T and Ms. Mai are mostly rowing the boat for us and they will stop doing that soon.

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It's day 2 of Microcampus, and it's our first full day in XiZhou, today we did a full village tour and we got to know wour surroundings better. Over all it was a pretty chill day, but it was tiring considering the fact that we were walking a lot to understand our new home for the month. But the best part of the day was waking up early in the morning to see the stars fade into the night as the sun rose and brought more color to the sky. 

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After a long flight and a long ride in the car, we finally arrived at the Linden Centre. For the first day for when we were in XiZhou, we didn't do a lot for our inquiry project, instead we focused more on settling in. For day 1, we arrived in XiZhou around 5pm, but we took a bus ride for 2 hours to get to the Linden center. During the bus ride, Mr. Tafel, asked us questions for the "What would you do?" game to make sure that we knew how to react properly in the right situations to make the right decisions.

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Hi, I am Chantal L. I was born in Toronto, Canada and I moved to Shanghai when I was 2. I have now finished my Microcampus journey, and I have seen China outside of its bubble. I wanted to go to Microcampus because I could learn about other cultures and see China from a different perspective and to enjoy time with my peers and time with China. Now that I have experienced China outside of the bubble, I will always remember this time of my life since I have learnt more than I have in years. So thank you for this opportunity, this really has been one really excellent opportunity.