Benjamin H. (Alumni-E)'s Journal

Today was a pretty relaxing day, I guess. Off the bat, T told us that the Jammies were canceled. Before lunch, we finished our final Wellness reflection. For lunch today, Vanessa and I ate noodles and fried rice at Old Town Snacks and bought papaya jelly with syrup from the noodle stall. Afterwards, we walked to the erkuai place in the Muslim Quarter for some wonderful snacks.

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When I first signed up for Microcampus, I thought that I should go because I could finally see the face of the "real" China.

When I first stepped off the bus on the first day, I was shocked.

I was shocked by how clean the air was, how clean the roads were, how friendly the locals were, and just how wonderful the slow pace of life was here.

Today is the last day of Microcampus, but I think that there is still much more to see in China.

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Today was the second-to-last full day here at Microcampus, and our last day to work on our inquiry projects.

During Pitching In today, Vanessa, Abby, and I filmed our daily video shout-out on our way to Happy Embroidery, as Vanessa had to pick up her piece that she left there the day before. A man there said that Ms. Li was gone packing for her trip to Xiaguan, so we took a look around to see the chickens and the cat. Luckily, we were able to see the black cat there eating its food.

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There wasn't another power outage today, thank goodness. However, that means that we still have to get back to work.

During SAS Essentials today, I finished up a Social Studies test, scanned it, and sent it to the point person. Afterwards during lunch, Nicole, Vanessa, and I went over to the Muslim Quarter to get some erkuai rolled around spicy potato strips and sausages.

During WIPPIT Time, I got in plenty of time to almost finish my final product and learn the last skills necessary to complete my embroidery place, as Ms. Li will be heading to Xiaguan tomorrow.

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Our breakfast today was, once again, accompanied by the all-to-familiar candles. In the morning, Julia, Jacob, and I went to the supermarket to stock up on some snacks in case the snowstorm was to last a few days. Afterwards, I did quite a lot of embroidery as the power was still out. After lunch, Kara taught Risa and me how to play President, a card game. Until around four in the afternoon did the power finally come back on. An electrician from the State Power Grid came to speak to Mr.

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Today started as a pretty cold day, as the sky was covered in clouds. It started snowing as we took our (late) Social Studies test, and soon, during dinner, the power went out. Mr. He, the guard, explained that this was the first snow in eighteen years in Xizhou while lighting candles on the table. There was a room inspection afterwards while the power returned, but soon after, the power went out again. As of writing, the power is still out and I have doubts if it will be fixed tomorrow.

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Today is the last Saturday here at Microcampus. We're beginning to realize that our wonderful time here in Xizhou is finally coming to an end, but it feels like the day when we first dragged our luggage into YZR was only yesterday.

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Today was another big work day, and most of the group got our Phase 4 approved by Mr. T. I had a lot of ideas for my final product at first, but I pared it down to just a few realistic ideas that I could use for my final product. Today was also dish duty for Vanessa, Amy, and I, and for our daily video shout-out, we decided to talk about the different choices of food in Sifangjie.

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Today was the last day of SAS Essentials (yay!), and we all rushed to get our LA essays in by noon. During WIPPIT time today, my study group (Thomas, Catherine, Nicole, and I) tried to find a service learning partner. We went into many courtyards, but all the elders either couldn't understand us or refused to participate in a video-taped interview. We eventually convinced Mr. Duan, a former service learning partner, to ask around his circle of friends if anyone was interested in participating.

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Today was the last work day for Phase 3 (collecting information about our inquiry project), but most of us finished by four, when we were scheduled to start packing for the half-day trip to Dali Old Town. A few of us stayed behind to catch up on inquiry work, but twelve of the sixteen of us left at 4:45 on our second trip to Dali.

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Today is yet another work day for Phase 3, actually the second-to-last and last full day to complete it.

It still feels weird to be able to walk around on level ground, and everyone else's calves and feet are burning for some reason.

Today also happens to be yet another laundry day. As of the time of writing, the colors and darks are on the clothes lines (although the darks are still extremely wet), and the whites are still in the indoors washing machine over at the laundry place.

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Today was a pretty chill day. After all, we just came back from a three-day hike, but it feels weird to have to sit down and do work.

After lunch in Sifangjie, Vanessa and I decided to go to the supermarket to replenish our snack supply after the hike. I got a super-sized bag of garlic peas and Vanessa grabbed a handful of jelly candy.

During our terrace time today, Vanessa and I went to Happy Embroidery to work on our pieces. I learned how to embroider, and Vanessa worked on her existing skills.

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We all woke up to the echoing shouts of someone in the temple and Shane's whistling at around eight o'clock, a long time before our set wake-up time at nine. The sun was already poking above the pine trees, and I took off my thermal underwear before walking down the stairs to the temple, where breakfast would be quite a while later.

Our departure was a bit delayed due to logistical issues, but we turned left above the temple at about eleven forty-five onto a flat road to the trail downhill. We found the mule trail at around one and ate our lunches before continuing downwards.

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T said yesterday that today would be another "big day", but it really wasn't that bad. I hope this isn't becoming a pattern, but it's nice to expect something worse than reality sometimes.

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Today was our first day of the hike. After breakfast, we packed our lunches and made our final preparations for the hike. We took a bus to a parking lot by the Three Pagodas and began our trek. T previously said that the hike would be 7-10 times harder than we imagined it to be, but it really wasn't that hard at all. After a five-or-six hour hike, we finally arrived at the Zhonghe Temple, adjacent to where we pitched our tents today. My shoulders and feet are really sore, but I should be ready for another big day tomorrow after a good night's sleep.

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After our little excursion to Erhai yesterday, we woke up at around 6:45 to Mr. T shouting, "Wake up!" While the sun was lazily rising up to the horizon (technically the other way around), T lectured us on how to disassemble our tents. At around eight, the sun finally poked over the lower ridges of the Cangshan Mountains as fishing boats passed by, nets being tossed into and pulled out of the lake.

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Today was another laundry day. That was pretty quick, wasn't it?

It took about an hour to convince Thomas, Jacob, and K2 to come and wash our laundry. Eventually K2 persuaded them as it was our last laundry day before our hike over the weekend.

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Today is another Monday. Sigh.

Many people are sick today. Thomas is coughing and sneezing and Ms. Mai is out for the day in the nurse's room. It must be the weather.

Aside from Social Studies (finally done with the podcast), there is still a bunch of math work for me to catch up on, but with plenty of SAS Essentials and Pitching In time tomorrow and the day after, it really is not that much.

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Selfie as dictator of Krakozhia!

I woke up a little later than usual today, at 9:15. Whatever. After the wellness reflection, I did some SAS Essentials.

Mr. Zeman's really into this digital thingy, so Vanessa and I had to make a podcast (whatever that is) about the government of a country after years of dictatorship. Easy, right? Except it took us quite a while to actually do it. We ended up trashing the video idea and going with an audio recording of sorts. On the right is I as the (female) dictator of Krakozhia.

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Today was the first day of a weekend here at Microcampus, and that meant that we pretty much chilled out for the entire day, with the exception of an exceptionally long lecture on recent Chinese history.

We ate lunch in today, as we were spending the afternoon and evening in Dali Old Town. After lunch came Service Learning, starting off with a rather sleep-inducing, hour-long movie on Chinese history from 1949 to 1976. Of course, we headed to the village afterwards in our study groups to connect with elders who may have witnessed these events.

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It's hard to believe, but Turkey Day is finally over. It's also hard to believe that today is my first laundry day here at Microcampus.
A lot of us are behind with our inquiry projects today, and T went into lecture mode once again, which cut another sixteen minutes into our Pitching In session today.
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Today was a rather relaxing day. After receiving our math test scores yesterday, the day seemed to go by very slowly. For lunch, Thomas, Jacob, and I had Taifei (Tafel's) fried rice, mixian (rice noodles), and freshly-made jiaozi (dumplings).

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Today was not a normal day here at Microcampus. During Pitching In today, Uncle T took Abby, Thomas, and me to visit some folks around town. First, we went to Mr. Zhao's home, which is located right around the corner here. He currently shares his home with quite a few other families, and the walls and decorations of his home were badly damaged during the Cultural Revolution. Two of T's friends are visiting tomorrow, so we headed over to the new guesthouse on Ranyi Xiang. The owner happened to be the head of the village committee years ago, but retired to take care of his business.

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Today was pretty much the same as yesterday, but the main highlight today was the first student-led daily meeting. Accompanied by groans, giggling, and various errors, the meeting finally came to a close without any objections, most likely due to the many feet poised to kick under the table. Thomas and I ate cold noodles at the noodle place next to the dairy shop, which were a little too sour compared to the soup noodles we had on Sunday. There are quite a few clouds in the sky today.

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Today was the first real day here at Microcampus, the first normal day. After breakfast, we had our first SAS Essentials, when we had time to focus on our studies back in Shanghai. Math was, for the most part, the focus of today's session as the unit test will be tomorrow. Following that was our first daily meeting, accompanied by groans and under-the-table kicks as Jacob and Vincent attempted to prolong the meeting.

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It's nice to wake up at six in the morning sometimes, sometimes being the operative word. Waking up at six to the sound of crinkling plastic bags while unpacking is definitely not pleasant.

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I'm quite busy right now, so I'll keep it nice, short, and concise.

It's exactly one calendar month to Microcampus! I even counted to make sure that it was 31 days.

It's been quite a bunch of things going on lately — the Ethnography Project, tests, labs, and the International Fair, but soon, we'll be well on our way to Yunnan.

In a month, though. That may be a while, but it's definitely worth the wait.

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I am fourteen years old and I was born in Mountain View, California but have since then moved to Shanghai in fourth grade. Xizhou was an awesome place to discover more about myself and the "real" China. I still miss the clean air, delicious food, and friendly people of Xizhou. All active and future Microcampus students can feel free to ask me for advice!