Kevin T. (Alumni-E)'s Journal

Why did I come to Microcampus? I originally thought it would be a test to see if I could survive boarding school and also a great experience. Now, I know that I got much more out of this trip. I have picked up valuable life skills that wlll help me for the rest of my life. I have also learned a lot more about myself and other people too. I understand that a test to see if I survive boarding school was a broad idea. I realize now that means I have to learn self control, planning my schedule, and taking care of myself. I have become more self-reliant.

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Microcampus has been a lot of fun and a great experience for me. I have adjusted to a daily routine that I enjoy, and I do not want to leave. I do not think I will ever forget some of the things I experienced while on Microcampus, like camping at Lake Erhai and hiking on a mountain. Today, we packed our luggages and said our goodbyes to the shopkeepers in Sifang Jie. Maybe I can come back some other time, but for now today is the last day I will visit Sifang Jie or the market. Why does Microcampus have to be so short?

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Today, I had dinner in Sifang Jie. I went with Vincent, Vanessa, and Abby. I ordered a lot of food, and it was all very good. I am definitely going to miss the food here when we get back to Shanghai. The Tafel fried rice and the cold noodles are my favorite foods in Xizhou. By now, the shopkeepers know what I always order. I always like the Tafel fried rice with no carrots, and the shopkeepers remember that. I usually take cold noodles with a little vinegar. They are all incredibly nice people, and I always try to give them a smile and a thank you before I leave the restaurant.

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Today, we had a secret santa activity during the evening. Each person was assigned someone else and they had to find a gift between five and fifteen kuai that the person would like. My person was Vincent, and I bought him a water gun from the supermarket. At 7 PM, everyone met in the TV room to exchange presents. I received a rubix cube and some plastic toy balls. After everyone got their presents, we decided to learn who our secret santas were. Mine was Nicole, and her present was good. Tomorrow we might go to Dali!

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Today, we almost went the entire day without power. In the morning, we did not know what to do. We talked for a while, and also went to the supermarket. There was not muc to do in the morning but talk and play cards. After lunch, we played apples to apples. We almost froze in the afternoon, and we had nothing to do. At around 3 PM, Thomas, Vincent, Michael, Jacob, Kevin C, and I went to go play basketball. It was a lot of fun, even if it was a little cold. We played for about 2 hours before we recieved a call from T saying that the power was back!

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The morning started out fairly normal, but it was pretty cloudy. The night before we went to the star terrace at 3 AM to go watch a meteor shower, but the clouds blocked out the visibility. It rained for the first time in a long time that morning. After that, the weather was cloudy until one. It cleared up for a little while before it started pouring rain. It was insane how heavy it was. I had not seen rain in Xizhou before. At around 5:30 PM, something incredibly happened. It snowed.

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Saturdays are really fun days in Microcampus. In the morning we had free time, and at 2:30 pm we had service learning. My group went to a lady who lived next to the Linden Centre. She has been making tie dye since she was our age, and she is very interesting. We must have talked for half an hour. She has three children, and she is a grandmother. The things she tie dyes are really beautiful, and I often see tourists in her shop. I hope we can talk to her again!

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Today, Abby led Kevin C, Vincent, and I to a new basketball court about ten minutes away from YZR. It was an interesting bike ride, and we went through the market to some more rocky roads. Abby discovered it when she was doing her Inquiry Project. We got our heart rate monitors and played for about an hour or forty-five minutes. It was the first time any of us had played for about a week and a half, and we were pretty rusty in the beginning. After a couple minutes of warming up, we finally got ready to play a real game.

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There are many interesting foods in Xizhou that I have tried. In YZR, Sifang Jie, and Dali Old Town, there are many different types of foods. All of them have a few of the same traits. Foods are usually spicy and oily, and they have a lot of salt in them too. In YZR, there are many different foods that I love to eat. There are many types of chicken that all taste different, and a great variety of foods. My favorite food is the crispy chicken. It is not too flavorful, but the skin is crunchy and the meat has a little bit of flavor that complements the skin.

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We went to Dali Old Town in the afternoon today. It was a lot of fun, and we stayed until 8 pm. The first thing my group did (Vincent, Kara, and Marisa) was go to the basketball courts. We played for about ten minutes before some adults invited Vincent and I to play. It was a lot of fun playing streetball, and I did very well. I scored over half my team's points. After that, my group went to a pizzeria and got some really good pizza, some of the best I have had in a long time. After that, we went to Sweet Tooth. I bought a big piece of mint and chocolate cake, and it was delicious.

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Part of Sifang Jie

Today was a great day for me to get out of my comfort zone. The morning was pretty normal, but during SAS essentials we took a math test. In the afternoon, I went with Kevin C at 3:00 pm to go talk to people for our Inquiry Projects. I had to speak a lot of Chinese to communicate. After that, Kevin C, Thomas, Fay, and I went to a musical performance in the village. We also talked to a lot of the actors. It was a lot of fun watching the show. After, Nicole and I went around the village to find even more resources. I had to speak a lot of Chinese for my Inquiry Project.

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Today was a pretty normal day. The morning was normal, and we had a great lunch that consisted of some sort of meat, rice, and french fries. In the afternoon, I got some well deserved rest during WIPPIT time. I took one of the best naps I had in a while. We ate dinner at the Jin Hua restaurant. Thomas, Vincent, and I even met an Australian family that was staying at After dinner at the Golden Flower, Mr. Yang was very generous to us. He gave us tons of sunflower seeds and even asked if we wanted any wine (we did not take the wine, but we did take sunflower seeds).

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On the third day, we hiked back to YZR. After a big breakfast of noodles and some hacky sack, we finally prepared to leave. The hike was relatively easy, and eventually we reached human civilization. People in Dali Old Town looked at us as if we were cavemen who stumbled upon a colonial city. When we arrived at YZR, everyone collapsed into their rooms. We had a lot of fun playing more hacky sack in the courtyard. I am very exhausted and I am going to sleep soon. Tomorrow is the first normal day in a while! 

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Day 2 of the hike was not as bad as I thought it would be. T said that day 2 would be really hard compared to the other days. We climbed up a lot of stairs in the beginning, but we travelled at a good pace. It took a while, but we finally reached 3200 meters of above sea level. We took a few pictures and had a snack on the summit. After that, we travelled back down to the temple. Going downhill took less energy, but we slipped a lot. I fell on my butt at one point during the hike. Today, I am pretty exhausted. Going back to YZR tomorrow on day 3 of the hike!

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The first day was fun! In the morning we had a normal breakfast and then packed our lunch. Ater that we took a thirty minute long bus ride to the mountain. We had to hike to the mountain, and that was incredibly tiring. After that, hiking seemed to be a lot easier. Our bags were pretty heavy. The hike was fun and we saw some pretty amazing views. At one point there was a really steep dorp to the left of the path. After 5 hours, we finally arrived at the temple where we would camp at. We had a big dinner and then we played hacky sack. I hope tomorrow is less tiring then today!

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Day 13 was pretty normal, except for the evening activity. We spent the whole time packing for the hiking trip. It was a lot of work, and it took a while. We first went over the list and then were sent off to pack. I first grabbed all my clothes and then threw them onto my hiking bag. After that I tried stuffing it in along with my normal day bag, but it did not work. I tried folding, and after a lot of squeezing and pushing I finally fit all of it in. Looking forward to the big hike!

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Today was a pretty fun day. In the morning we had SAS essentials and pitching in. In the afternoon, it was pretty normal. Honestly, it was a fairly average day except for the evening activity. Mr. T's trivia night! The first thing he did was show us a few videos of his inspiration to be a game show host. We watched family feud and tic tac dough. My team was the A Team. Thomas, Benjy, Jacob, and I were in it. We had a slow start but eventually gained the lead. It was a hard fought battle, but in the end, Team Linden (Bryce and Shane) won.

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The morning was fairly normal, and it went by quickly. In the afternoon, Thomas and I went to the Linden Centre with Ms. Mai to play mahjong. Ms. Mai found two people to teach us how to play mahjong. At first, Thomas and I did not get how to play. After a few rounds, we finally got the hang of it. It is actually a really fun game. Thomas and I had a lot of fun playing with the two people at the Linden Centre. An hour of playing blew by, and by the end Thomas and I each won a game. At night, after dinner, we went to lake erhai to learn how to set up tents and to camp.

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Day 10 has been a craigular day. In the morning, we had the usual SAS essentials time. Since it was a Monday, everyone was tired and quiet. All you could har during SAS essentials were the clicks of mouses and keys. During pitching in time, there was a lot of chatter and the sounds of conversations and footsteps rang through YZR. As people finally started getting adjusted to Morning, the noise level increased. At lunch, ony six people ate in and it was a relatively quiet meal.

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Sunday was our first whole day all to ourselves. We spent an hour in the morning working on our wellness reflection. Our wellness reflection was based on how we have been following our plan to stay well during microcampus. Something different about today was the weather. It was actually a pretty cloudy day, and it was a little bit colder than usual. It was a little bit less cloudy the day before. The weather here is a little cold but it is great. In the afternoon, we met up with Sean, the antique shop owner's son. He is about our age, and goes to the local middle school.

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Today, we had a number of interesting events. In the morning, we had free time. I used that time to learn how to throw poker cards, and I got pretty good at it. I even did wellness while playing cards. In the afternoon, we learned about what we would do for service learning. We learned a lot about Chinese history and watched a video too. It was pretty cool, and I learned about a lot of new things. After that, we went to Dali Old Town for a few hours. We explored the town, and got lost a few times. Eventually, we realized that we were walking in circles. I even bought a YOLO hat.

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Today was not the best day for me. In the morning, it was pretty normal. I took a geometry test during SAS essentials, and it was brutal. Today was our first day for laundry. It was a lot of work and much harder than I expected (I guess that means I am really spoiled). It took several hours for it to dry. During the afternoon, Vincent, Jacob, and I became obsessed with throwing cards. Jacob is good, but Vincent and I still need practice. It is really fun. During WIPPIT time, I spent a lot of time on Inquiry. I wrote down a lot of the information that came from the past two days.

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Today was an interesting day. The morning was fairly normal, but the afternoon was different. I had chaperone help from Annaliese, and she helped to teach me Mahjong. We found some old men playing it. We watched for a while, and then I finally got the hang of it. They gambled on it using a deck of cards. Their version is pretty easy compared to other versions. Also, Annaliese and I both like to tease Vinny. After that, I went with Vincent, Kevin C, and Mike to go play basketball.

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Today was pretty interesting. In the morning we spent time working on SAS Essentials and pitching in. In the afternoon, we went to a tie dye factory. It was pretty colorful, and there was tie dyed fabric everywhere. They hung them up almost the same way you would hang clothes on a clothesline. Something weird that T showed us was the tie dye fabric that had a picture of marijuana on it. Since there was not enough space for all sixteen of us to tie dye at the same time, we split into two groups. My group was the one who left first to go walk around the village.

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Day 4 was great! The beginning of the day was different from other mornings. We took a math test. It was dreadful. I hope I got a good grade. For pitching in time, I went with Jacob E and Kevin C into the village to make connections. It was a lot of fun meeting people. In the afternoon, I went with Kevin C and Jacob E to go find a court. Eventually we were led to a middle school about 5 minutes away from Si Fang Jie. We warmed up for a couple minutes, and then we decided to challenge some of the guys from the school.

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Day 3 was great! In the morning , we had our first pitching in time. This included a "surprise" room inspection and also a lot of committee work. My room was good, and we got 1.1 stars out of 5 for the test. However, it took a lot of work to make the room look like somebody could even live in it. The committee work is fun, as I get to help plan the evening programs. In the afternoon, we had our first WIPPIT time. The first thing I did was go out for Terrace Time with Kevin C. While we were there, a man named Mr.

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Day 2 was our first full day in XiZhou. It was almost a full day tutorial on what a normal day would be like. We got a tour of the village, and it was very interesting. XiZhou looks and even smells different from Shanghai, and there is a huge contrast between the two. Si Fang Jie (I might have spelled that wrong) has the smells of all the foods that are being sold there, and it looks a lot more old fashioned than Shanghai.

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Day 1 was pretty awesome! The plane ride here was relatively boring because everyone was tired and sleepy. After we arrived, the first thing I noticed was the fresh air as a cool breeze blew past me. The bus ride was pretty long, but there were some pretty amazing views. We passed a huge lake, and also saw a lot of red soil. I want a picture of us acting like we are on Mars. There was even a wet mountain and a dry mountain. We even made bets about when we would arrive, and I won 30 rmb. It took a little less than six hours.

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The lock in was fun! We talked a lot about what we were going to do in Xizhou and we got some guidelines on how to act in Xizhou. I got a lot closer to the guys (sleeping in the same room) and it was a fun night. As November 23rd approaches, the I am learning more about my topic and working on the Microcampus homework. Only 21 more days!

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Exactly one month from today, Extreme Team is going to get on a plane and leave Shanghai for Microcampus. I am excited and I can not wait for Microcampus. Looking forward to hanging out with Extreme Team for a month, we got some cool people (Like Vincent!). This is my first journal entry, and I am afraid I am not very good at writing them (haha). Hopefully I will get better over time! One month left!

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Overall, I am looking forward to Microcampus. It looks like a great learning opportunity and a lot of fun! I am also a little bit nervous, because this is going to be the longest time I have ever been away from home. It is also a great chance to improve my underwhelming Chinese skills and to interact with the community. So excited!

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I enjoyed Microcampus greatly and it was an amazing experience for me. I learned a lot while in Xizhou. The food is amazing, and everyone there is very nice. My Inquiry Project was about recreation/hobbies and how they have changed with each new generation.