Kevin C. (Alumni-E)'s Journal

I came to microcampus to learn a little bit about this village and the people who live here. I wanted to experience life here in a small village with local people. I also wanted to connect with the people that live here in the village. Last but not least, I of course wanted to have some fun and enjoy myself along the way.

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Today is our last full day of microcampus, and we're going to spend the bulk of the day packing up our luggage. Tomorrow morning we'll be heading out to Kunming and flying to Shanghai. Everyone here has mixed feelings about leaving Xizhou. I will definitely miss the blue skies and the lovely people of XiZhou, but on the other hand, I can't wait to get to my home in Shanghai. This trip has been a great experience for me and I can certainly take away a ton from the trip.

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Today's the second last day of microcampus. I can't believe that this trip is already almost over, and I have to say that I'm reluctant to leave this beautiful village. The trip seemed shorter than it was supposed to be, probably because I was having an amazing experience. Today, I finished up my inquiry project and now it's all done. You're welcome to take a look at my project. Today was also Benjamin's birthday, so we celebrated with some chocolate cake. I really want to stay in Xizhou, but all good things come to an end, and we'll be leaving Friday morning.

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Our group is nearing the end of our inquiry work and also the end of our trip here in Xizhou. Today was a productive day overall, and everyone got lots of work done on their inquiry projects. We even got the time to squeeze in an hour of wellness time during WIPPIT time. I'm excited to see everyone's final inquiry project, and I hope everyone out their enjoys them too. Today was also our secret santa day, and we all exchanged presents. It wasn't much, but everyone was in the christmas spirit. 

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Today the power was still out in Xizhou, so we had to figure out what to do for a whole day. We played cards in the morning in our room. After that, we had lunch outside. The snow on the mountains was really beautiful and it looked like the mini himalayan mountains. For lunch i had a warm bowl of fried rice and my insides felt really toasty. In the afternoon, the basketball courts were dry so 6 of us went to play basketball. At about 4:30 the power came back on so we went back to work on inquiry project. I hope the power company really fixed the power, not just for 20 minutes.

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Today was mostly a chill day, but our plans for basketball got canceled because it was snowing today. I was completely shocked when I looked outside and saw white flakes falling from the sky. The past 3 weeks have shown no sign of snow or even rain. I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to play basketball today, but it's the first time I've seen snow in a year so I wasn't too sad about it.

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Today is saturday, so we had free time in the morning, and we just chilled a little bit. In the afternoon, and all of the groups went out into the village to find partners for service learning. Our group found a man, but he needed time to think about our questions. The man seems like he has interesting stories to tell for our project. I look forward to hearing from him and filming our service learning project. I can't believe our final week of microcampus is approaching, and I will make the most of it. Tomorrow is another chill day, and I might go play basketball with some friends.

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Today mark's the end of the 3rd work week of microcampus. Tomorrow the weekend starts, and everyone is looking forward to some rest and recovery from another busy week. After finishing 3/4 of microcampus, everyone is trying to cherish our last week together as a microcampus group. Today was a pretty normal work day, and I got some inquiry work done. Later, after dinner, about half of us were in Sifangjie playing hacky sack with some little local kids. It was really fun for us and for the little kids too. 

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Today was a pretty normal microcampus day, and it was really productive since I got lots of inquiry project work done. I should be starting my final product fairly soon. Some good news is we found another basketball court with the help of Abby. In the last 20 days, I've been completely enjoying the food that the chefs have prepared for us. I really appreciate their efforts and I can't believe they can deal with 16 little middle schoolers every day. The food in the village has also been wonderful.

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Most of the group will be going to Dali old town again today, but I decided to stay behind and do some inquiry work. It was actually a pretty productive day for me, and I talked to some people that helped me find a lot more information for my inquiry project. Besides that, today was a pretty uneventful day, and we had a nomal schedule except for the afternoon trip. I look forward to making the final product and we'll see how good that is. 

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Today I spent a lot of time out in the community doing inquiry project work. I talked to some store owners and random people on the street to see if they liked music. Many of them did. I also went with 2 friends to go see a music performance not far from Sifangjie. There was a man there that I interviewed and he knew a lot about music. My friend's topic is smoking, and we also found a performer who started smoking at age 12, so it was good for both of us. Other than that, today was a pretty normal day for microcampus.

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Today, we shifted back into our normal schedule after the 3 day hike. Today the Lindens left for Vietnam, and before they left, I got a bro hug with their son Bryce, and he bumped me so hard I bit my tongue. It's really unfortunate that they're leaving because I've really gotten to know their sons well within the last 2 weeks. They'll be back before we leave though, so that's good. That was the biggest event of the day, and other than that, not much happened today.  

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Today was the last day of the hike, and everyone was reluctant to leave the mountain but at the same time eager to come back home to Yangzhuoran. For me, today was the most tiring, even though yesterday's trail was definitely harder. Everyone was exhausted from hiking for the past 2 days, and the whole time I could tell that people really wanted to get back to Yangzhuoran. We walked and walked and finally after 4 hours we reached our destination at the bus and we finally got back to our home.

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Today, we climbed from ZhongHeSi up to about 3200 meters on the mountain. It was the most challenging part of the hike, and there were slippery pine needles everywhere on the steep dirt path. We climbed, at lunch at 1, and then continued to climb and reached our goal at about 3 pm. We were trying to beat the microcampus record of 3232 m, and we fell short 10 or 20 meters, but everyone was still glad that we had made it to the highest point of our hike. After sitting and enjoying the view for a while, we started heading back to our campground.

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Today was the first day of our long 3 day journey to the top of the mountain. When we woke up, everyone was hyped up and ready to conquer the mountain. We receieved some words of wisdom from previous microcampus students, and we learned that it's a mental challenege, not a physical challenge. We were all really nervous in the beginning, but once we started it wasn't that bad. after a few hours of hiking and stopping and hiking we finally reached our camping spot at ZhongHeSi. We set up our tents and pretty much relaxed for the rest of the day.

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Tomorrow we depart for our 3 day hike up to 2600 meters on the mountain. Everyone in the group is super hyped up tonight, and we are all so excited to see what it's like on the mountain. We got a ton of advice from the previous microcampus students, and we're all going to need a lot of mental strength for this trip. The scenery is supposed to be beautiful up there, so I'm really looking for tomorrow. I hope it all goes well and we are all in one piece when we get back.

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In the morning we woke up really early so we could pack up our tents and head back to Yangzhuoran. Last night's camping trip was a great one, and we stayed pretty warm in our tent by the lake. In the morning we had a little quiet time by the lake so we could look at the sunrise over the mountains. The bright color of the sun and it's reflection on the lake were really amazing. After that, we biked back home, and it felt like we'd been away for a long time and I kind of missed Yangzhuoran. We had SAS essentials for only 30 minutes today, and I went with Mr. T to visit Mr.

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Today was another normal day, SAS Essentials and pitching in in the morning, WIPPIT Time in the afternoon. Lunch was good as usual, and I have dinner later on out in the village.The only unusual thing today is after dinner, the camping trip by Erhai Lake. We're going on a 3 day hiking trip on Friday, and we'll be camping up high on the mountain. This camping trip will give us preparation for the tent setup and everything we need for the hike. 

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Today was the first work day of our second week here at microcampus. During the first week, we enjoyed the time a lot, but many people also messed up on so many things. As Mr. T said, a new week is a fresh start, and a chance to learn from our past experiences and improve upon our first week. Today was a pretty normal day, we had SAS Essentials, pitching in, and WIPPIT time. In general, I had pretty bad luck today. First, during WIPPIT time, I scheduled an appointment with Annaliese to go meet a music expert, and then we found out he was at Dali old town.

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Today was basically a whole day of free time, except for a wellness reflection and this journal. In the morning, we slept in and had breakfast, then just chilled in the TV room and had a nice bonding time with the guys and Bryce from the Linden Centre. Then, we had lunch out at Sifangjie and came back for more chilling in the TV room. After a while, an antique shop owner's son called Sean took us to his school so we could play basketball. We had a great time today and the trivia night tonight is supposed to be really awesome!

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Today was a weekend day, so we had lots of free time and also a trip to Dali old town which isn't far from Xizhou. It was a main tourism place, so there was many people and foreigners, unlike here in Xizhou. We bought some juice at a juice stand, had some pizza, and went to sweet tooth for dessert. Also, almost half of the group bought matching hats that say YOLO on them, so we won't ever get lost again. We didn't have to work much today, so of course everyone  enjoyed it a lot.

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Today was just another craigular day of microcampus. We had pitching in, SAS essentials, and WIPPIT time as usual. For wellness, we walked all the way to a open space to play badminton, but we forgot a birdie so we ended up playing table tennis. Today's lunch and dinner was delicious as usual so I ate a lot. Today's weather was really clear, with blue skies and some fluffy clouds. Today was the last weekday of the first day and we're all looking forward to a weekend of free time.

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The school guard at the court didn't let us in today, so we couldn't play any basketball. We ended up playing badminton in the courtyard of our home. Today was a pretty normal microcampus weekday. For my inquiry work, I went with Ms. Mai to Mrs. Duan's house to learn a little more about the Dongjing music of the Bai people. Mrs. Duan is a singer and a dancer so she knows a lot about music here. Today is thanksgiving, so we had some chicken, but no turkey, so that was pretty sad. At night we had a pretty chill night, just skyping with friends and chatting.

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Today wasn't a typical microcampus day, because instead of WIPPIT time, we had a half day trip to a nearby village called Zhoucheng. In Zhoucheng the people specialize in making blue tie dyes. We saw many factories where people make tie dyes of marijuana leaves and butterflies. We all tried making tie dyes and I only learned one thing: that I'm really really bad at sewing. After struggling for about an hour, the lady just helped me finish it because I was like half an hour behind everybody. After tie dyes, we went to a temple on top of a hill called Long Quan temple.

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Today, we finally found a court where we can play basketball for wellness. It was in a school and it took us an hour on bikes to find. When we finally found them though, many of us were already exhausted, but we played with some local high schoolers anyway. It turned out to be a great time and I hope we see those people again some time. Also, during pitching in time, a couple of friends and I went to just talk to elders and make connections in the village.

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Today's schedule was similar to what the rest of microcampus is going to be like. In the morning there is a daily meeting and pitching in, and in the afternoon is WIPPIT time (wellness, inquiry project, pitching in, and terrace time). Today's lunch was amazing, even better than yesterday's baba. I had 2 bowls of local noodles from vendors in Sifangjie, and they tasted great. I also had some fried potatoes from the potato lady near Sifangjie. In the afternoon it was WIPPIT time, and it was our first time, so we had some trouble, especially with terrace time.

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Today was a sunny day with clear blue skies and not many clouds. We had a tour of the village that we are living in, Xizhou. We saw lots of family run businesses, including embroidery shops and lots of food stands around the square. This was the most exciting part of the day, because it was the first time that we saw the village that will be our home for the next month. We checked out the embroidery shop, where they make silk embroideries out of silkworm cocoons. We also tried a local cheese called rubing in somebody's home.

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We finally arrived at XiZhou today! Before we arrived in XiZhou, we passed the gorgeous lake Erhai. It was dark blue and still, and stretched for about 35km in the distance. I looked around, and I noticed that the entire Erhai area is surrounded by mountain ranges, which protected the Dali Kingdom from invaders. After the lake, we continued on our long journey and finally arrived at the famous XiZhou. The Lindens showed us around our wonderful living area, and we had a delicious dinner made by our chef. The best part of today was probably looking at the stars after dinner with Mr. T.

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Looking back at the lock-in we just had, I realize that we have learned a ton about our road ahead and what our goal is. We go to microcampus for 4 reasons: experiential learning, personal growth, having a positive impact, and expanding intercultural understanding. We practiced many of these things at the lock in today and talked about our journey to Xizhou and how we will have as much fun as possible during our visit. We are all really excited for our amazing journey ahead and we can't wait.

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Microcampus is only a month a way and I am so excited for it! I kinda don't want to be away from my friends, but I think it's going to be fun, and it sounds more fun every time we talk about it. Can't wait to spend a month with you guys.

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I'm really excited for the trip in November, although I'm kinda nervous because I'll be away from home for so long. It will be nice to see how life there is different from here.

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Hi, my name is Kevin C and I was in Xizhou in November and December 2013. It was an amazing experience for me and my friends, and it really changed the way I see the world. Microcampus is an amazing program that helped me learn more about myself. I really enjoyed microcampus and I hope that the future students enjoy it just as much.