Julia N. (Alumni-E)'s Journal

There are numerous reasons why a trip like Microcampus is alluring. It is a month away from school and parents. You get to go study an interesting project and live in a fantastic village. Once you take the initial front of the trip you start breaking it down into smaller and more meaningful reasons. Such as going out to realise parts of yourself that you did not know were there. You learn your strengths and weaknesses. As Mr. T said there are no secrets at Microcampus, and there is also no hiding you weaknesses. We soon learned that it is only to true.

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I want to thank all you for reading my daily post and keeping up with my Microcampus Journey. It has been such an amazing 28 days and I couldn't have asked for a better group or chaperones. I know that this is something I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. Today is our last full day here in XiZhou, we are going to be spending a lot of time packing and saying our final goodbyes to the village. Although I love this place I am excited to go home and see my family and friends.

Julia

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As the end of our Microcampus experience comes to a rapid close, we have finished our inquiry projects. It was amazing to finally close my computer and say to myself that I had actually finished. A month ago this moment had seemed like some far off fantasy that I would lucky to achieve. But know that it is done I realised that I had no need to stress or worry. With hard work and detrmination the project seemed to finish itself. I was enjoying what I was doing and it did not seem like work.

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There have been a few illnesses floating around Yang Zhou Ren and I was unfortunate as to catch one. I spent most of the day in the nurse's office. But the one good part was that being stuck and isolated in a room really motivates one to do their work. So I lost no time with my inquiry work. After I was declared healthy I was able to rejoin society (thankfully) and have dinner. We also had secret santa. I recieved 2 cans of coloured snow for my gift (thanks jake). Then we were all treated to a great night's sleep before our last "work day" XiZhou.

Julia

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Monday the start of our last week in XiZhou ended up being a quite a bit different than we expected it to be. We woke up to a morning of no power, but all of XiZhou was covered in snow. Being in this winter wonderland definatly made up for the no power. The Extreme Team also made excellent use of our day without electricity. We spent time reading, taking pictures, playing cards, and learning how to do embroidery. One of the downsides of the day was we were not able to get any work done so we unfortunatley are not doing our service learning project.

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Today was a very unusual day in XiZhou. Since we arrived 23 days ago there has not been a day without sun and blue skies, but from the moment we woke up it has been gray skies. We started out with hail and then several hours of rain. Later in the day we also recived quite a few centimetres of snow, it was absolutley freezing outside. We were all shocked that not yesterday we had been in the sun without jackets and today layers of clothes are needed to keep warm. Later in the night we were greeted with another nasty surprise....a power outage.

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On our last Saturday in XiZhou the Extreme Team enjoyed a lazy wake up and a late breakfast. It was a rather uneventful day up until 2:30 when we began our service learning session. After watching a few films made by alumini student we set off into the village for our first day of filming. My service learning group had been connecting with a 64 year old woman from LiJang named Ms. Huo. But after declining to be filmed we had to move on and find another partner. My group was very lucky to find Mrs. Dong within in the hour and were able to get some filming in before our deadline of 5:45.

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Today was a good day at Microcampus. We were treated to another beautiful day of weather and clean air. Possibly the best part was the last day of SAS essentials. Since today was their last day of school back home and so we have no more new work coming from SAS. It is going to be great to have more time each day to work on inquiry rather than spend it doing school work. After Nicole and I went to the Linden Centre for a quick workout we came back to Yang Zhou Ren and realised that it was friday the 13th. Hopefully nothing scary comes along in the middle of the night!

Julia

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Today was the start of the end. We spent our time at WIPPIT starting Phase 4 which is the beginning of our final piece. It is insane to think that in a week we will be packing up our things and saying final goodbyes to this beautiful town. The time we have spent here has just flown bye and it is amazing and kind of scary that I am getting ready for my final project. It will be great to take of my reasearch and put it all into a final project. But I am really looking forward to our last SAS essentials tomorrow.

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Today I had a pre-arranged meeting to walk around XiZhou and talk about propaganda with Mr. Duan. I was very excited when Mr. Yang also showed up and Mr. T and I got to walk around with both of them and see them decipher the propaganda together. I was so interested to find out that most of the read from right to left instead of left to right. It was a big "ah-ha" moment for me because I have had trouble trying to read them and find out their meanings. But possible my favourite moment was when we ran into Mr.Zheng at one of the propaganda sites.

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Today was our first official day back from the hike, we woke up to an excellent breakfast of pancakes that tasted amazing after the 3day hike. But other than that the day went pretty normally we had our WIPPIT time in which I got some great work done on recording my Inquiry Project. I have been so busy going out and getting contacts within the elders that I need to spend today and tomorrow just going through and recording my findings. On our way to lunch Abby and I passed what she explained was the first day of the funeral process.

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Today was the last day of the hike. We started off to a leisurly day with a wake up time of 9 am and did not leave our campsite until noon. Then it was a long walk through a lot terrain to thge Dali Highway where we boarded the bus on the way back to XiZhou. Unlike the bus ride there we were silent on the way back, mostly from exhaustion but we were also digesting the fact that we had just climbed a mountain.

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To say that we were prepared for the worst is the least. We have heard horror stories from past Microcampus students about the strain it takes to reach the top. But we were all pleasently surprised we reached 3,200 metres in about 5 hours and I enjoyed all of it. The weather was perfect and we were more focused on navigating our footwork than on the physical strain. When we reached the top the sight was absolutley breath taking. On one side we could see the whole city of Dali and lake Er Hai streched out.

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We woke up to a normal day and a normal breakfast but after this we packed our lunches strapped on our massive bags and boarded a bus on the way to Chang Shan mountain where we began our 3 day hike from 2,000 metres to 3,200 metres. I think that I speak for the group when I say we went in with positive but nervous attitudes. The bus ride there was filled with idle chatter and some ukelele playing coutesy of Shane. We reached the Dali Royal Hotel at the foot of the mountain and here we began our hike.

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Today I had to chance to do something remarkable. Fay was able to set up a meeting for me with the local government. Nicole also tagged along to ask some questions about her renewable energy project. We left around 3 and had one of the Bao An's lead up to the government building. When we first got there we had to wait but then the official came in and we were able to get some answers to a lot of our questions. Another big thing is our hike tomorrow, we have a packing seminar tonight and are getting ready to leave for our 3 day hike tomorrow! I am so excited!

Julia

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Today when we woke up we were not in our beds inside Yang Zhou Ren but next to Lake Er Hai. We woke up to a chilly crisp morning and watched the sunrise while we unpacked out tents. The sunrise was unlike anything I had ever seen before it slowly rose out of the mountains casting a glow over the inky waters and lighting up the land and sky with orange and pink. When we finished packing our tents we loaded up our bags and hopped on our bikes and headed back to Yang Zhou Ren for the day ahead.

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Today when we woke up we were not in our beds inside Yang Zhou Ren but next to Lake Er Hai. We woke up to a chilly crisp morning and watched the sunrise while we unpacked out tents. The sunrise was unlike anything I had ever seen before it slowly rose out of the mountains casting a glow over the inky waters and lighting up the land and sky with orange and pink. When we finished packing our tents we loaded up our bags and hopped on our bikes and headed back to Yang Zhou Ren for the day ahead.

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Today was a great day for my inquiry work, I went with Xiao Tong to parts of the village that I had never been to and saw tons of new propaganda. One of my favourite parts was the tons of paintings along the back wall of the local middle school they had all kinds of slogan ranging from be a good person and take care of your elders to work hard and cultivate many crops. They were all beautifully designed and had the messages stroked on them with black ink. We also saw long lists of fire hazards and a large listing of standards and behaviours for the community. Later in the day Mr.

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Today has been one of my favourite days at Microcampus. During my inquiry time I went to a few small alleyways and courtyards with Mr. T. I saw some of the most remarkable things. In one courtyard we saw almost perfectly intact records of wheat production from Mao's Great Leap Forward. We also so walls covered with intact propaganda, a lot of which spoke about fire hazards and taking care of you elders to ensure that your children will take care of you in your old age. But my favourite by far was along a wall on one of the main streets in XiZhou.

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On day 9 of Microcampus we have our very first day of absolute nothing. We got to wake up at 9 am and casually go to breakfast any time before 9:30. The only work we had to do was our wellness relfection and it felt amazing to have a day to just hang out with our friends and not worry about work. Nicole and I decided to take advantage of the day and spend time in the music room with Marissa and Abby. We had a ton of fun playing piano, gutair, ukelele, and singing. We also decided to go around a make a video by filming ourselves and others doing daily things in reverse.

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Today we took our very first trip to Dali Old Town. It was so cool to be able to see a new town and be able to compare and contrast it to XiZhou and to Shanghai as well. When we arrived we saw a street that literally translated into Foreigner Street. But my favorite part of the night by far was going to The Sweet Tooth. Which is a small little bakery that has the most amazing treat in all of Yunan. We ordered a mint and orea chocolate cake, It came in massive pieces and it was absolutley delicious.

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Today we spent lunch in Si Fan Jie per usual but we spent some time trying new foods. One of which was a tofu dessert that had a sweet syrup drizzled on it. We also met woman who had a large cart of food and she gave us free samples of something that looked like kimchi but according to Thomas was much to sour and salty to actually be kimchi. But I think that overall it was a fairly normal day, well as normal as any day at microcampus day gets.

Love

julia

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Today was another beautiful day in Xizhou. Nicole and I started the day by going for an early morning run, but we were slightly hindered by struggling to get out of the gate. At 6:30 in the pitch black we found ourselves rattling the gate lock trying to get out rather unsuccessfully might I add. Until Shane and Kara came out and helped us to realise that there were infact two keys not just one. But the highlight of the day was when Nicole and I went out to Mr. Yang's Guest House during terrace time. We climbed to the roof and had our breath taken away by the sight that awaited us.

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Today was a day of puns and learning the art of tie-dye. After a fairly nomal morning we left for a half-day trip to Zhou Cheng. Here we saw a small town with several homes dedicated to hand producing tie-dye. The walls were lined with beautiful died clothe. Now I walk in thinking that this process consisted of tying rubber bands on an old t-shirt and letting is sit in dye for an hour. But this style is entirley different. The pattern is printed onto a cloth and then sewed together to create the pattern in the dye.

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Today was an usually cold day in Xizhou and it was noticed on several occasions. We started like a normal day with SAS essentials, and then I got to facilitate the daily meeting. They best part of our day was lunch though. We went out to Si Fan Jie and had a classic Yi Hao Tai Fei Chao Fan. Then we returned to Yang Zhou Ren for a rather interesting Wellness time. Nicole and I decided to do our wellness inside Yang Zhou Ren and spent a solid hour trying to increase and decrease our heart rates so that we could get in the zone.

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Today was our first day of Microcampus where we experienced a "normal" schedule. Nicole and I woke up at 6 am sharp and went for a 40 minute run around the village with Shane. It was dark outside that while I was running I proceeded to fall into a bunch of sand while not paying attention. But after an adventurous morning run we headed back to Yang Zhou Ren for hot shower and breakfast. Right after we had our first session of SAS essentials and then Pitching In.

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After a much needed good night's sleep the Extreme Team met for breakfast at 7:30. We went through the schedule for the day and then spilt of for some downtime. During this time myself and a few other Extreme Team members took advantage of the beautiful lighting and broke out our cameras. The sun filteres into the main courtyard of Yang Zhou Ren perfectly and we can see it's outline against the building in the distance. Then we went through a quick tour of the Linden Centre and learned a basic history of the house.

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After waking up at 4 am, driving to the wrong terminal, and then panicking to find the rest of the Extreme Team at Hongqiao Airport; We were finally on our way to the 28 day journey of Microcampus. Our bumpy but quick flight was followed by a 6 1/2 hour bus ride. This is when it began to hit me, this is my home for the next month. As we neared Dali Old Town we began to see beautiful mountians and rivers in the Er Hai Valley. It was amazing to look out and see nothing but mountains, grass, and rugged terain for kilometres. We saw entire towns built at the foot of these mountains.

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As the Lock-In came to a final close I reliased how fast Microcampus is coming up. As we were going through what a "normal" day would look like I was thinking "Wow, this is going to be my like in a few weeks!" I have to say that after spending a night locked in the school with my fellow Mircocampus students and learning all about what the next few months are going to look like I am very excited and even more eager to get to Xizhou. We talked a lot about the purpose of the trip and some things that we need to always be thinking about in order to fufill the Microcampus purpose.

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In 28 days from now I will be waking up very very early in the morning, driving to the air port, and starting my 4 week adventure at Microcampus. I am super excited to be leaving and it's crazy to think that in less than a month I will be in an entirely different place. I feel so lucky that I was chosen to be a part of this experience and after hearing all of the amazing things about Xizhou from Micro-Alumini I am even more geared up! I can't wait to begin this amazing trip!

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Hi Everyone!

This is my very first post on my microcampus blog! We had our first meeting today at school and I am super excited about the upcoming trip! I have been going over the list topics and I would really love the study Chinese medicine. I think that it would be super interesting to see how the ways that medicine is different in rural parts of China to as it is in the cities. We also talked about group names today (since we are group E our name needs to start with that letter) I think that my favourite was Team Extreme!

 

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Hi! I'm Julia, I am 14 years old, I was born in the United States and have lived in Shanghai for 4 years. I love traveling, photography, music, and running. I have been swimming for 7 years and it is my favourite sport and my passion. Leaderships is one of my main character strengths. Microcampus was amazing and I am so lucky to have been a part of the Extreme Team.