Dannes Z. (Alumni-G)'s Journal

Here I am, feeling slightly guilty for feeling guilty for not wanting to relive all the embarrassments of Microcampus. I know that those moments have to happen in order for me to grow, and that's why I'm here. This will probably be the latest journal post ever in all of Microcampus, and the reason is because I have been waiting to feel the effects of the changes that Microcampus brought in my life.

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I came to Xizhou for Microcampus, formerly thinking that the reason I came here was to understand more about the culture of the people here and learn more about China, this world, and myself. I thought that all I would do was obtain and present my information in this process. 

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Today, we showed our service learning video to our service learning partner, Mrs. Yang. When we went to her house to take her to the Linden Centre, she had second thoughts, but after I told her that we had prepared everything just for her, she felt obligated to go. When my group and I stepped up to show our video, Mrs. Yang smiled and looked content and happy. I kept taking glances at her, making sure that she was enjoying the film. After we showed our video, Mrs. Yang drank some tea and we talked for a while.

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Today, we went to Dali Old Town. The trip there was, at first, very questionable, for we had made mistakes on the days before as a group. 

In a few years, the chaperones will remember some of us. They will remember the outgoing ones, the funny ones, and of course, the strongest ones. But they will first forget the quiet ones, the thoughtful ones, and the ones that do not voice out their opinions as loudly as others. 

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During breakfast, I would always have a bowl of noodles. The soup is what gives the noodles any taste. The taste of the soup is a salty warmth that only soup can have. The taste warms up my stomach as it goes down my throat. 

Smells make up around 80% of the taste of food. Soup does not have a strong smell, so  one must rely on the tongue when tasting soup. 

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Today, I worked mostly on my inquiry project. I finished my final product (finally), so all I have to worry about now is my service learning project. It seems like I am tying up loose ends as the finishing process commences. I think that there is an unspoken agreement that from this point forth, all Microcampus people will either appreciate this place more or drift away to another place and start forgetting about Xizhou.

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Today, I worked on my inquiry project and saw the clouds slowly forming into cumulonimbus clouds in the sky. When I had free time, I went to the terrace and stared at the sky. At first it seemed like the clouds are moving away from me, but when I wasn't looking for one second, I started to feel the rain. A lot can happen in one second. 

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Cloudy Day

It is amusing as to how I am reminded of Shanghai every once in a while. It is also amusing as to how I am using horrible elementary vocabulary despite my knowledge that I am. However, sometimes, there is no way to avoid the embarrassments in order to receive the right response from piers. 

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Flower Crown

Microcampus. Mr. Tafel was burdened with the painstaking process of finding a suitable name for this experience. Microcampus. Shanghai American School may not teach their students the most amount of math in a year or even in the entire school, but SAS still consistenting provides their students with opportunities to see more. Microcampus is an example. 
Anyhow, today we went to Dali Old Town, and I bought a skirt and flower crown, and if I were not the modest lady that everyone knows I am, I would say that I looked like a dazzling princess today. Hah. 

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Childhood

Nature seems to be magical, 
Even whimsical on the best of days,
When nothing and everything mend and blend,
To create everything that we don’t know,
As the blue and green ball that revolves,
Around a flame of God-knows-what,
Surrounded by an abyss of a foreign fantasy,
An element that the educated call “nothing”. 

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There is this place where we go every day. We eat there, we play games there, we hang out there. That place is called SiFang Jie. At SiFang Jie, there are several restaurants selling various snacks. At one restaurant, there is this snack called BaBa. The BaBa would send off aromas of different flavors. Meat, onions, sugar-the list goes on. To spread the paradise of senses, the owner has a fan that blows the scent farther and farther to call on anyone passing by. 

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School work is not even considered stress anymore. Right now, I am focusly entirely on my inquiry project. Apparently, time in Xizhou is slipping away like the sand in an hourglass. The person who invented the hourglass was smart. He or she realized that it is possible to use physical objects to measure an object so inanimate and one-dimensional that I have no idea how the word "time" was invented. How did humans who spoke English describe "time" for the first time?

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O, how thy yonder deathly eyes induce a cold upon mine heart. In other words: Oh, how you hate me, WiFi, and how I am down because of your hated hate. The WiFi right now is not working very well, as elaborately described before. It is difficult, if not possibly impossible, to upload my journal posts and update my project, so I apologize beforehand if any fans are depressed by the fact that they can not read what I discovered in the recent days. Hah. 

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Making Connections

 

One could say that I have caught up, but for some reason, I keep thinking that I have not finished something. It has been such a quiet week, when everyone is catching up to their work, and trying to finish up their work, and all the shebang.

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The Japanese Car Prop

The days go by so fast that it's hard to live in the moment. I know that this paradise will end one day, and that makes it even harder. Anyway, today was a pretty productive day. I made around four new connections and caught up to almost everything.

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I woke up from dreaming after three dreamless nights and wrote it all down. After that, the "average" Microcampus schedule came into order, and I am currently "shifting" and "adjusting" back into schedule. I wish I'll be able to join the Transitional Ceremony for eighth grade, but it is too late now. I missed the deadline for auditioning today, and I will never have the chance again. My childhood is now officially deprived of all things sweet and good. 

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During the hike down on Day 13, when Mr. T compared the mountain to the SAS staircase, I started to think about SAS and realized that I wasn't ready to return yet. Microcampus is the time when I can figure things out and understand things more. I'm not there yet. I haven't reached that stage when I feel confident that I have done all that I could to find out about my inquiry project

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Alina

Today was definitely easier hiking than yesterday. It took the group almost no time to reach our destination. We first went to 3232, and then took some cheesy Microcampus photos on the mountain. After that, we just procrastinated and took our time tenting and camping and moving in. 

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A wise man once told me that you learn something new every day. Well, on Day 11, I studied the laws of physics through observing the branches of trees flicking back and forth after I released the potential energy of bending the branches. That was what I did during the half hour break in the hike. The mountains looked like they were converging when I stared hard enough as well. But then again, I was probably just hallucinating. 

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Today, there was hostility in the air.  All I could hear was the suitcases clapping on the staircases, which was impossibly possible since this group is the most loudest one yet. The sound of deafening silence nearly pierced my brain in half. Although I admit, occasionally, I enjoy a moment of silence, Groundbreakers are not meant to stay silent. We are meant to fill in an empty room with warmth and chitter chatter, hugs and SAS loudness until it seems like just another day in Shanghai. 

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Today started out quite well. I suppose today was productive, since I exercised, I made new connections, I tried new food- the whole shebang. But I guess today seemed too perfect, too good to be true, that I always assumed that something, something, would go wrong. And I was right. It turns out that something that I thought I had sent was not sent, and the whole cycle just restarted again. 

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If I have not said this previously, I will say it now. Our group name is Groundbreakers, and so far, we have lived up to that name. My group has broken records, whether it's good or bad. One may say that the good and bad even out. Even if someone can justify that by looking at all our mistakes and everything else, I disagree. Records are merely records. They don't mean anything to me. 

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Sometimes I wonder whether life is purposefully reminding me that pain is possible in the worst of times. Today, I have went on the 2 hour hike, and my feet hurt from blisters. After the tiresome 2 hours that seemed to be twice the amount, my heart rate was somehow above 145 beats per minute for seven minutes. Seven minutes! I am positive that my in zone time was longer than that. 

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This is a picture of Alina.

Today was pretty productive. I made several new connections and actually learned a thing or two about my inquiry topic. To find out more about what I learned, phase go to my Phase 3. Anyway, I talked to the farmers around here and found out that they are not from Xizhou, but are actually from Jiawei. As a matter of fact, I found out more about their farming work than I did family, which is what Alina the Farming Researcher should have done.

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This is a picture that I took of Lauren.

From now on, when I am not working on my project and everything else essential, I will bike to ZhouCheng and visit the tie dye people. The tie dyes are beautiful here, and I have already bought an apron for someone. Hopefully, that someone isn't reading this right now and ruin the surprise. Later, I will probably buy a big piece of tie dye to put on my table at home. 

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Aqueduct

Ah, yes, the lovely aroma of horse manure blown towards us while we rode our bikes. Today, we were introduced to companions that will stay with us for the entire month: our bikes. We rode them for an hour and learned techniques taught by Mr. T. We rode to another village that is quite popular tourist-wise because a movie called "The Golden Flower" was shot there. Maybe I'll visit there someday again. Water is essential to life, as far as we know. That's why Mr. T allowed us GIS water people and some others to ride to an aqueduct.

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Staring at the Sky

After just visiting some key areas in Xizhou today, I have already found my favorite spot in the entire village: the terrace. There is this patio-like area in the Linden Center, our temporary home, and the view is wonderful there. Today, whenever I had free time, I stayed at the terrace, just enjoying the view and relaxing in a chair. During the day, the wind and the sun form a symphony of sensations and music together; the sun invites guests into the sky, otherwise known as swallows, and the wind creates the perfect place to fly.

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Before, Microcampus seemed to be a distant dream where anything could happen. However, now that I am actually here, it seems like just another China Alive. In other words, I still haven't felt the pang of realization that I am here. In Xizhou. For a month. But maybe it's just because my eyes feel like they're having a fight with a fat man who's using all his weight on pulling my eye lids shut. Long story short, the fat man always wins. 

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On Friday, we talked about the keys to perfection in Microcampus. And to be honest, it seems like perfection is so simple, yet so complicated. Ms. Kinsella and Ms. Maloney worked together to explain. Ms. Kinsella talked to us about social, emotional, and mental health. All in all, she said that we should be flexible with our plan and try to stay together as a team. Ms. Maloney mentioned ways to stay physically healthy, such as sleeping enough hours, wearing sunscreen all the time, and washing hands often.

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I was a thirteen-year-old girl who liked daydreaming a little too much. I was born in Vancouver, Canada and lived there during the beginning years of my childhood. Ever since, I have been confused as to whether I'm Canadian or Chinese. Microcampus allowed me to see a different perspective of this world, have a better idea on how people play a part in this world, and how I can contribute to it.