Alina Z. (Alumni-G)'s Journal

There are many reasons why I thought I came to Microcampus in the beginning of the trip, but now that I look back, these reasons ared different. The biggest reason is personal growth, and discovering different things that I didn't know about myself before. On the hike, I had to adapt to different things that I was not used to, and I discovered different strengths and limitations that I had. Every day that I was here, I did things out of my comfort zone, and outside the "bubble" of Shanghai. This meant discovering different things about myself that I didn't know before.

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Today we finished our service learning projects! Afterwards, even though the quality wasn't my best, I still think that we did a pretty good job. When we invited Mr. Du to the Linden Centre, I could tell that he was looking forward to it. It was too bad that his wife couldn't make it. When we were walking to the Linden Centre, he told us that he had met Mr. Linden 20 years ago when Mr. Linden first came to Yunnan, and had introduced him to Xizhou. So technically, without Mr. Du, there would have been no Linden Centre. And without the Linden Centre, Mr.

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Today was an EXTREMELY busy day. Why? Well, it's because the day where we finish our inquiry projects! Everyone was pratically rushing around trying to get it done. After a day of hard work, messups, frustration and lots and lots of recordings, I was able to get it done. And, I was really proud of myself too! I thought that my project was really good quality. Thinking back on it, it feels really good not having to wait until the last day, and just getting everything done and actually being HAPPY with your work. You know that this is to your best ability, and it feels really nice.

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It's the second day after the hike, and my body has been nicer to me now. Even though some places are still sore, overall, I feel a lot better. I was pretty much back in shape. During lunch, I went out to eat muslim noodles. I missed this so much... considering that I had been eating cold, bland food for the few days of the hike. I feel like I'm starting to appreciate everything that I do so much more. I mean, during the hike, we slept on the ground and constantly I would wake up in the middle of the night freezing my toes off.

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Today was one of the only days that we had left to work on a service learning. Our service learning video was finally put together 40 or so minutes after it was ACTUALLY due, and we were able to get it done. After lots of rushing and editing, we finally showed it to Mr. Tafel to check our work. Not even 30 seconds into the video, all of us were bursting out laughing. After some interesting video skills from our dear friend Harry, our video was quite shaky. At some points, the lighting was so bad that our service learning partner's face was literally black. It was hilarious, and Mr.

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It's the first day back from the hike, and I am completely exhausted. Not as much as yesterday, considering that I got a great night's sleep- and a huge 30 minute shower. I couldn't shower too well because we were living in Yang's Guesthouse, and I was afraid that I would get the entire place filled with water. Unlike the bathrooms in the Linden Centre, there are no toilets in the bathrooms- only the things where you have to squat. The shower is right next to it, but there is no curtain or anything separating the shower. Today were were allowed to sleep in, and I slept until 9 o'clock.

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Today was a fun and interesting experience. To make up for the previous time when we didn't go to Dali Old Town, we went today. Going to Dali Old Town was like being a tourist here. There were lots of souveniers to buy, and different foods to eat and try out. When I first got there, I felt very excited. There were so many things to do! First, Wayne, Ryane and I formed a group to go together and Ryane and I decided to go shopping, dragging Wayne along. I feel pretty sorry for him... After buying a flower crown, tassle earrings and a really pretty bag, we decided to go eat.

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Yesterday was our final day of research. Today, I kind of feel that, even though I have a lot of information, that I want more time to do these things because yesterday I made a pretty interesting discovery and I would like to do more research on it. However, looking back, I did get a lot of information, and I knew a lot more than I did before I went on this trip. Today, we would begin and finish our Phase 4, which is planning out my final project, which can be seen here. After finishing everything, I felt quite accomplished.

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Lately I feel like being in a poem mode, so I decided to write another poem about Xizhou. I was inspired by the one I wrote on day 22 to make this one, and since not a lot happened because today is a weekend day, I decided it would be okay to write another poem. The title is, What you can see when you don't.

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Xizhou is like a flower

You can see it
So still, so quiet
Bending and moving
Wherever the wind blows
Don't speak, don't move
Just watch that bit of beauty
Shine through
Others may tread on it
Without a hesitation
When it goes unnoticed
Unheard, unseen.
But I saw it
That fragile untouchable thing
I was still, I was quiet
And noticed an hidden beauty
One that grew in the cracks
Of the sidewalk
I saw that bit of loveliness
And one day maybe,
Just maybe
They will see it too.

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Today, I went out to the fields this time and was taught bow to harvest garlic! I used a small metal tool that they gave me to harvest it. It actually was not too difficult. I even brought a garlic sprout home. I also tried peeling a garlic sprout by hand, without using the tool. It is really, so much harder. That sharp metal tool just made life so much easier. Plus, by using the tool, I didn't have to destroy the entire plant.

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Today is the first day I actually got sick, starting with me waking up at 6 in the morning to throw up. Not a good wakeup. I was feeling a bit better after a nice rest until 10 in the morning, so I went on with my regular day. Too bad I should have paid more attention... In the afternoon I wasn't feeling too bad so I went to go farming the fields! Farming is definitely harder than it seems like..

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Today was a regular schedule for us. My legs, however, are still sore from the hike. I think that I'm going to lay off the exercising for a while... Most of my day was pretty chill. I went out to walk in the fields, did some catching up, did work on my computer, and just relaxed. I'm just getting back into the routine. I also went out into the fields to talk to the farmers.

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Today was a rough day. We woke up early, to start out first day of hiking! The most that I remembered about it was that it was really, really hard. For the first day, we only went uphill. By the 10th minute, admittedly, I already wanted a break. However, by some magic force, I was able to hike for about 8 hours. At first, I felt really tired and I couldn't concentrate on anything but the pain in my legs and feet, and shoulders (from the extremely heavy hiking backpack). I feel like today I became more of a hiker, and I was able to endure the 8 hours of hiking.

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Today was a short hike, which lasted no longer than 2 hours. We climbed to the very top of the mountains, which was at a height of 3,232 feet above sea level. At the top, it was truly amazing, and windy, and it felt like I was on top of the world. It was also really windy up there. The wind blew so hard that on my way down, I could feel the wind pushing me down. There were even a couple occassions when I almost tripped and fell off. Luckily, I always was able to keep my balance up. It was truly amazing on top of that mountain. 

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Today was our first real sunday here in Xizhou. I woke up late today- 8:00, and I was feeling really refreshed the entire day. We did our daily video shoutout today, which can be seen by clicking here. It was a pretty chill day, with very little activities. During the daily video shoutout, Dannes, and I jogged around the village with Lauren riding her bike next to us. We went to the bank, the market, the tie-dye shop, sifangjie, and in other places.

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Today was a day full of mistakes and consequences. Here at Microcampus, it's nothing like inside the bubble, and I learned that today. Back in Shanghai, sometimes you might mess up, and it's not that big of a deal. However, here, making a mistake could possibly mean putting something, like my safety or health at risk. When we do something against the rules, there's bound to be consequences. The main mistake that I had made today was not following an instruction that had been repeated many times for the sake of my own wellbeing.

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Today was the small introductory hike! It lasted a total of 2 hours long, and it was really nice getting to see the view. It was amazing when we reached the top- a dizzying height. Along the way, it definitely wasn't a smooth, paved road. It was mostly dirt, dust, brambles, thorns, dried up leaves and grass. It was a pretty tiring walk, but definitely worth it. I did get a few minor cuts along the way. I can't wait to go on the 3 day hike- it will be a challenge though. I'm looking forward to being able to camp in the mountains and look and see the stars above clearly.

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Today I spent most of my time in the fields talking to the locals farmers. I was able to make a lot of connections, as well as learning many of the farmers' names. It was fun and I learned a lot of things from the farmers about their own lives. I also talked a little about where I was from, and what I was doing there. I even was able to talk to the owner of the garlic fields as well, and asked him some questions about the farmers, the job hirings, and more about why he planted garlic.

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Today we went to Zhoucheng to explore and see different there. There were many things that were different about Zhoucheng and Xizhou. Zhoucheng was a more of a tourist place, so the prices were higher, and there were more convenience stores, as well as a lot of women wearing "traditional" outfits. We went to the tye-dye factory there, and watched people make tye-dye cloths, as well as making the dye itself in the factories. Unlike factories in the cities, the factories kind of reminded me of old barns, with big pots in there, and filled with some old machines. 

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Today was our first rainy day. Most days its beautiful and clear, but today it was quite rainy. We all wore raincoats when we went outside. Today was also our first regular day. We finally got our usual  schedule. During lunch, Jamie, Joyce, Dannes, Ryane and I went out to eat. We also filmed our daily video shoutout. We had our regular schedule and it was pretty tiring... I spent a lot of time jogging in the fields, and the view was amazing! I almost slipped a couple times and my partner, Dannes, slipped in the mud. I was able to get 47 minutes of in-zone time!

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Today was more introduction to the life in Yunnan. We took a bike ride near the lake in Yunnan, and it was amazing. I loved feeling the wind against my skin rushing forward as fast as possible on the empty road. It felt very free. The scenery is also amazing.. I can't wait to go back! These are some things that can't be caught on camera. It's just not the same. We visited an aquaduct, which is used to transfer lake water from the lake to the fields. I also loved the stargazing night. The constellation that I remember well is Orion's belt, the three stars in the sky.

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Full day 1 in Xizhou. We've only been here in the Linden Centre for less than 25 hours, and yet it already feels like home. We were able to get used to the schedule here, and how things work. We learned how our days were going to be like every day. In the morning, our group toured around the village. During lunch, Wayne, Narelle, Harry and I had lunch at a small restaurant in Si Fang Jie, which was known for its well-known Taifei rice (named after Tafel!). None of us had Taifei rice. However, the lunch was still amazing, and I had a delicious and satisfying bowl of mixian (rice noodles).

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Waking up at 4 AM to get to the airport is definitely not easy, especially when you're so excited the previous night that you can't sleep. The trip to Xizhou, although long and bumpy, had many interesting and amazing memories in it. It was mostly filled with excitement, anticipation, and at the end of the day, everyone was dead tired. I remember on the bus when everyone was talking joking, and even though we actually never really talked together at school, there wasn't any awkwardness, as if everyone already knew each other well. Out trip had gotten off to an amazing start.

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I am 14 years old. I lived in Washington State, U.S.A. for 11 years. Then I moved here and have been going to SAS ever since. In my life, I have gone to 6 different schools. SAS is the longest I have been a school since I was 5. I have arrived in Xizhou and am in the process of making new experiences where I can learn about things that are outside of my comfort zone.