Norman H. (Alumni-Q)'s Journal

The end of a chapter, but the start of another one. This is how I feel about the end Microcampus. I cannot remember the original reason that made me came here, perhaps it was because of my parents, I will never know, but after 28 days in Xizhou, I now know the reason of why I came here. I came here to try something new, to try something that I have never experienced before, I wanted to find a place to calm down and think before I act, I wanted some experiences on how "Real Life" would be like, and how different it is from SAS. 

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The journal for today will be about gratitude in Microcampus. During the 28 days we had in Microcampus, some things would never be possible without their help and support. There are so many people that helped me along the process. My gratitude for these people will never be forgotten in my heart, I hope they can have a great time in Xizhou. I will miss them dearly because they have done so much for me, I cannot be more glad for them. 

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When we sat down and watch other people watch our movie, it was a very fun experience because usually, we would be the people who were watching the video play out on the screen, instead of watching other people watch it. When we watched it, I felt like I disappeared because of the lighting and that let me see how focused people were. Although there are people who were not really focused, the majority of the audiences were focused on the screen and ignoring us.

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Today in Microcampus, we once again worked on our Service Learning project, which had many problems such as bad subtitles and bad grammar. Although we did not spot it in the beginning,when we let Mr. Tafel review the movie, he saw all the mistakes and pointed us out to that. After letting Mr. T give us many pearls of wisdom on our Service Learning film, we had to work and fix the film. The process was very slow and painful. When we went to Mr. Tafel for the second review, he found other mistakes that were caused by us solving the previous problems carelessly.

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Today it was a very good Service Learning day. During the day, I managed to cut out the majority of footage that we took during the conversations that we had with our Service Learning time. After looking at the outline that I created on my spare time, the majority of the time that I spent on Service Learning was used on cropping and editing the footage so that my other partner, Yisu, could start working on the subtitles for the movie.

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Today, I finally got my computer back, this means that I can finally start on my Inquiry Project. Since during the previous days, I had already written out the scripts and the reflections parts of my Inquiry Project, what that remained for me to do was record was me saying the script. The first few parts of my recording went fine, only during my recording of children in Muslim families did I have some problems, during that, I tried to record myself saying it, but I kept saying things wrong and I had to keep re-recording. After showing my finish product to Mr.

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Today for our evening activity, we went to the tea house for our evening activity, during our time that we had there, my friends and I all played the game "Skip-Bo." Looking at the cover, it came from the makers of "Uno", no wonder it was so fun. Of course, if we went to the tea house, we also had the chance to try food that we could only get back in Shanghai. Eating the food there, kind of reminded me of Shanghai and the food there. I guess I can hang on for 6 more days, that's when we will be back from Xizhou and back to Shanghai. 

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Today we once again went out for Service Learning during our Pitching In time, although we got rejected many times, we managed to meet Mr. Yang who was a minority expert in Xizhou. When we met him, he said that we found the correct person to talk to, but the way we found him was unusual, it was unlike many invitations, this one was when Mr. Yang was walking and we came up to him to talk to him about Service Learning, after conversations with him, which gave us a lot of information that we were so surprised about. I think today was a great day for Service Learning. 

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Today was the end of our hike, after waking up at 7 am to look at the sunrise, I packed my sleeping bag and went to eat breakfast. The one interesting thing that happened during that time was that I got to buy tea for drinking when I get back to Shanghai in 9 more days. When we were packing our things, it was somewhat surprising that we were taking a car down the mountain. Mr. T explained that we had to take the car because we had to be on time with our schedule.

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Today was one of the most special days in Microcampus because we had a hike to a tea farm on a mountain. When we woke up in the morning, and after our breakfast, the first thing that I did was pack my things and also go to the supermarket because I needed a bigger water bottle. The water bottle that I chose was a 2 Liter plastic water bottle that cost 12 RMB. After lunch, we went on the hike.

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Today was quite a chill day for us, the somewhat big thing that happened today was mainly about us writing our wellness reflection. My week 2 wellness reflection was about me more being on the emotional wellness side, instead of me being on the physical wellness side because this week, it has been raining constantly and I did not have a chance to go outside. This gave me a chance to read books that I would not have had the time to read in Shanghai, some of the books that I read included: "Empire of Storms", "Queen of Shadows", "Court of Thorns and Roses".

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Today in Microcampus, we experienced our second weekend which commemorates our second week at Microcampus. There was nothing special today other than my friend and I going to a supermarket to buy some ice-cream so that we can satisfy our sweet tooth. I tried a new kind of ice-cream which were cubes of ice cream and covered in chocolate. Tonight for our evening activity, we are going to watch a movie in the TV room, the movie is called Oceans 12, which is the sequel to the movie that we watched last week which was Oceans 11.

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Today there were not many things that were interesting, unfortunately, since the weather previously in Xizhou was very wet and it has only begun to start drying. Since the ground was only starting to dry, Mr. Tafel said that the mountain ranges would still be very wet and saturated. Considering that we could not go on the hike, Mr. Tafel offered us a chance at meeting the US consulate about his job, what he does and how they can help the US citizens.

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Today was an abnormal day, and by abnormal, I meant very, very different from the usual Xizhou. This day in Xizhou was very very cold, after eating breakfast, I went up to classroom 2 and I immediately felt like I was freezing, and not to my surprise, so did all my friends. After the daily meeting, which Mr. T told us that the weather in Xizhou was really cold, I went down into my room and grabbed my wind jacket to put over my normal jacket, my bandanna, my woolen beanie, and at last my ski gloves. The second that I wore them, I instantly felt much warmer and much more comfortable.

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There were not many interesting events today, although there were not many interesting events in Microcampus, the weather in Xizhou was special and interesting. The weather today in Xizhou was not very good, it was raining from around 3am in the morning and is still going now. Unfortunately, today was also the laundry day for my room. In order to solve the problem that came up, we had to hang our clothes under a roof, which meant that it took longer to dry our clothes.

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Today was not a really good day because we directly disobeyed the directions of Mr. Tafel and the consequences were very bad. Although we learned again the rules and directions, I still think that it is our fault that we were not following the directions well. I also did not follow the directions and I suffered really bad consequences. I should have done better and think before I act since I directly disobeyed his orders, I lost some privileges and thinking back on it, I should have done better by not following my first impulses when something happens.

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To be very honest, there were not many special things that happened during the day. The one thing that was special today was that I managed to keep the 100 dollar bill that I got for meal allowances 4 days ago without ever using it. I do think this happened because I was slacking off in my Pitching In time and I did not go to the bank to get change for my money, but sometimes you need to slack off so that you can save money. Although I managed to conserve the 100 RMB bill, I only earned a 60 RMB profit because I used the rest of the change that I brought on the trip.

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Today was our first "real" Saturday, we experienced how a normal weekend in Microcampus would go. In Microcampus, the purpose of a weekend is to wind down and to rest after the work that we do during the week. Weekends are almost tailored to our needs, first, we get to sleep in because breakfast starts at 8:15 and ends 9:30, which means that we can wake up at 8:45am and we still have time to eat our breakfast. Which is unlike a normal weekday at Microcampus because, in a normal day, we would have to wake up at 7am or earlier so that we can catch up to breakfast which is at 7:30am.

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The journal for today will be about our learning on power and control in Microcampus and in XiZhou. In Microcampus, the people with the most power are Mr.Tafel and Ms.Mai, they have the ability to decide our schedule, decide when we eat and what we do in our day. Both Mr.Tafel and Ms.Mai have control over each committee that they lead, one example of this is Ms.Mai is in charge of laundry and she can help us and teach us how to do laundry or let us figure it out ourselves.
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Today in Microcampus, we had our first room inspection, the majority of us were really scared of it because we knew that our room was really messy. When Mr.T dressed up as the "Phantom of Room Inspection" with only a beanie covering half of his head. We all laughed because we knew it was him, but we still continued the act, pretending that Mr.T was the "Phantom." When he was inspecting our room, he was very humorous about it. Some examples of him being humorous are when he said that our slippers inside the rooms are not at a 90-degree angle.

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When Mr.T told us that we had to make connections with 10 other local people who are outside of XiZhou, I panicked, I was never good at making connections with people that are not my age. Even though it was a hard time, I still had to make the decision of asking what their name was, after braving up to ask the boss at Old Town Snacks, who was called Mrs.Kang, I felt much more relaxed and I started to brave up more and ask more people what their names were. From then on, I became braver and asked more people what their names were. So far, I have gathered the names of: Mr.

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Today was a very interesting day because we had our first taste of WIPPIS, WIPPIS stands for Wellness, Inquiry Project, Pitching in, and Still Time. Wellness in WIPPIS means to be in the "Zone" for at least 30 minutes, the zone is a certain heart rate range of where you must be. In the case of Microcampus, the range is from 145 BPM to 185 BPM. The inquiry project in WIPPIS means to work on our inquiry project for two hours so that we can move the process forward and because inquiry project is the main reason we came to XiZhou for.

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Today in XiZhou, we had our first "real" day of Microcampus, where we had map test in the morning. The most exciting thing that we did today was our first bike ride, on our first bike ride, we learnt after the Acronym "SAFE", it stands for Space, Avoidance, Focus, and effective communication. We had to call out to each other when there were obstacles so we could avoid it earlier and not surprise people behind us. We biked for almost and hour and visited a small village and rode back home after that. Today was our first taste of how a real Microcampus day would go. 

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Today in XiZhou, we learned more in depth about the culture of XiZhou, the propaganda that the Communist Party left behind during Mao's time, and what effects did the Cultural revolution have on XiZhou and it's buildings. We also went to the main town square XiZhou, which was called, Si Fang Jie. At Si Fang Jie, we found many places which were selling traditional food, such as the flower cakes and the Yunnan Ham moon cakes.

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Day 1: Today was a transportation day for us. We took an airplane to XiZhou and landed there at around 7pm, we arrived at our home, the Yang Jou Ran,  When we arrived in XiZhou, the weather report was saying that the day was not so good, but comparing it to Shanghai’s weather, the weather in XiZhou was amazing. After eating our dinner which consisted of braised beef, and many other special foods which I had never eaten before. After eating, we unpacked a little bit and went to bed after showering. We also managed to learn about the Cultural Revolution and it's affects on XIZhou. 

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My name is Norman and I am 13 years old, I was in Xizhou for 28 days, this experience has taught me many things, I will forever treasure this experience, Microcampus will always have a special place in my heart.