Grace S. (Alumni-F)'s Journal

Today was our last full day here in Xizhou.  This morning we worked on completing needed tasks and working on our Wellness Reflections. After our last daily meeting we went out for lunch.  I ate at my favorite noodle place and also enjoyed some spicy potatoes. After lunch we filmed our last Daily Video Shout-out.  It was really nice to say goodbye as a group.  Also, tonight was the ‘Jammies’, the Microcampus equivalent of the Grammies! I won a couple awards and it was so much fun!

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I first heard about Microcampus when I was in seventh grade from some of my eighth grade friends.  When I heard what it was I was surprised that middle schoolers could stay away from their families for a month.

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Finally all of our work has paid off.  Today was the day when we presented our final Service Learning video in front of the Linden Center staff, fellow classmates, chaperones and our Service Learning partner. We were all so worried we would not finish our video on time and we were all super stressed. When it came time to get our Service Learning partner from his house, all of us started to get butterflies.  We walked him to the Linden Center and brought him up to the viewing room.  Watching our partner, Mr. Yang meet Mr. T was really neat.  It seemed as if they connected immediately. Mr.

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Today our Inquiry Projects were due.  I spent all morning finishing my project and double checking my reflection. After I finished, I showed Mr. T and he gave me some pointers on what I could do to change things before submitting it on my workspace.  After editing, I went to lunch. I am really going to miss the Linden Center’s cooking when I go back to Shanghai.  Today we also had to work a lot on Service Learning. This was stressful becasue our group was busy with their own work, pluss the shared work of Service Learning.

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  Today was the first day it rained here in Xizhou.  It sprinkled a little bit yesterday but today it rained all day.  We also had laundry today and when we went back earlier to check on the clothes, nothing was dry.  After this, we went to meet with our Service Learning partner today for the last time until the showing of our projects on Wednesday.  Our partner is so kind and couldn't talk a lot today because he had to go watch his T.V. After Service Learning in the morning, all afternoon I worked on my Inquiry Project.  I am almost done with my project video and the reflection.

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Today, here in Xizhou was the last weekend we will have.  It was filled with work,work, work and work.  This morning we had to write our wellness reflections for week 3.  This took me about 45 minutes to record my thoughts. After this I worked on our Service Learning project for another hour and then we went out for lunch. Apoorva, Taylor F and I went to go eat noodles and we decided if their were three food items we would bring back to Xizhou they would be Ba Ba, the noodles and the spicy potatoes.

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Our third full weekend in Xizhou has started. Today, I slept in and man did it feel good. I really need the next couple of days to re charge my battery for the busy upcoming week.  Today we went and filmed our Service Learning partner and now we have almost all needed footage.  Now all that left of the video it is editing.  Today I also continued to work on my final Inquiry project that I am very nervous for but I am sure I'll do my best! Can't wait for tomorrow! 

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Today was one of the most productive days I've had here at Microcampus.  After the meeting today, my Service Learning group and I went to visit an elderly couple that were possible Service Learning partners for us.  They agreed on being our partners and we started to film a bit.  We scheduled times for the rest of the week to come back and it was a very productive hour for us.

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Today was our last day of researching.  I spent the last three weeks going around and interviewing locals about my topic! ‘Phase 3’ where all of this information is being held was due today! It felt really good to submit what I have been working on for a while. If we finished all needed work we were given the option to go to Dali Old Town for the evening! Because I was all finished with my work I was able to go. Four others and I went to a pizzeria and it was a treat to have western food. I also ate this brownie that was more than amazing! Seeing another part of town was neat!

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Today was one of our last days we were able to interview locals. I wanted to make these last days count because it is the last time I will be able to connect with them the way I have been for a month. Today I visited Mr. Dong, a 88 year old local.  I talked to him for an hour about his life and what he has been through.  Mr. Dong always drifted off of topic to things like the government.  This showed that he was very interested in that field.  I really enjoyed talking to him because he was genuinely a happy person and you could tell the way he appreciates life by the way he smiled.

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Today was another long day filled with interviews and information.  I went out and interviewed Mrs. Duan. Mrs. Duan is a knitter and owns a yarn shop. Mrs. Duan has been a service learning partner for past groups and is familiar with the program so I thought it was appropriate to talk with her.  I was able to get a lot of information from her about retirement and her life. It was neat to interview her because she was knitting while I was talking to her.  Seeing her in action was a real treat.

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This journal is a humanities requirement for my week 3 Xizhou review. In Xizhou, we have been finishing up our SAS Essentials work and interviewing our last few resources.

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Today was the last day of the three day hike!  We were able to sleep in a bit this morning before heading down to breakfast.  It was nice to catch up on sleep because we have been hiking for the past few days. We didn't leave until 12:00 today and we used this time to hang out and play Hacky Sack. We left at around 12:30 and walked for three and a half hours. It was the hardest day for me because I was so tired from the previous days, however; it was the funnest. Once we arrived down the mountain and saw our bus it was a sight for sore eyes.

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Today was the second day of our three day hike!  Yesterday we hiked up the main part of the mountain to get to our camp site. Today we woke up, packed up our tents, ate breakfast and then we were on our way higher up the mountain. We hiked for two hours up to 3,150 meters above sea level to where we could see snow.  It was an amazing feeling when we reached the top, we were all filled with such achievement.  I packed a chocolate bar for the top so that was good too.  After taking in the view we hiked down for another two hours, set up the tents again and then went to bed. 

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Hey everyone, today was a crazy day! We woke up at 7 and then after breakfast we left for our three day hike.  We were driven to the foot of the mountain and then hiked the rest of the way up.  It took us 6 hours to get to our camping spot near a temple.  The way up the mountain was really steep and our super heavy hiking backpacks didn't help.  Half way up we stopped for lunch (fried rice, packed in advance), that never tasted so good.  When we got to the camp site we set up camp, and went to bed, all exhausted from the long day! 

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This morning was my first time leading our daily meeting! I was in charge of making it go smoothly and introducing each topic to the group.  I think that this little task was very helpful because I was able to work on my public speaking and my confidence in front of the ‘Fearless’ group. Today I went to interview Mr. Yang, the old 90 year old accountant.  He was super kind and very helpful!

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This week we have been working on interacting with locals, reaching outside of our comfort zones and observing behaviors around the community.  Mr. T has been lecturing us on Xizhou’s history and the People’s Republic of China.  When learning about the PRC I made some connections with the Giver.  Mr. T also mentioned that some people in Xizhou are still afraid to share their true feelings about Chairman Mao because of the ‘Hundred Flower Movement’.

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Today was a little different because it was our first day back to normal from the weekend. We got up at seven and ate at 7:30.  The beginning of our day consisted of organizing week schedules and organizing group tasks in our daily meeting.  After this I spent an hour working on recording some information from past interviews.  I was also working on planning out who I want/needed to interview next.

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Today was Sunday and it was a pretty chill day.  We got up from camping, took apart out tents, cleaned up our area and rode back to the Linden Center.  Once we got back we ate a late breakfast and then worked on our Week 1 Wellness Reflection.  Once the reflection was approved we unpacked from packing. Then we were off to the first ever Xizhou, Ba Ba Festival.  At the festival I was able to make my own ‘Pizza Ba Ba’. In my ‘Pizza Ba Ba’ was tomato, spinach and local made cheese. It was really good!

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Today is Saturday, which is the one week marking point for us being in Microcampus! This week has gone by so slow but so fast. During service learning time, my group and I went to meet a possible connection.  The couple we met were so kind and invited us to eat at their house another time. The man was trained in Tai-Chi and was showing us some of his moves. Lets not forget the man was 80 years old. After we left, we packed and got on our bikes.  We rode our bikes for two hours to Lake Erhai.  We set up out tents and hit the hay.

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Today was again, a super long day! In the morning we went to the Chinese New Year festival in the town center!  It was really cool to see all the traditional foods, music and dance in Xizhou. Some classmates and I went to see dragon dance rehearsals and it was interesting to see how into it they are.  Today we also went on a four hour hike! It was awesome, but very tiring!  I really enjoyed the scenery once we reached the top and the view of Erhai. 

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Today was the first day of the trip where we were able to meet some of our possible research sources.  We were given the option to go talk to them and meet them for the first time. Fey and I went to meet Mr. Yang the antique shop owner and I introduced myself to him! It was really neat to talk to him about his life and his family. We had a short conversation about my family and I then I told him I played the violin. He then goes into his shop and takes out a violin made in 1975.  The instrument was beautiful, but very rustic.

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Today was another really long day! It started off with a long daily meeting and pitching in.  During Pitching in time Mrs. Mai, Taylor, Apoorva and I went to the morning market.  There we were able to try fresh sugar cheese and oranges.  They were all amazing! After lunch I worked on my Inquiry Project for two hours and Skyped my councilor. After all of this work, eight others and I went on a two hour bike ride! The bike ride was amazing but a lot of work! Two hours is a long time!

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So far in our trip we have seen a number of interesting things. We have had talks with locals and tried many interesting cuisine; however, we have had very minimal interaction with the actual culture. This has happened because of the misinterpretation of the Xizhou community.

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Today was a very long day! The most exciting thing that happened today was our journey to Erhai.  Around 1 today, we took horse carts to the peninsula of lake Erhai.  Once we arrived  we spent an hour picking up trash around lake side. It was really nice to see how much of an impact we had on the environment in only an hour. I wonder how much we could clean up in a week. This was definitely a highlight of my day! After this we had an hour of down time and then we were given some more instructions about our daily life in Xizhou. After the long day we went to eat dinner in town.

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Today was a very exciting day! The 'Fearless Group' tasted Xizou for the first time exploring the village and learning our way around. Our day started at 7 and then at 8:30 we were given a tour of the Linden Centre. The Linden Centre is so beautiful and the people/staff are so nice.  After this we had some down time and then went on a tour of the village. Mr. T showed us around the main areas and the places we will be visiting the most. The village is amazing and the people we met were wonderful. Finally after the tour, we ate lunch.  I had delicious potatoes and noodles.

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My day started off at 4:00 AM, where I said my goodbyes to my family. My mom and I went to the airport where I met with the rest of the 'Fearless' group. We got on a plane for a 3 hour ride and then hopped on a bus for another 6 hours.  When we finally reached Xizhou, I was amazed. It was so peaceful and quite compared to Shanghai. I can't really describe my feelings at the moment but it is something in between nervous and excited. It was such a long day and it feels so nice to be settled in.

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Hello world! My name is Grace S. and I am 14 years old! I have three younger brothers and an older sister. I am originally from Plymouth, Michigan and lived there for 10 years until I moved to Hiroshima, Japan and I now reside in Shanghai, China. My whole family loves it here. One of my passions is the violin. I have played this instrument since fifth grade and I love it. I also love Taylor Swift and competitive soccer. I had a great time in Xizhou and can't wait to come back and create more incredible memories.