Kevin G. (Alumni-R)'s Journal

There are many reasons why I came to Microcampus. The first time I was introduced to Microcampus was at an assembly at SAS. At first, I didn't realize that it would be such a special experience. My sister convinced me to go to the information session where I would learn more about this trip. During this information session, I would learn about the Inquiry Project, the Service Learning video, as well as the Big 4. These 6 things were the reasons why I came on this trip. 

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Today is the last full day of the trip. We made our way around the village and said goodbye to our friends here. We also had a trip to Dali Old Town tonight, and that was really fun. The highlight of the day was sharing our Service Learning video with our Service Learning partner as well as some other guests. We gave a DVD of our video as well as a bag of fruits to our Service Learning partner.

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Today is almost the end of our trip here, so I went to buy some souvenirs for my friends and my family. I went over to Sifang Jie and walked by some shops. I saw a shop with a rocking horse necklace, and I thought that looked interesting. I made a connection with one of Sophie's toys, a rocking moose, and purchased that necklace for Sophie. I managed to get a smaller necklace as well. The other purchase I made today was a tie-dye square. I bought it from Ms. Pan's shop, as she handmakes her own tie-dye. I bought a nice design for my sister. Hopefully my sister likes it. 

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Today I headed over to Mr. Du's house to have a look at some of his antiques. At first, my eyes were set on a bull's horn and a pencil holder with flowers made from shells. Both of them were interesting, but as I headed deeper into his collection of antiques, I noticed some jade pieces that looked interesting. Jade is a very common material in China, yet it is also pretty valuable. Because my dad loves horses, I was looking for a horse antique. I saw a jade horse, and after some inspections, I noticed that one of the legs were broken and had to be glued back together. Mr.

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Today is Day 23 at Microcampus. I cannot believe that this is trip is almost over. It has gone by so fast. We only have a few more days left and then we go back. Today was a stressful day. I worked on the Inquiry Project. I finished my video and the reflection. I finished my introduction the other day. I am happy that this is over with now. I also worked on the story board for Service Learning.

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Today is the last Saturday of our trip. This morning, our Service Learning group went over to our Service Learning partner's house to ask her some questions. We ate lunch at her house. In the afternoon, I spent all of my time working on my video. Yesterday, I spent most of my Inquiry Project time working on my introduction. Today, I wrote the script and recorded my voice. I also worked on the video but I am not finished yet.

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Today is the last full Friday of our trip. We had our last end-of-the-week daily meeting. Today was also the last day of our SAS Essentials. We handed in our humanities, math, and science assignments. We also wrote our end of SAS Essentials report to our teachers. Next week SAS Essentials time will be spent on Service Learning. Today we also started working on our final project video, which means we had to write a script, record our voices, and put in pictures along with our voice.

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We only have one week left of Microcampus! Time has flown by so quickly, and although we did accomplish a lot, we still need more time to finish our projects. I feel like we have so much to do in the following week. Everyone in our group is pretty stressed over the amount of things we have to finish in the next week, some of them due of Sunday. Overall, the behavior of our group has improved, and our volume level is getting better. Today we also had an exciting evening activity, as we are watching Now You See Me 2. 

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Today was the start and the finish of Phase 4. All 10 of us met in Classroom 1, and Mr. T guided us through the steps of Phase 4. In Phase 4, we created a plan for our final product, and in total we had 7 different options. I chose the perspective option, in which I would compare 3 different perspectives on my topic.

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Today was the last day to finish Phase 3 of the inquiry project. Phase 3 was the longest phase, and in it we did our background research, our information from 3-5s, our information from local contacts, as well as the answers to our 10 big questions. Overall, it was a very busy day, and many of us were stressed out. I think that 1 thing I could have changed was to not go out for teacher support, as it would give me 1 extra hour to complete Phase 3.

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Today something scary happened. I saw a ghost around Yangzhuoran. Mr. T told us about that ghost. It is the Phantom of the Room Inspection! Looking suspiciously like Mr. T, the Phantom is a member of the International Room Inspection Federation. The Phantom was a room inspector for a hotel. However, after the hotel caught on fire, his face was mutated, and he had to wear a ski mask to do room inspections. They say that he now haunts Yangzhuoran. Today we met him, and I realized that his singing skills were amazing. Our room got a 3.1 out of 5, which is pretty good.

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Today our group went to find a Service Learning partner. Our group decided on Mr. Zhang the antique dealer. Yesterday we talked with him, and today we asked him to be our Service Learning partner. He agreed, and he was the perfect age to be a partner. At the age of 60, he experienced the Cultural Revolution, yet still has a clear head as he isn't too old. He is very nice, and knows a lot. I am looking forward to the Service Learning project and I hope you like our final video. 

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Today we were introduced to the Service Learning project. For the Service Learning, we find a local person who is over 70 years old. They have to not be Service Learning partners before with other people. For the project, we have to ask people about their lives in Xizhou. Today our Service Learning group walked around the village to talk to people. Most people don't want to talk to us because it is busy during the middle of the day, which is when we went out.

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Today marks the halfway point of our trip. It feels so fast, yet we also did a lot. Today we had the hike. We first drove over to the foot of the mountain, then started hiking. At some points the path was wide, but at other points the road was very narrow. Sometimes the path was steep, and we had to go really slowly. The hike took about an hour, and even though it was short, it was intense at some points. I think that even though we were supposed to camp, this short hike still helped me. Even though it was tiring physically, it helped my mental stress.

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Recently our group has been dropping the ball. Constantly. We have been ignoring Mr. T's instructions. The only way we follow his instructions is if he raises his voice. This has to stop, and every knows it. Thats why yesterday night we got together and discussed the expectations and what we have to do. I personally believe that we called our group Revival for a reason. I believe that we are now at the bottom, but we can revive, and we can go back up. This trip is not over yet. This experience is not over yet. I believe, as well as everyone else, that from now on we have to try our best.

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Today we are one day closer to the hike, which is something that we are all looking forward to. The hike is the physically the hardest part of Microcampus, but it is also one of the most fun parts. I personally am very excited for this trip, as I have never gone camping overnight before. However, I am also very worried, because I might not know what to do. Overall, I am still looking forward to the hike and getting exercise and good photos. 

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Today Mr. T showed us a magic trick. He had a "connection" with a 1 RMB bill, and he went outside of Yangzhuoran. We hid the 1 RMB bill in 1 person's pocket, and he was able to find out who it was, three times in a row. It was really cool, and we were all really surprised. I have no idea how he did it. The second time I went out with him to watch him, and he did no cheating whatsoever. He just touched a brick with 3 fingers. I think that either he heard us, or that he can figure it out using psychology. Every single time the person with the bill did something to attract themselves.

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Tonight we had Mr. T's all-star whiz-bang super-duper trivia. Our team was called the pink fluffy unicorns, and I think we did pretty well. For trivia night, there were 7 categories, and for each of the categories there were 5 different questions with different point values. For the first round, the point values were 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. At the end of the first round, our team was in the lead. For the second round, the point values were 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. After the second round, another team was in the lead.

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Today was the second day of the weekend. Because today was about the same schedule as yesterday, I would like to talk about the food at Xizhou. The place with the most food in Xizhou is Sifang Jie. One of the special foods in Xizhou is the baba. There are two kinds: sweet and salty.

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Already 1 week of Microcampus has passed, and it feels really quick. Today we had our first weekend, meaning that we could sleep in and get more sleep than usual. After breakfast, we had a history lesson on the past 150 years of China and discussed the Qing dynasty, Mao Zedong and the CCP, as well as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. It was a really interesting history lesson, as I got to look at events that I know from a different perspective.

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Today we had our field trip. Half of us went to Zoucheng to see the tie-dye factories, and the other half went to see the wind farm. I was the part of the group that went to see the wind farm. First, we dropped off the people that were going to Zoucheng. Then, we continued up the Cangshan Mountains. At first, the windmills were small, but as we got closer, they got larger and larger. There was a Microcampus tradition for the trip to the wind farm: You cannot look at the windmill until you get right under it.

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Today was a normal day, so I'm going to talk about wellness. The first time we did wellness, we biked to lake Erhai, but when we came back, we realized that biking wasn't going to give us enough time in zone. The next day, we ran to the Linden Centre and did some jump-roping, but for me, I didn't get enough time in zone. Today, we went over to a playground, where we did some sprints, and I realized that doing jumping jacks was the only thing that could keep me constantly getting time in zone.

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Today was another normal day, so I'm going to talk about what I did during pitching in for my committee. I am a member of the food committee, and so because we are designing the food menu, the people in my committee had to go to the market to see what fruits were available. When we walked over to the market, even though it was only around 11:15, it was already very busy. Of course, there were the vendors, hurrying around to prepare their stalls.

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Today was the first normal day of Microcampus. In the morning, I had to do my laundry, followed by the SAS essentials. We had our daily meeting, and I was out for lunch today. Our group went to eat some wontons, as well as some spicy potatoes. In the afternoon, we had our first wellness time. Our group biked over to Lake Erhai following the route that we learned yesterday. The most memorable moment today was still time.

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Today was the day that we started learning the process for the "normal" days. For example, today was the first day that half of us were "in" for lunch and half of us were "out" for lunch. In the morning, we had our first daily meeting, where we learned how it worked. Then, we started on our committee work. In the afternoon, we reviewed how to use the heart rate monitors. I was one of the kids going "out" for dinner, and again our group had tafel fried rice. The most memorable moment of the day was the bike ride.

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Today we started exploring Xizhou. First, we started out in Yangzhuoran, which is our home for the next 27 days. We toured the common areas. Then, we headed out to the village, where we walked around Ranyi Alley and Sifang Street. We had lunch at Sifang Street, and I tried the tafel fried rice, which was amazing. After lunch, we had to walk home by ourselves with our group. Even though we kind of got lost, we still got back in the end. We also talked about the laundry and other basic things.

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Today we finally arrived at our destination: Xizhou. It was a very tiring day, as we woke up at 4:30 to make the 5:45 meeting time at the Hongqiao airport. Our plane was delayed by 20 minutes, but it was still ok. We were chatting with the people around us, reading, sleeping, or watching movies during the ride. After 4 hours, we finally touched down at Dali airport, where we had to have another 1-hour bus ride to arrive at Yangzhuoran, our home for 28 days.

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Hi everybody! My name is Kevin Gu, and I'm an 8th grader at Shanghai American School Pudong. I was a member of the Revival Microcampus group. I was born in Virginia, but moved to Hong Kong when I was 6 months old. 4 years later, our family moved to Shanghai, which is where we live now. Some of my hobbies are tennis, reading, and playing the trumpet. I have left Xizhou, and it was a great village. Microcampus was a great experience and it helped me a lot.