Eirean C. (Alumni-F)'s Journal

I came to Microcampus to experience something new and become a little more independent. I also heard from alumni that Microcapus was a great experience and a really fun program. I'll admit, going in I didn't expect it to be as much work as it was and at certain points I got stressed since I can be disorganized from time to time. I came to Microcampus to meet new people and to learn more, not just my topic, but also myself. I feel like since coming here I have changed for the better.

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Our partner couldn't make it to the presentation on Wednesday, but we showed her our video today after lunch. Showing our Service Learning partner our video was really interesting and made me feel like I was really doing something for her. Although our partner, Hong Nai Nai, was hesitant to let us film her and share her story, she seemed really excited to watch the video. While watching it, she looked almost as if she was about to cry.

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Today was our Service Learning presentation! Our Service Learning partner wasn't able to attend our presentation because she was attending a funeral of one of her neighbours, but we're hoping to visit her to show our video to her tomorrow. Tonight, the students who have finished their inquiry work are going to Dali Old Town for lunch and evening activity. Tomorrow our evening is the Jammies, which I am really excited about.

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Today I finished my Final Product, which I've been working on since Friday. I can't believe that our Inquiry work is finished! I feel like I should still be going out to talk to people. I made a video about my journey and how my feelings/opinions towards my topic and Liberation has changed. All I really did today was work on my final product of my inquiry project and continue working on service learning.

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Today was a pretty average day but instead of having SAS Essentials we had time for Inquiry Work. I've started to film and edit my final project and I've also been working on Service Learning. It was the first time that it rained here at Microcampus. I wasn't pouring, it was more like a constant drizzle with the sun out. The sky was cloudy and gray today, which made me think about Shanghai. Personally, I like walking when its drizzling, so I found excuses to walk into the courtyard.

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Today the guys refused to tell us what they did last night during breakfast and they all came in with band-aids on their necks. It was sort of funny because they were pretending that they'd been in fights and that they had cuts or something that needed to heal.  Other than that, nothing really happened today, we continued filming our Service Learning partner (she sang a song for us today) and I continued to work on my Inquiry Project. Mrs. Mai made spring rolls for us at dinnertime today and they were amazing!

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Today we finally convinced Hong Nai Nai to be our Service Learning partner! I'm so relieved and happy! Our group has been stressed out for a while since the people we've talked to have been uncomfortable with being filmed or asked questions. We showed her a video of one of her friends doing Service Learning and it convinced her to do it too! She's a really kind lady and I'm glad she's our partner. Today the guys had a Bros Night Out, so us girls decided to have a Girls Night In.

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Today has been relatively stressful. As you may or may not know, part of Microcampus is Service Learning. Service Learning is where we make a video about an elder's life. My group has been struggling to find a person who is willing to be our Service Learning partner. I guess that we should have started making connections earlier in the trip, but one lady who would thought would be willing to participate in our Service Learning project ended up not wanting to be a Service Learning partner. I completely forgot it was Valentine's Day today!

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Today was pretty average for a Microcampus day. I started off with breakfast and SAS Essentials, but towards the middle of WIPPIT time we started Phase 4 so we could plan our final project. I guess I'm kind of stressed out by the work, since I get stressed easily. What I've found is that learning outside the bubble is really different from learning inside the bubble.

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Today we went to Old Dali Town for dinner. On the bus ride we had a talk about what to do in a tourist area, in order to keep us and our belongings safe. It was really interesting going there because there many tourists (something that I haven't seen in a while). I got to eat pizza and a milkshake, things I haven't had in the longest time since Xizhou doesn't really have Western food. Not that I don't like Chinese food, but once in a while I wish I had something else. We got to walk around a bit and I even got to try Mr.

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Article 16: The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society. In the book I'm reading, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, and it talks about an average girl, Lily, in nineteenth-century China and her journey through life with her laotong, or old same named Snow Flower. Very early on in the book you learn that daughters are raised purely to be married out of the family. At the beginning of the book Lily expresses her struggle to be noticed by her parents and to feel loved by her mother.

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Today is the start of our third week! I can't believe that I am so far into the Microcampus trip, I feel like the time has just flown by. Today we had to transition from our hiking trip into an average Microcampus day. I don't know if I've ever been so grateful for indoor heating, hot water, and warm beds. It is nice being able to shower after waking up and before going to bed, and it's even nicer not having to carry a heavy hiking bag for most of the day.

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Today we slept in and started to hike down the mountain. The day started late so we'd get time to sleep in, so we ate brunch in the late morning, and started putting down and packing up our little tent city. On the hike down, we waved at the cable cars that were going down the mountain, which I thought was pretty funny. I have to say that the majority of the hike down flew by since I had a long conversation with the people around me about my favorite TV shows and movies when I was younger.

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I found that today was a little easier than yesterday. Today we left the temple, reached to the top of the mountain, and went back down to the temple. We started the day early at 7 to take down tents, eat breakfast, have terrace time, and get ready for the next part of our hike.

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Today was the first day of the three day hike. Today's goal was getting to the temple and setting up our tents there. This meant that we were going upwards for the majority of our hiking today. The trail was pretty steep and there were a lot of pine needles coated in sap on the ground. I realized that having a positive attitude during the hike is incredibly important. I got tired pretty early into the hike, and think that the one of the only things that could have made that situation worse was if I was being really negative. After setting up our tents, Mr.

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At first I found it rather hard to compare life in The Giver to life in Xizhou, but then I thought about how people in Jonas' community are extremely careful with their words. Here in Xizhou, many of the adults have lived through difficult times in China's history. My inquiry project is about how Liberation impacted Xizhou, so when I interview locals I usually ask about their opinions on Mao and his policies. What I've found is that many of the adults and elders are afraid to share their opinions about Mao out loud or in front of others.

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Today was pretty average, For Pitching In I helped out with checking up on all the tents and seperating bent stakes from straight stakes (there were twenty three bent stakes in total). For lunch, I ate some delicious rice tacos from a street vendor. She was really nice to us and we tried to teach her some English phrases. During WIPPIT time I went and talked to Mr. Yang the former accountant and self-taught lawyer. He's 94 years old and was about 30 yrs old when Liberation happened.

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Today was pretty regular day here at Microcampus. Every weekday we start off by eating a delicious breakfast in the Linden Centre dining room at 7:30 sharp. We have a tradition of saying goodmorning to every Microcampus member the first time we see them each day. After breakfast at 8:30 we have SAS Essentials, in which we do math, science, and humanities work assigned by our teachers back in Shanghai.

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It is officially our second week at Microcampus! One of the things I remember hearing during the Microcampus presentation was that one of the goals of Microcampus was popping the Shanghai bubble and experiencing this side of China. After hearing about what some of the elderly people have gone through, I really respect them for being able to live through such difficult times and still be able to keep a positive outlook on life instead of being bitter.

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I started off the day by packing up our tents and biking back from the tongue of the Lake to the Linden Centre. After having a late breakfast, I started on Wellness Reflections, where I basically reflect on how I've been keeping up with our physical, emotional, and social wellness for the week. I had lunch at Shifangjie where they were holding the first Xizhou Baba Festival. There, I was able to make my own baba! Although mine didn't taste nearly as good as the classic sweet and salty baba, I still had a lot of fun making it.

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The day started off with dragon dancing in the Linden Centre's courtyards! They lit off firecrackers outside the entrance, and then women came in to dance with a hand painted dragon. We started Service Learning with an interesting 3-hour talk from Mr. T about China's history so that we'd have a better understanding of the elder's lives. Afterwards we went out into the village to try to make connections.

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This morning I went up to the Terrace to see stars and watch the International Space Station pass over us. I was amazing watching the flyover and learning more about the stars. Afterwards we went into the Town Square to see the Chinese New Year festivities. For lunch, I ate at the Golden Flower for the first time! The food was amazing and I'll definitely be going back soon.

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Right now I'm watching fireworks explode all around the Terrace. Everyone is celebrating Chinese New Year's Eve, and it's really amazing. You can see the villages near Lake Erhai and the villages near the mountains setting off their fireworks at the same time. There's all different kinds of fireworks and flares going off right now. I can hear children yelling and laughing in the village. Mr. T just told us that we're the first Microcampus group to be here during Chinese New Year and see the festivities.

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We did a ton of stuff today but I think the most memorable things I did today was the 2 hour bike ride. We biked out of Xizhou, by Lake Erhai, and into a place called Renli. When we visited Renli we saw a lot of street vendors and even a cruise ship! Mr. T pointed out how in Renli, which is a tourist area, that the "traditional"clothing that is shown in advertisements was worn by tourist guides in the area.

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When you search for images of Bai people on Google, you come up with girls wearing colorful clothing and fancy headdresses, but the people here in Xizhou aren’t like that. In fact, I haven’t seen the type of clothing anywhere on my way to Xizhou. A few days back we were  looking at tie dyed textiles and we saw textiles with designs of women in bright colored clothing and even some with topless women. I found it shocking that this was how the Bai culture was represented.

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Before breakfast today, I visited the Terrace to see the stars and the beginning of the sunrise. Afterwards we had our first Daily Meeting in which we learned more about our committees and responsiblities.

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I went out onto the Terrace for the first time today during free time. It was so quiet and peaceful, which was nothing like the busy downtown of Shanghai. I've never taken time to just sit still and listen for a while, and now I think I should do so more often. A little later, we left the Linden Centre to go into town. I got to see the most dangerous intersection in Xizhou, the morning market, Shifangjie, the bank, and a lot of other places.

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We've finally arrived in Xizhou after a long day of travel. I woke up at 3:45 and since then I have been on a 3-hour flight and 7-hour bus ride. We are finally settled into our rooms, and honestly all I want to do is sleep. I don't think it has settled in that I am going to be living in Xizhou for a month, but I'm still really excited about this whole Microcampus experience. It was hard to leave my family behind, but I have a feeling I'm going to really enjoy this coming month.

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I went to the Microcampus lock-in on Friday. Our group, Fearless, finally got to meet Mr. T and Mrs. Mai in person! I learned more about the trip and my fellow group members. We talked about the aims of the Microcampus experience and how to keep physically and emotionally well. As a group, we decided that for dinner we'd eat Papa John's pizza but when the pizza arrived we found that they got our order wrong and gave us 2 pizzas instead of 9.

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Hey! I'm Eirean and I just turned 13 last November. I was born in Hong Kong and lived in Guangzhou until I was 7 years old. I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where I lived for five years before moving to Shanghai. This is my first year in SAS and so far it's been pretty great. I have five people in my family: my mom, dad, older sister, older brother, and I. I love music, books, food, and sleep. I was so lucky to live in Xizhou, even if it was only for a month. It was a lovely place with spectacular scenery and wonderful people. I don't think I could ever forget the things I experienced or the people I met while living in there. I honestly hope that I left a positive impact on Xizhou, because Xizhou definitely left a positive impact on me.