Barton C. (Alumni-S)'s Journal

When I first got to know this program, I have no clue about what this is. Now, as a Microcampus veteran and the recipient of a team-high 7 Jammy Awards, this is a letter of advice to my "younger self."

Dear Younger Barton,

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Before we depart from Xizhou, I would like to thank some people for making this experience possible.

First and foremost is my family, my parents, and just any family member. Thank you for always being there and supporting me 24/7. You Thanks to you for following up on my project. 

I would like to thank Mr. Tafel and Ms. Mai for making this program possible and making sure we are on the right track at the start and all the mentorship they have given us on our projects and life as a whole. 

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I think this was a great experience to give thanks and to express our gratitude to this community. As I said, this is a place I would want to come back to and renew old connections and know new acquaintances. It was awesome to see the smile on her face. Our lives look outlandishly different on the outside, however, we are the same people. We value the same qualities in others, for example, honesty and perserverance. It was great to share our exhilarating experience with close friends.

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Today we put the finishing touches on our Service Learning Project. I am very thankful for Yang nai nai and our the village our Xizhou for presenting us with a life changing 28 days. In all honesty, this is one of the best months mo my life. I would like to say thank you to all who made this experience possible!

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Today I worked on my Service Learning project and I worked on the subtitles portion. It took a long time but it was very satisfying once I was done. Sometimes it was hard to understand what Yang Nainai said but I gave my 110% and some I had to put [inaudible]. Overall, it was good work. I have high hopes about our Service Learning video and a great showcase. 

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Today we worked on our Inquiry Project and worked on finishing up our project. I received advice on how to chance my project from Mr. T's Pearls of Wisdom. Overall, I think I am doing well and just keep on what I'm doing. 

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Today we focused our energy to finish our Inquiry Project work. For me personally, there are some small details that I would like to go through with Mr. T at "Pearls of Wisdom" tomorrow to see what works best. I think I need to do some fine tuning with the sound and I'm otherwise ready for tomorrow! Another step closer to the Hall, I suppose. This is better than China Alive in so many aspects. Please, don't get me wrong. But Microcampus let's us settle in with the culture more, we ACTUALLY make a POSITIVE impact.

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This journal entry is to connect the psychology concept I took notes on to the Xizhou community. The concept I chose is stress and coping. From my talks with the locals here in Xizhou, most people live a very happy life. Xizhou is not some rural and obscured village where most people live under the poverty line. It was a thriving town pivotal to the growth of the Tea Horse Trail and now, a popular tourist destination as well as a tranquil town next to Lake Erhai. Most people here live a very happy life, owning a restaurant or a boutique.

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Today Phase 4 was due and field research has wrapped up for us. I feel very accomplished today for giving my absolute 100% as always and I hope to have fun in Dali Old Town tonight.

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Today we will end the field research and all Phase 3 work. I look to finish my final follow-up conversation and add some pictures of my chat with my contacts. I am just putting finishing touches on Phase 3 and I wish to start Phase 4 as soon as possible. I feel that I have a strong project so far and I will continue to build on that. We have a trip to Dali Old Town coming up, and I think I would be ready because I will be finished with all my work, hopefully more than that. 

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So today I have Inquiry Project Time coming up and my goal is to talk to some shop owners, and if possible, do a follow-up conversation with Mr. Su, an antique shop owner, to add to my Phase 3 information section about him. I plan to add some information based on my Hangers and Hooks talk with Mr. Tafel. Overall, I feel great about where my project is right now and I will definitely be ready when we wrap up the final bits and pieces of field research tomorrow.

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So we are entering week 3, time flies. And I have never been feeling stronger about my Inquiry Project. Today I had my walk and talk with Mr. T in order to make sure I am in the directions and get some pointers about finishing up my field research which is going great for me so far. I will not be talking to teachers but I will be talking to more shop owners about the Flying Tigers. I made this decision because Mr. T pointed out that teachers often say what they are supposed to say but not what they want to say. It kept my project on track essentially.

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Today we returned from the campsite in the morning. My group and I spent time making connections in order to assist us with my Service Learning project. We found our contact today and I feel really great about where we are and where we can go. This is a weekend that will be about rest and recovery from the 5-day grinds. I plan on making some phone calls and arrangements for my Inquiry Project. I plan to rest and start the new week giving all I can give. Half of this trip has passed already, so it should be put as a priority to give my best and trust the process.

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Today (Day 14), we went on a hiking and camping trip. That gave us a break from the Inquiry Project. The skies were very beautiful. Although it was an overcast day and there weren't any stars that we could see, the sky had the most splendid shade of orange. Actually, I have to say, the Inquiry Project is like a baseball game. There are punctuated moments of excitement and there are the three ball, zero strikes counts. It's one going to work if the process is followed accurately and thoroughly. So far, as for my Inquiry Project, it is going very great for me.

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Today I talked with some older people in Xizhou around Sifangjie to see what they know about the Flying Tigers. I'm not gathering information, but I'm getting a sense of how this piece of history is being passed down. When the next week starts, I plan to talk to the teachers in the school. Today is again a pretty normal day. I look forward to finishing up field research and synthesizing the information I have gathered with "hooks and hangers." It will be fun! We do have a hike and camping trip tomorrow! I will keep all of you posted on that.

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Today I went for another bike ride with Nolan to Lake Erhai. Again, it was very peaceful and tranquil there. My inquiry project is again on wheels again. I feel like by adjusting my project to focus more on preserving the Flying Tigers history. I made this adjustment because there aren't many people that actually remember the Flying Tigers and I can interact with schoolteachers and everyday people to see how this period in history has been passed down through generation.

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Today I combined Wellness and Still Time so we could have a longer outing, Nicole and me, we biked down to Lake Erhai and I sat right next to the lake on a rock for Still Time. It was very relaxing listening to the water brushing against the rocks and to see the algae waving about in the limpid water. Although I prefer Wellness and Still Time in the middle of the schedule, so it can function as a break, one benefit of having it first is that it readies me for Pitching In work and Inquiry Project work. 

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The one very special thing about Microcampus is that there is ample opportunity to make connections. There are many nice people here in Xizhou. For example, the first real connection I've made was Mr. Zhang, whom everyone refers to by Lao Mao. He sells antiques near the Linden Centre and is a very nice guy. He always smiles and is always very welcoming. I really like how the people in this village are very honest and warm. The Xizhou community is a very tight community. It's this kind of community that we need. The kind of community one needs to succeed.

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Today marks the start of a new week. My goal for this week is to stay dialed in and always roll out as many backup plans as possible. I would also like to stay healthy and ready. I have filled out all the slots in my Schedule Planner already. I know every single Microcampus alumni emphasizes that time flies. The first time you realize how fast time flies here is when you are actually here, mentally and physically. Our time here is very precious and the priority should be put on making connections with the community.

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Today marks our first weekend here in Xizhou. Mr. Tafel gave us a very amusing lecture of recent Chinese history, 150 years and 150 minutes. This is to put the information our service learning project partner gives us into context. For service learning time today, I talked to Mr. Wang in the antique shop. He was very willing to talk to us and looks forward to working with us further. I think that it is pretty cool to make connections with locals. It's all great fun and a unique opportunity as well.

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I really thought the wheels of my project were falling off yesterday. Today I will meet with Mr. Linden for the first time and I will be looking forward to knowing some more contacts as well as acquiring more information on my topic. The Lindens are very nice people and I look forward to developing meaningful ties with them. Next Inquiry Project session, I look to connect with Mr. Zhao, who lives on a former Flying Tigers site.

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Today I realized the importance of having backup plans in Microcampus. This is because you will use them all. ALL. So today I planned to talk to Mr. Linden, but he was not available, so I tried to find Mr. Zhao, another contact but we could not find him. And so I went to the Linden Centre and asked Mr. Yun about some locations and people he may know. In the morning meeting, it hit me that the SAS community is ruining our schools image outside of our campus. Despite of the measures our school takes to make sure we do not make a negative impact, many are still being made.

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Today we had our first WIPPIS day, and everything is more in rhythm. I did my laundry for the first time in Microcampus today. Through planning laundry and everything, I recognized what it take to live as a team. We are a team, not a collection of individuals. Microcampus has already changed the way I look at the world. I am now more comfortable talking to new people and more open to new experiences. 

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Today we spent some time getting ourselves familiar with our surroundings. We saw the market and got to know the local life by visiting a factory where various local rice products are created. Emergency norms were established and I knew how to get to certain places in Xizhou, such as the town square named Sifangjie. We attached ourselves to the local culture by visiting a rapeseed oil maker and visiting a local market, and asking questions about daily life and how the market works.

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It's definitely a great honor to be chosen for Group S. Microcampus is a place in which I desire to learn more about the topics I am passionate about. I will use this time effectively to connect with the Xizhou culture. All projects are challenging and the only way to succeed is to move forward. My goal of this Microcampus trip is to learn more about the impact of the Flying Tigers in Xizhou and create something worthy of the Microcampus Hall of Fame. As I stated in my About Me, everything is an adventure and a goal and it is our job to fulfill it. 

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Hi there! My name is Barton C. I am an alumni of the Superior Group (1703). I had the time of my life in Xizhou during the Microcampus program. I am a die hard fan of the Detroit Tigers as well as a single-engine pilot. I would like to give special thanks to Mr. Tafel, Ms. Mai, my family, SAS teachers, administrators, my teammates, and of course Sofie, for making the trip so memorable. My project focused on the preservation of the Flying Tigers' history in Xizhou. If you are interested in a project regarding the Flying Tigers or aviation, you may reach me via Skype (bartonisawesome), email (barton01px2021@sasstudent.org), and Twitter (@therealBartonC).