Debbie S. (Alumni-T)'s Journal

I first discovered Microcampus from flipping through the pages of my sister's yearbook. I started reading the description and was very confused. What do they mean by "the bubble", and why are they skipping school for a month to go to a village in Yunnan? My thoughts about Microcampus vanished during my sixth and seventh grade years, but I occasionally heard information about it from my classmates' older siblings.

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Today was our last full day of Microcampus. We spent most of the day doing a final wrap up things, such as checking through our inquiry projects and saying goodbyes. Mia and I visited (and bought some rose buns) from Ms. He, and I was really sad to say goodbye to her. We also said goodbye to Mr. Yang, but he was not there so we asked his wife to pass on the message. Afterward, we went with Audrey to drink and chat with Mr. Huang, the owner of a tea shop.

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When the day finally arrived, I was nervous for multiple reasons. We were not sure if Mr. Yang would be able to come, because according to his family members he was not feeling too great. We later learned that he was battling a very serious disease and has low blood pressure. In the morning, my service learning group and I went to Mr. Yang's house to give him a gift, a box of tea.

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Today was quite interesting. We finished pretty much the whole video yesterday, but the subtitles kept on erasing. We ended up redoing our whole video, transferring everything from Mia's computer to mine. We were under a lot of stress and pressure because we had to redo the video in less than an hour, while it took us 4+ hours to complete it. Everybody was cranky and feeling pretty bad, but we still pulled through in the end. We got our feedback from Ms.

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After gathering and sorting through all the footage, we were ready to start putting together all our pieces. Marco and I started working on the subtitles (I did English, he did Chinese). It was actually a lot more challenging than I thought because there were a lot of times where we could not understand a word or phrase. We ended up asking Mr. Zhao for some help, and he was very nice and helped us a lot. In the beginning, we felt like it would take forever, but once we started doing it, we could see the end.

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Today, I met with Mr. T and showed him my final product for some pearls of wisdom. Mr. T gave me really good feedback, which I wrote down on a sheet of paper. There were some things I had to fix, but overall it was pretty good. In the afternoon, my service learning group and I went to Mr. Yang, our service learning partner's house. He was extremely welcoming and nice, as usual. We finished all our filming and thanked him repeatedly for helping us. He answered all of our questions with ease and made a lot of jokes.

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Today, my service learning group and I went out in the afternoon to find Gao 奶奶. We remembered where her house was, so we went up there and knocked on her door. It took a few tries, but she eventually opened up the door. We asked her if we could talk to her, but she politely declined. We all realized that she didn't really want to do it, so we decided to find somebody else. We ran into the owner of the rose buns shop that both Mia and I know very well.

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Today, I continued to work on my final product. I put some finishing touches on my script and then did my voiceovers. Doing voiceovers was actually a lot harder than I expected, but I still got through it. Mia, Marco and I went out to Chengdong to do service learning and wellness. We weren't able to see Gao 奶奶, because according to the other family she had to leave to do some errands. After, we started working on wellness.

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Today, we started and finished our Phase 4 work! We are officially done with field work and we now have to focus on our service learning videos and our final product. This week is also our final week of SAS Essentials, and we're all done with most of the work assigned to us. The only one left is science, which is pretty straightforward to do.

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Today's weather was still pretty rainy and cold. It was really hard to crawl out of my warm covers and into the frigid air. During lunch, we went to a small restaurant (in the direction of the Linden Center). I tried a new dish, called rou jia mo. It was basically minced up meat in a Xizhou Baba like bread. It was really hot and it was extremely delicious. After lunch, we got some lemon popcicles and rose buns which were both extremely delicious. I was so stuffed by the end of it, but it was an amazing experience. In the afternoon, I organized my Phase 3 and headed out to Mr.

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Today began the first day of our third week. We started off our day early, waking up at 6:30 to do our laundry. I am not exactly a morning person, so it took me a pretty long time wake up. Today was a rainy day (similar to the weather in Shanghai) and it was freezing. I could not wear my sweatpants because they were in the wash, and I did not want to put on jeans, so I decided to go out in my fashionable P.E shorts.

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Today was a pretty chill day. I slept in until 8:30 (which felt amazing, by the way) and ate a hearty breakfast. We did our wellness reflection, a quick check in, and went off to lunch. In the afternoon, Marco, Mia and I went over to Chengdong, the village right next to ours to look for potential Service Learning partners. We ended meeting a man that Mia had seen before, called Mr. Yang.

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Yesterday, we had our hike and camped at the organic farm overnight. The hike was really challenging for me, but I actually thought it was really fun. My favorite part of the hike was probably going uphill, and walking along the Jade Belt. It was really cool to see the view open up since there were not any trees blocking the view. However, going downhill was probably the worst part. I felt like I was tumbling off the mountain, instead of gracefully walking down. In the end, we all made it in one piece, which was a huge relief.

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Today was a sad day. Mr. Kendall left for the airport during SAS Essentials time, so we stood in the courtyard to say goodbye. I was sad to see him go. Today's weather was quite similar to Shanghai's weather, which meant cloudy skies and lots of layers. We were all freezing during our SAS Essentials (and complaining a lot). The daily meeting was okay, Mr. T started keeping track of our starting words. It was funny to hear everyone's starting words and we laughed at some of them.

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Today was a fairly normal day. We had our daily meetings, did our pitching in, and laundry. For my wellness, Audrey and I walked in the direction of the morning market and stopped by the road to chill (sort of like yesterday). She did watercolor, while I read my book. However, I was dying because there were a lot of butterflies and bees (I am extremely scared of butterflies and bees) so we decided to move towards the ficus tree between Xizhou and Chengdong. For my inquiry work, Ms. Song and I went to Mr.

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Today, I went biking with Audrey to a nearby village. I am not sure what the village is called, but it was surrounded by fields and it was really pretty. We decided to stop by at the edge of the road to do some mental wellness. Audrey did watercolor, while I read from my book. Lots of people stared at us and it was pretty funny. It reminded me of the time when Mia and I stopped by the edge of the road to do exercises.

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Today was a really cool day. I went to a Ba Mu Shi, a temple that is on the edge of Lake Erhai. Ba Mu Si was a temple completely different from any of the other temples I have seen in Xizhou. Most of the other temples in Xizhou felt lively and full of energy, while Ba Mu Shi seemed rather empty. There was nobody except for Mr. T, the caretaker of the temple, and I. The temple still had some traces of the Cultural Revolution- Mr. T and I found a lot of communal cooking pots near the back of the temple. I saw a lot of major gods such as Guan Yin, and also Cai Shei Lao Ye.

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Today was a really good day. I had a really successful inquiry session, and I also got a lot of TZ (time in zone) during my wellness! For my inquiry work, I was planning to go with Ms. Mai to the Linden Center to ask some of the staff there for information. When we got there, Ms. Mai advised me to go to the receptionist first and ask some questions. However, the receptionist was not a local, so she offered to take me some of the staff that were born and raised in Xizhou.

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Today was really laid back, like yesterday. We had lots of downtime, so Audrey and I went to Chengdong, a nearby village with a giant ficus tree. We brought a ukelele and a guitarlele (a mix between a guitar and a ukelele) and headed off to Chengdong. Today's weather was not good, so we brought along our rain jackets. It was really cool to play under the ficus tree, because there were not any people around. Later on, it started raining a bit, so we decided to put our instruments away and read for a little bit.

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Today was definitely a change of pace. Our breakfast was later, which gave us a chance to sleep in if we wanted to. I woke up bright and early, reading until I was hungry for breakfast. Today, the whole atmosphere was a lot more "chill". There were no SAS Essentials, daily meetings, or inquiry work. Instead, we had a fun history lecture about Chinese history by Mr. T (150 years in 150 minutes). It ended up being really interesting because I knew bits and pieces of the history but not the whole thing. In the afternoon, we headed out to search for potential Service Learning partners.

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Today, we had the opportunity to choose between two places for our half day trip: the wind farm and the tie dye factory. We chose the wind farm because the students from the previous Pudong trip all advised us to go. The ride to the wind farm was a pretty short one- lasting for around 30 minutes. When we were approaching our destination, Mr. T told us to keep our head down until we got there. We had no idea how big the wind turbines actually were, so when we stood underneath one, I was amazed.

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Today, I went to Mr. Du's house for inquiry work. Mr. Du is an antique dealer, storing countless antiques in his home. When Mr. T and I first walked up to his home, we were welcomed with the sound of ducks quacking and a dog barking. He quickly ushered us into his courtyard, full of energy. Mr. Du also told me many interesting stories and legends, which was really cool. Afterward, he led us up the staircase to see his antiques and old pottery.

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Today was another one of those standard days, but we did our first load of laundry today! We carried our loads in garbage bags (very fancy) and headed down to the laundry courtyard. We did not really know where to put the laundry detergent, so we winged it and dumped it directly into the washing machine and hoped for the best. After breakfast (which was delicious as always) we continued on our normal schedule- SAS Essentials, pitching in, and more.

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Today was a relatively average day- it was our first real "work" day. We got our first taste of what a normal day in Microcampus would be like. In the afternoon, we were occupied with WIPPIS (Wellness, Inquiry Project, Pitching In, and Still Time). I decided to go play the guitar in the courtyard during my wellness period, which was really calming and peaceful. For our still time, Jason, Marco, and I decided to go out into the village to spend our still time.

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We started the day off as usual- eating a quick breakfast consisting of some toast and er si, and then moved onto our first SAS Essentials session. The rest of the morning was pretty basic, daily meetings and pitching in. One of the highlights was probably doing our 3-to-5s, because it gave us our first "taste" of what it would be like talking to other adults in Xizhou. I felt pretty comfortable talking to the experts, which is a pretty good sign.

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After waking up, we were welcomed with blue skies and puffy clouds. We ate a quick breakfast, and then headed on out to explore the village. One of the highlights of the tour was probably visiting the place where they made all the er si, which is basically a type of noodle that is native to Xizhou. Apparently, the er si is made from grinding the rice into a dough and then pushing it through a machine that makes it into a noodle.

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We left for Xizhou bright and early, leaving Shanghai's gray skies behind us. After a bumpy plane ride and a one hour bus ride, we arrived at our destination at around early afternoon. One of the highlights of today was probably playing around with the instruments in the practice room and the journey from our drop-off point to the Yangzhouran. It was really cool to see a completely new and different environment, and how the locals interacted with each other. I spent two hours in the practice room playing with the guitars/banjos and the piano, which was really fun.

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Hello! My name is Debbie S. and I am 13 years old. I am Taiwanese and I love swimming and roller coasters. Applying for Microcampus was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made, and it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Even though the experience only lasted for four weeks, the memories will stay with me forever.