Kelly W. (Alumni-H)'s Journal

Today was our last day in the wonderful Xizhou. At one o'clock, my service learning group and I went to say our goodbyes to Mr Yan. He gave us a lot of life advice, telling us to take care and look after ourselves, and that our parents will be so happy when we arrive back home. He enjoyed our final video and said it was the first time in his whole life he was involved in or knew about something like Microcampus. As we said our goodbyes, Mr Yan told us to visit him if we ever came back to Xizhou. I'm hoping I will be able to.

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Before arriving in Xizhou, I was extremely reluctant and nervous about coming here. I thought, wow, I have so many opportunities with school and sports, but that slowly turned to excitement. When the Dynamite first came back from their trip, all they would talk about was Microcampus and how great everything was, and I wanted to apply for the next trips so I could experience it myself. I wanted to take a break from normal schoolwork and learn in a different way surrounded by different people and a different environment. 

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For the sharing of our final video, I was quite nervous because I did not know how Mr Yan was going to react. Our video had been polished and the final touches had been added, but I was less concerned about the video and instead eager to see everyone's reactions. Nina, Brandon, and I went to go pick up Mr Yan and walked back with Hugh and Maggie's group, along with their service learning partner. That was the point when I got more excited about showing our final videos. 
 
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In the morning and the afternoon, all of us were working on our Service Learning videos, as we are presenting them tomorrow. Brandon translated the whole video, while Nina and I wrote the biography of Mr Yan. We visited him after lunch to confirm whether or not he was coming to the presentation, and he said he would if he was feeling well. In the afternoon, I went biking again to Erhai with Kyra, Niko, and Nina. Thankfully, I brought my camera this time and took a lot of pictures. We had a short terrace time in a nice, shaded area that overlooked Erhai. 

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Today was the last laundry session for Jess and I. It went surprisingly fast and we were able to head straight to lunch at the Golden Flower afterwards. In the afternoon, we finished up our inquiry projects and had the final review with Mr T. I received helpful feedback and was able to edit my video, re-record my voiceovers, and export and upload it to the server in a short period of time.

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Today at 12:50 my work group and I departed for our service learning appointment with Mr Yan. We already visited him yesterday, and interviewed him using the questions Mr T provided us with to guide the conversation. Today we had a few questions prepared (thanks to Nina and Brandon) and we had a very nice interview/conversation with Mr Yan. We ended up talking about kind of what he wanted and wants for his kids. Mr Yan told us that his grandson is about our age, and the three of us remind him of his grandson.

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While I was working on my inquiry project today, I had an aha moment. I realised that my "hangers and hooks" were too factual and were less about my journey here in Xizhou. Mr T had said earlier on that it would be better if our final products were more about our journey than the facts. Our journey should be shown with the help of our facts, not the other way around.

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Finally, with the help of Mr Yan, we were introduced to Mr Yan for service learning. Two different people, although when we first arrived and didn't see him, we thought he had introduced us to himself... Thankfully that was not the case and we met a very friendly man called Mr Yan, who agreed to meet us again tomorrow. At 545, we confirmed with Mr T that he hadn't already been a service learning partner. After we left the compound, we exploded with joy and jumped around with excitement because we finally found a service learning partner.

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After lunch during inquiry time, everyone met at the conference room to start and finish our Phase 4, which is where we plan and make an outline of our final project. 

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Streets of Dali Old Town

After being rejected by yet another potential service learning partner, Brandon, Nina, and I came back to see the rest of Hailstorm in the main courtyard, which meant we were going to Dali Old Town. We ran to our rooms to get our laptops and other things for the trip, and then we were off on the bus.

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In the morning, after SAS Essentials, Andrew, Brandon, and I went see Mr Dong. We arrived, all excited for a good interview, only to have his wife, Mrs Dong, tell us that he didn't want to see us, so we made our way back to the Linden Centre with heavy hearts and empty notebooks. 

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Today I woke up in the nurse's room, and had my temperature checked at around 7:00. My temperature was... normal. The school policy states that a student needs to be fever free for at least 24 hours before going back to, in my case, the normal schedule. I was extremely relieved that my fever had gone away overnight, although today ended up being another rest day for me in the nurse's room.

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Today counts as a Thursday, seeing as our hike was moved a day earlier due to weather conditions. We had SAS Essentials in the morning after breakfast, like usual, and then our Day 16 daily meeting, which ended at 10:39! A new record— only nine minutes over the scheduled time! At the end of the meeting, Mr T started singing the room inspection song in his operatic voice. He said he would meet us in our rooms in five minutes... Which gave us only five minutes to clean up and prepare for the International Room Inspectors Association.

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Today was the last day of the three day hike. We woke up to watch the sunrise over the mountain, which was very scenic and beautiful. During breakfast, Mr T and Andrew read from his French vocabulary book, and were able to find some interesting sentences. Mr T could very well be a Frenchman with his perfect accent! After packing up our tents yet again, we took group and individual pictures on the hill. 

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Day 14 marks the midway point of our trip. We had a late wake up, then after packing up our tents, had noodles and oranges for breakfast over a hill from our campsite. I was somewhat anxious for the hike up to Xiao Huadianba, but with all our experience from yesterday, the hike . On the way up, we were able to see our campsite down below, the building where we had dinner last night, as well as the vast plains and mountains surrounding us. The plants and bushes next to us were quite low, which allowed for a great view of where we were. 

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We had a regular 7:30 breakfast this morning at the Linden Centre. Afterwards, I finished my last minute packing and brought my hiking backpack down to the main courtyard. We packed our lunches in plastic containers, did final checks with our tents and supplies, and then we were off!

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Today was another regular day, with our SAS Essentials in the morning and WIPPIT time in he afternoon. During inquiry time, I was able to get a hold of the old Flying Tigers reference/guidebook. The American pilots used it to help them with translations as well as how to identify the insignias of the Chinese army ranks and how to tell which planes were the Japanese. There are illustrations and detailed descriptions of the kinds of planes that the Japanese owned, including the name, width, and shape, among other features.

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During terrace time, Nina and I went to the Linden Centre terrace to unplug and relax for thirty minutes. We sat on the roof and saw Lena and Jessica in the garlic fields for their terrace time.

I was able to get some information from Mr Linden during my inquiry time, and he told me about how they just received an approval for funding of the restoration of the radio station in the Zhao family compound. 

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At 10:00, our bus left for Shaping. It was around a twenty minute ride and we were able to see the row boats on Lake Erhai with people in bright orange lifevests. We arrived at the gate in front of the shopping area and walked maybe fifty metres with the whole group, where Mr T explained what the area was like.

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This morning most of us awoke to Mr T's voice saying, "Microcampus kids, it's time to get up for the sunrise." Nina and I got changed and headed out where everyone else was to watch the sunrise. It was maybe a good solid ten minutes until we broke and had our nice little breakfasts packed in plastic containers. The sunrise was beautiful and came up behind the mountains on the east.

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During the morning, Sasha, William, John, and I went on an early morning bike ride to the pier at Erhai. We were able to wake up slightly later than normal since it's a Saturday and we get to 'sleep in' on the weekends. I thought we had missed the sunrise at first since the sky was already bright, but when we reached the road that overlooked the lake, we were able to see the sunrise behind the mountains. We stopped twice to take pictures and I was proud that I actually brought a proper camera this time instead of using my phone.

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At 2:30 pm today, Hailstorm left on to the two and a half hour mosque to temple hike. Some parts were very dusty, causing our pants and shoes to change colours considerably. Overall, the hike was a good experience to help us prepare for the three day hike next weekend. On the way up, many of us (or maybe just myself) were feeling like the temple was in neverland, but all was good when we started going downhill and back to our bus. On the bus back to the Centre, Mr T had us guess the exact time the wheels would stop, and the earliest guess was 5:09 by Yuval.

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I woke up at 5:30 am for a bike ride with Hugh and Niko to Erhai. The sunrise behind the mountains and reflecting on the lake was stunning. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures but I am looking forward to going back soon. It was somewhat chilly but more enjoyable than the afternoon bike rides with the sun glaring down at us. 

 

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For wellness today, during WIPPIT time on our second normal day, Nina, William, Sasha, and I went on a bike ride. We thought it would be fun to take a route that none of us had gone on before, so we took a few unfamiliar turns with Nina leading us. A few minutes after we had reached Erhai, I stopped to the other three calling "Nina's bike broke, stop!" We spent a while trying to figure out what was wrong with the bike and eventually concluded the brake had broken.

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Today was our first normal day with WIPPIT time. WIPPIT time stands for wellness, inquiry project, pitching in, and terrace time. I was able to get my three-to-fives done with Mr T and Ms Mai.

For wellness, Hugh and I took a bike ride to Lake Erhai. We followed the route that Mr T showed some of us yesterday. Lake Erhai was beautiful as always, as were the many garlic and rice fields that we had passed. I almost got in the face by a woman's broomstick as she turned around, but all is well.

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In the morning, Sasha and I went for a run along Erhai. We didn't quite get to the lake, per se, but seeing the sunrise behind the mountains was worth it. We also stopped quite a few times to take some iPhone quality pictures, which did not work out so well because of the darkness... and quality of my phone. It was our first 'wellness' exercising activity even though it didn't count for our wellness plans.

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Today I had my first lunch at Old Town Snacks, with Nina and Brandon. We took a tour around Xizhou, and ended up in Sifangjie for lunch. It was our first time around the village, and Mr T stopped us every once in a while to show us different places where we could revisit later. At around noon, we were released for lunch. Nina, Brandon, and I immediately went to Old Town Snacks, home to the famous Taifei Chaofan (Tafel Fried Rice). We also ordered Er Si and some vegetables. All the dishes were really good and all three of us enjoyed them very much.

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After an exciting 3:45 wake up call, my mom and I headed to the airport. The streets were desolate, apart from a few cars here and there, which was a change from the traffic and crowded roads that are usually seen in Shanghai. We met everyone at the Hongqiao Airport and after goodbyes, Hailstorm was on their way. The three hour plane ride was very uneventful as I slept pretty much the whole time.

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Hello everyone! I have just started looking at the possible inquiry project topics for Phase 0, which have reminded me of how much I will be learning about Xizhou's culture and lifestyle. It's extremely exciting to have an opportunity like this to live outside the big city bubble of Shanghai for a month. I've only lived in Hong Kong and Shanghai, both of which are busy, hectic cities.

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Hello! My name is Kelly and I am fourteen years old. I have an Australian passport although I was born in Hong Kong and lived there for four years before coming to Shanghai. Xizhou is so beautiful and Microcampus was an incredible experience. I hope to visit again soon!