Sarah R. (Alumni-V)'s Journal

Goodbye. I will miss you Xizhou. I will miss every aspect of this Microcampus journey. 

Today I had to say goodbye to some of my favorite people. I had to say goodbye to Mr. Wang and his daughter who taught me to basket weave. I had to say goodbye to Nai Nai and Jie Jie who taught me to make tie-dye, and I had to say goodbye to Nai Nai, Ye Ye, and Ayi who taught me to make Baba. 

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Why did I come to Microcampus? I signed up for this 28 day trip to Xizhou for many reasons. I applied for Microcampus because I wanted a challenge and I wanted to experience something more than just sitting in a class and listening to a teacher talk about different things. I wanted to learn outside the “bubble” of Shanghai and to experience and learn new things that I could not learn back home. I wanted to get to experience a new lifestyle other than the wake-up, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to school, come home, eat dinner, do homework, and go to sleep.

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On April 4th, 2018, all the Microcampus students got the chance to share our service learning video with our service learning partner and other guests. We had time to go get our service learning partner and bring them back to Yangzhouran to watch the videos. Mrs. Li was not able to attend the showing of the videos because she had to attend a Buddhist festival with her family and she could not miss that.

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Today for dinner, everyone got the opportunity to go to Old Town Snacks and eat guo qiao mi xian. Guo qiao mi xian is a noodle hot pot where bowls of boiling soup are brought to the table and each person gets to put whatever meat and vegetables that they want in the soup. It was really good and after eating Taylor S.

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Today is day 24 of Microcampus, throughout the 24 days, I have met extremely nice and interesting people.

This afternoon Taylor S. and wanted to print some pictures that we took with Jie Jie and Nai Nai who taught us tie-dye. We went to a printing shop in Sifang Jie and got the pictures printed and laminated. We first went to see Jie Jie and Nai Nai and give them each a photo, when we got there we sat down and gave them the photos, and they were really happy and spent a while looking at the photos. 

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This morning Taylor S. and I got up early to see the sunrise at lake Er Hai. We got up around 6 am and left Yangzhouran on our bikes by 6:15 am. I took us about 20 minutes to bike down to the lake, and when we got there the sky was still dark. We stood and watched as the sun slowly rose above the mountains. The pinks and oranges reflected perfectly on the lake. We saw ducks flying around, and we also saw fishermen fishing. It was really beautiful to watch the sunrise in complete silence other than birds chirping.

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This morning I went to visit Nai Nai and Jie Jie again. When Taylor and I got there, Nai Nai and Jie Jie pulled out the tie-dye that we had already completed and it was dyed blue! We both spend about 20 minutes cutting the stitching and pulling out the thread. And when we finally got all of the thread out, we got to see our finished tie-dye! 

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Last night, everyone on Microcampus earned the opportunity to go the Dali Old Town, which is a big tourist attraction in Dali. We all got on the bus and rode for about 40 minutes until we got there, then we got into groups to wander around and get dinner with. My group went to Stella's Pizza, and I got half a small pizza and half of a burger. After we ate we went to a cafe called The Sweet Tooth, which was oppenend by Korean missionaries who wanted to use their profits to help the deaf and hard of hearing. At The Sweet Tooth, I got a mini molten chocolate lava cake, and it was so good.

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This afternoon, after working on Phase 4 of my inquiry project, Josie C and I biked back down to Mr. Wang's house because Josie wanted to buy a bamboo woven basket. When we got there, Mr. Wang was not there but his daughter was. His daughter showed me how to make the base of a basket, and she also let Josie and I continue weaving one of the baskets that she had already started. It was really relaxing to just sit outside and weave while taking with Wang Ayi. 

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Today my service learning group mates and I found our service-learning partner, Ms. Liu. Ms. Liu is a farmer, and Aria and I met her when we were walking around the morning market. We passed by her and said hi, she then offered us some of the carrots that she was selling. We have been in contact with Ms. Liu for over a week now, and we stop by to see her almost every morning to say hi.

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Today for lunch I went to the Golden Flower. The Golden Flower is a resturant at Sifang Jie, and it has all sorts of foods. When we got to the Golden Flower, we ordered our food and because Taylor S's inquiry project is food we got to go into the kitchen and learn how our food was made.

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Last night when we finished the hike, we got to the campsite, set up our tents and had dinner. The dinner was so good, we had plain Baba and we cut it in half and put pork and vegetables in it. The farm also had an ostrich, ponies, chickens, and a bunny island. This morning when I woke up I went to see the ostrich and it was really funny seeing him ruffle his feathers and prance around.

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Today marks the half way point of Microcampus! I have experienced two weeks of living in Xizhou. 

Today we also went on a big hike through the Cang Shan Mountains. We started hiking around 11:30-12:00 pm, and we hiked up for about an hour and a half to the Jade Belt. On the Jade Belt we hiked on a flat surface for around three hours, then down hill for around another two hours. In all we hiked for six hours and 40 minutes. Up on the mountain, the view was so pretty. You could see the surrounding mountains as well as the towns below the mountains. 

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Xizhou has a beautiful sky, not only during the day but also at night. Last night I got a chance to come up to the star terrace just before dark and watch a Venus set, I saw Venus right above the mountains and watched it go down and hide behind the mountains. I have also gotten a chance to see the stars, at night the sky is so clear that you can see so many stars. During the day, the sky is bright blue with only a few clouds. The weather is always the perfect temperatures, cooler in the morning and warmer in the afternoon. 

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Today Aria F, Taylor S, and I were walking through the morning market and we decided to buy some pineapple. I went up to a fruit vender and bought a pineapple, and we also got some melon. When we got back to Yangzhuoran we cut up the pineapple and had a pre-lunch snack with Sofie.

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Yesterday Taylor S and I went to visit Jie Jie and Nai Nai. Taylor met them a few days ago, and she brought me to meet them. When Taylor and I got to where they work, Jie Jie and Nai Nai were both doing the tieing part of the tie-dye. They offered to teach me and Taylor how to do it, the first taught us how to do the simplest part, the diamonds along the side.

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Last night, the Microcampus students got the opportunity to go to the Linden Centre and watch traditional Bai dancing as well as traditional music. When I got to the Linden Centre I sat down and waited for the performances to begin. The first performance was a piece that the musicians played, it was really interesting because there were six musicians and all of them played different instruments.

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Today Taylor S, Clark W, Alex K, and I went to Ma La Tang. At Ma La Tang we got Er Si with meat, and we each got to put our own toppings on it. When we were eating this girl came up to us and showed us her baby toy duck which she named Xiao Ya Ya which in English means small duck duck. After we ate, we walked to Sifang Jie to get Baba.

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Yesterday, everyone had the option of going to either the wind farm or a tie-dying village. I chose to go to the tie-dye village. Everyone that wanted to go to the village all got on a bus and we rode to the village. Once we got there, we went into a place that had a tie-dye museum and also a tie-dye making area.

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Today concludes the first week of Microcampus! I have learned so much this past week, not only about Xizhou and the villages around Xizhou, but also about myself and others.

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Today Sam B, Anders L, and I walked around the streets and alleys of Xizhou to find a place for still time. We found an open area where we all sat in the shade under a big tree and just watched and observed our surroundings. Ahead of us, there was a wall that had some Chinese propaganda, and to the left of us, there was a Buhdist temple. On our right there was a street with lots of little shops, the closest store was a tie-dye shop.

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Today Sam B. and I were walking around the streets of Xizhou. We passed the Morning Market, where we saw people packing up their stalls. We said hi to multiple people on our walk including one lady named Fu Jian Yun. When we walked past her store she recognized us, she asked if we were staying in Yang Zhouran and we said yes.

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The first few days of Microcampus are officially over, we now know everything we need to know about our schedule, SAS essentials, and what and what not to do in Yang Zhouran.

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Although yesterday was our first full day in Xizhou, today seemed like the real first day because we learned the routines that we will be following for the rest of our time in Xizhou. This afternoon we took a bike ride to lake Er Hai. At lake Er Hai we had some still time; I sat near the lake just looking out at the water and the ducks.

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Today was the first full day in Xizhou! Taylor S.and I took a walk around the village just to look around and familiarize ourselves with the area. We went to this one tie-dye store that soldboth old and new tie-dye.

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Today was the beginning of a new adventure that I will be experiencing for the next 28 days. Before the journey could even begin, I had to say goodbye to friends and family that I will not see for the next month. At the airport, I met up with the 15 other Microcampus students, and we were off to Xizhou! Just before we boarded I realized that this was actually happening, that there is no going back now.

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Hi! My name is Sarah, I am 14 years old. This is my 11th year at SAS Puxi. I love playing sports, being outside, hanging out with friends, and reading. Microcampus has been an incredible life-changing experience that I will forever remember. I have met so many people in Xizhou who have impacted me greatly. I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to come to Xizhou for 28 days to experience China outside of the "bubble." Microcampus has taught me more than I could have ever imagined and I will forever remember this experience.