Anders L. (Alumni-V)'s Journal

Today is our last day. We will be hopping on a plane going to Shanghai soon and saying goodbye to this beautiful place called Xizhou. This experience for me has been truly breathtaking, and I hope never to forget it, but this brings up the questions: Why did I come here in the first place?
 
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Today is our last day. We will be hopping on a plane going to Shanghai soon and saying goodbye to this beautiful place called Xizhou. This experience for me has been truly breathtaking, and I hope never to forget it, but this brings up the questions: Why did I come here in the first place?

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Today is our last day. We will be hopping on a plane going to Shanghai soon and saying goodbye to this beautiful place called Xizhou. This experience for me has been truly breathtaking, and I hope never to forget it, but this brings up the questions: Why did I come here in the first place?

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A few days ago we had the choice to go to the mosque after we ate. For Evening activities we ate out at old town snakes. It was a excellent restaurant that served this special type of hot pot that was very good.

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For the past two days, we have been stressing about our service learning project. This project is about connecting with the community and helping the community by adding to the library of Service Learning Videos and documenting the stories of the community during the hard times of the cultural revolution. We went to the community and made connections with the people here. We made some fantastic friends (as you can see from my other journal posts) and after making strong connections with Mr.Li, we asked him to be our service-learning partner.

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A group of friends and I started wearing acorns. 

Sounds very random right? Well, it is, all around Xizhou, there are these little shops that might sell earrings or necklace. These shops would almost always have small artificial acorns that can be attached to a string and makes a necklace. It was very surprising how we would always run into them again and again, so I and a group of friends bought a bunch at a discounted price, and now we are wearing them. 

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Yesterday was our last regular day of Microcampus. Today is the last Saturday and the beginning of the last weekend. We are starting the lastest. The last Sunday, the last laundry day, the last dish duty. 

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Yesterday for wellness Brandt, Sunny, Sonia and I decided that we needed more photos of Xizhou. So we went out and walked around Xizhou taking pictures. We first went to Sufanjie and took a lot of pictures of the square. Sadly to the square was crowded and we were not able to get a lot of good photos. Hopefully, we can go back and get more pictures because the square was lovely. The ample open space with the big gate is the superb place for a public space. After that, we went downs a thin alleyway with a lot of cool shops placed at the sides.

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Yesterday for evening activity we went to Dali old town. Its the tourist hub of the area and we had to be on our best behavior and we all very lucky to go. We got dropped off at the corner of the town, and we got let off with 1 hour and 20 minutes to eat and explore. We walked around a bit, and it was surprising to see a big group of people around (mostly because we have not seen something like that in 3 weeks). The town was a lot different from our home in Xizhou because of all the tourist shops and chains.

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Today was the first day I was the Daily Meeting Facilitator. Every day we have a daily meeting, and this is an organized time to listen and to relay information to everyone. This is where the committee can share updates and make sure everyone knows who is doing laundry of dish duty for the day after. Mr.T can give feedback to how everyone is dong on there work or spread out a timeline, so we are all prepared for the days ahead. Anyway, for this meeting, there is a minute take and a facilitator.

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Us Doing Yoga By the Streets(qqqwwiliakahdte1727389acndhaj)

Yesterday for wellness we went out for the first time to do yoga. We decided to expand our boundaries and do some yoga by the ficus tree. The ficus tree is a good place to hang out and chill outside of Yangzhouran. We went there and set up our yoga mats to do yoga, and we started. Because we were all trying to get TZ (30 minutes in the training zone) everyone once in a while, we would change and do a short burst of push-ups so that we could get or heart rate up. Except for Brandt, he was able to get TZ sitting there.

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Although there are a lot of tourists here in Xizhou, I stand out. I have very bright vibrant red hair, and it makes me stand out. Here in Xizhou, there are not a lot of redheads, and it causes me to stick out like a sore thumb. Sometimes it can help to connect with people because my red hair can be a talking point and this leads to other topics which can make people more friendly told me. Another reason I stand out is my blue eyes. Blue eyes are very uncommon in Xizhou, and most people have brown eyes not blue.

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The places in Xizhou are all lovely. Xizhou has impressive natural features that you would never find in Shanghai, such as the beautiful canola fields and the peaceful lake: Erhai. Still, time in the canola fields is very calm, and the bright color of yellow that sounds me makes me feel calm. Biking to Erhai is enjoyable. There are these long stretches of farmland, and the only thing that has a bit of civilization is the small freeway that cuts through the farmland. Then you go through winding alleyways through sections of houses until you get to the lake.

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I love camping. The feeling of being outdoors so close to nature and setting up the structure that you will sleep in. I am sad to report that the camping I had yesterday was not the best. I had a relatively easy time getting to sleep, but the problem was the waking up in the middle of the night with stomach pains. It started at about 11 pm, and it was just a standard stomach ache that did not mean much and I tried to sleep through it. It kept getting worse and worse until I needed some fresh air I got up out of my tent hoping that after getting up for 2 seconds would help me fall asleep.

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Today for our unique Friday activity, we went out for a long hike. The days schedule become out of whack with no daily meeting and WIPPIS time but we instead we went out for a walk and camping. The first part of the trail was straight uphill. For about an hour and a half, we went up a 600-meter vertical climb. It was a big challenge with a hiking backpack on our backs.

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The big hike is approaching!!! Yesterday we focused on making sure we knew how to set up a tent. Even though I have camped for a long time, it seems like you have to relearn the skill of making a tent every time. For example on this tent, there was a little keyhole looking thing that you slid into the supporting poles. I have never seen a tent like that! I thought it was a very cool concept. Alos our handsome young instructor who showed us how to set up the tent explained this innovative technique to minimize the clingy of the support poles in the wind.

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Today Inquiry Project was one of the down times. We went all the way to plan Z. Today we had the hangers and hooks lesson witch our teacher talked about our final project. I continued to think about the hangers and hooks all the way through my Inquiry Project. When we first went out, I wanted to Mr.Yang and maybe even started my case study but did not work out because he was resting with his fronds and playing a game. We decided that it was fine and we went to plan B, the motorbike shop.

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A few days ago we went to a Bai music concert at the Linden Centre. It was the first time we were allowed inside the linden center without a teacher, and we made sure we were cautious. It was a late night for me since we got there at about 8:00. It started soon after we got there and it started with an introduction to the music and the Bai culture. There were six musicals with six different Chinese instruments that sounded all wonderful. They first played a song that had an imperial sound to it and sounded like marching. The second performance was with a dance group.

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I am very aware that all three of my service learning partners have written about the same topic, but Mr.Li is such a special guy that I am writing about him here(Also today was very uneventful). We met Mr.Li on our service learning walk around. He was luging some water bottles to a well so he could fill them up. We asked him if he wanted help and the conversation lead to him asking us if we wanted to see pictures of him and a western couple. We gratefully accepted the offer, and we went to his house. We proudly asked some questions about him and his family here.

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Today me and Brandt L. went for a really morning walk. We woke up early so that we could start early and not waits any time. We started out with a goal in mind. Find new places, and we did that. We walked down an alley that was a mystery to both me and Brandt going west and uphill. We were surprised to find that it was not a dead end and it dumped us in the "Downtown" of Xizhou. We continued west to a small river and bridge where there was a freeway.

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Yesterday we went on a Friday trip. Every Friday we do something unique, and yesterday we went out to either a dye-tie village (Chou Cheng) or a wind farm in the mountains. I choose the mountains with the wind farm, and it was a genuinely fantastic expire. We dropped most of the people off at the Chou Cheng and took a long drive up into the mountains. On the way up I got absorbed into my book and read a lot. One thing that I hope to do during Micocampus is read a lot, and I glad to report that I have been doing well.

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The weather in Xizhou is some of the nicest, calming and peaceful weather I have ever encountered. Today was the 7th day, and all through this trip for the majority of the day, it was a peaceful baby blue. The most clouds we saw was the day we arrived where they were burned their crops and that day it was a few puffy clouds and a dusty feel to the air. Yesterday there was a thundercloud yesterday night, and we got to see the thunder going off. It was always off, and it did not end up coming to Xizhou, but it was very cool to see the thunder going off.

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Today was a day that I got to know Xizhou. We did a lot of walking around today. Between still time, wellness, fieldwork, and lunch we walked around places that I have not been in the last five days. We went to the golden flower, a marvelous and delicious restaurant. I would say it was the best one yet. We eat some fantastic spinach and some noodles. We came back and walked out towards the mosque for still time and observed a lot of people walking around and being themselves. Still time today was the best still time I have yet. Today was a day of bests yet.

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Today was the first day that I was able to do my morning run. I got a good nights sleep and woke up to the soft beeping of my watch. I quietly woke my partner up and got dressed in my athletic clothes, hoping to be out the door by 5:45. By the time I was dressed, and out of my room it was already 5:40 and I did not even get the final preparations done. I went upstairs trying to be as quiet as possible while still being quick.

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Today was a decent uneventful, typical day (for microcampus). I woke up early this morning and started a load of laundry. A good thing I did because we had to do three loads today. After I did that short task, I read for about 30 minutes. Nothing is like reading outside with nobody to bother you in the pitch black morning. It was surprisingly calming. We had a quick breakfast and a runtime SAS essentials class.

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Today was our first real MicroCampus day. We had our first daily meeting, and that was a little chaotic. There was so much information it was hard to prosses, but I am sure I will get better. We then started to work with our committee. Personly worked with the Food and Menue committee to work out next weeks arrangements. We went for a bike ride later in that day. We learned all about bike safety and the proper etiquette on the road. We then signed out the bikes and went for a ride.

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Today was settling in day. For the most of day, we explored and developed habits. There were a lot of patterns to learn, like all the rules with mealtime, or the rules about what happens in our room and what happens when we leave our room. I only wish I had these habits in Shanghai, so it is not so hard here in Xizhou. We woke up early and unpacked so that we had a lovely and organized room for the next 28 days. Once we did that we went for a fascinating walk around the village.

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I had a lot of trouble sleeping the last night with the big trip coming up! I woke up bright and early so I could be prepared. The morning went quickly by and the moment to leave was approaching quickly. The moment came when I was at the airport saying goodbye to my parents. I would not get to see them for a month. Luckily we live in an age that we can call long distance at almost any time of day. The process at the airport went smoothly, and we were quickly at the gate of departure.

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I am a student at the Puxi SAS Campus, and I love an excellent outdoor adventure. In my free time, I like playing D&D or baseball with friends I hold dear to my heart. I had a great time in Xizhou, and I have learned a lot throughout the experiences here in Xizhou.