Saleem E. (Alumni-U)'s Journal

I have been staying in Xizhou for 28 days. Before coming to Xizhou I applied to the Microcamous journey. Microcampus has been a great experience, and I have learned so much from it. I thought I came to Microcampus to experience the culture, but after being here for 28 days, I have realized why I really came. 

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At first, our Zhou Nai Nai was a little hesitant to come to the event. She ended up coming, but once Mr. Tafel announced that our group was up next, she was yet again a little hesitant to watch our video. Our group was up at the front of the crowd so that we could watch the audience instead of the film. While up there I kept note of what facial expressions Zhou Nai Nai had.In the first scene in our video, Zhou Nai Nai was dancing with a musical stick. She was smiling the whole time, but I also feel like she was a little bit embarrassed about it.

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Today is December 12. We started off with service learning in the morning. For the whole day, we worked on our service learning video all day long. When we were done editing for the first time, we went to Mr. Tafel for our first pearls of wisdom. We did all of the pearls that Mr. Tafel told us to do. For dinner, I went out to the Ma La Tang. It was very good, but it is the last time I will be going there. We came back, and we had our evening activity. For evening activity we had Mr. Tafel's All-Star Whiz-Bang Super-Duper Trivia Night.

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Today is December 11. During our daily meeting, Ms. Yolanda and Ms. Ling came up the stairs. They flew all the way from Shanghai to see us. We all saw them and at the end of our meeting, we talked to them. Since it was close to lunchtime we decided which guest would go with which groups. My group had Ms. Ling, who is also my Chinese teacher. We went to a restaurant in Si Fang Jie, and after eating lunch we went over to the tea shop. It was 1:00 which meant we had to come back to Yang Zhou Ren. When we came back to Yang Zhou Ren we worked on our service learning video.

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Today is December. Today is the final weekend in Xizhou, and we spent it relaxing because we have a big week coming up. Today our final inquiry project was due and we met with Mr. Tafel so he could give us Pearls of Wisdom. After meeting with Mr. Tafel and fixing all of my mistakes, I was finally done and I was ready to relax. We all ate lunch and went back to work. Since I was done with my work we gathered all the people that finished their work, and we played, yep you guessed it, hacky sack. We were done getting tons of hacks, so we went out for our downtime.

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Today is December 9. It is the last Saturday in Xizhou. Today we got to wake up late before going to breakfast. We woke up at 8:15 and then headed downstairs to the kitchen. After our breakfast, we played some hacky sack in the courtyard. It was then time for our service learning, but then time was up so we had to go to our service learning. For service learning, we went over to our service learning parter's shop to talk to her about when she would like to meet us.

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Today is December 8. Today during the daily meeting, we were informed that we were had the same schedule as everyone else for WIPPIS time. For wellness, me and my partners went out to do social wellness, because we already got 3 times of TZ. During our wellness, I helped my partners find some people for their service learning project. After connecting with tons of people we found one man that works at a Baba shop. One of my partners started to ask him some questions, and after they were done talking we bought Baba because we did not want to be rude.

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Today is December 7. Yesterday when we got back from our evening programming we looked up at the stars and just wonder. The sky was lit up with many beautiful stars. Mr. Tafel pointed out the andromeda galaxy and the great square of Pegasus. Last night was a great night and it was really awesome to see a shooting star before going to bed. Today we got to make our own WIPPIS time schedules. I started off with wellness then inquiry project, pitching in and finished with still time. For my inquiry project, I worked on my final Phase.

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Today is December 6. After lunch, for our inquiry project time, we were introduced to Phase 4 and we were given 2 hours to complete it. After these two hours were up, our Phase 4 was due. Once I was finished, I started with my pitching in time. For my pitching in I started off with cleaning my room. When I was done with that, I started to work on my journal and touch up some other work that I wanted to complete. Once my pitching in hour was done, my group and I headed out for wellness.

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Today is December 5 and also day 18. We are already passed the halfway point of our Microcampus trip. Yesterday for dinner, the whole group went out to eat at a Ma La Tang restaurant. Ma La Tang is like hot pot, but with noodles. We then came home and settled down with some quiet reading, and then went off the bed. The next day we went through our daily cycle again. When we came back from lunch, Mr. Tafel brought out the hacky sack. We joined him to play, and at first, it was just three people.

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Today is December 4. It is Monday so it is the start of a new hardworking week. After our breakfast and committee meetings, my partner and I went over to the bank to exchange our money into smaller bills. After our pitching in AM and our lunch, we had our teacher support sessions. For teacher support today, I went and talked to two people. The first person I talked to was Zhao shi fu, the security guard here in Yang Zhou Ren. I talked to him about stories he might know related to the Erhai Lake. he told me this one story about two dragons fighting.

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Today is December 3. Since it is Sunday we got to wake up later than usual. I woke up at 7:30 to do my laundry because today was my laundry day. Everything went out great, and all my clothes dried pretty quickly. We then had our pitching in, after our breakfast. I finished breakfast and the dishes pretty early so Mr. Tafel brought out the hacky sack. He taught us how to play and the best parts of your body to use. We started to play and it was really fun. We ended up playing for about 30 minutes. If everyone touches the hacky sack then you get a hack and you celebrate.

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Yesterday was a very nice day. We hiked up the mountain and it took 5 hours to get to the top and back to the bottom. The scenery was very beautiful, but I got my finger stuck on a tree and I got a little cut. The hiking was very fun, and after we accomplished the hike we went over to the campsite. Once we were there we set up our tents and went over to this dome, where we had our dinner. For dinner, Ms. Mai brought us Xizhou baba bread. We got to make a sandwich with the bread, and it was very tasty. I also tried the sweet potato.

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Today is December 1. We went camping today. Before camping, we had breakfast, SAS essentials, and our daily meeting, but today we did not have our WIPPIS time. First, we hiked 600 meters up the mountain, and then came back down. We then took a bus to the campsite. My roommates for the camping trip are the same roommates in Yang Zhou Ren. We set up our tents in a nice spot a few meters away from the other tents. Since we have three people we have had to set up two tents. One was for us to sleep in and one was for us to put our bags in.

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Today is November 29. Yesterday for evening programming we practiced setting up tents and taking them down. Since it is a weekday, today was the same as yesterday's schedule. Before SAS essentials we met a man named Wilbur. He specializes in threading. Wilbur is another one of Mr. Tafel's impressions. After our first part of the day, we then had our WIPPIS time. I went out with Ms. Song to talk to people in the village about stories they were told when they were younger, and stories that happened to them when they were younger.

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Today is November 29. I have decided that I want to focus more on myths/legends and stories because I feel like that would be a more interesting project. So today for my inquiry project I went out with Mr. Chen, and I talked to some people in Si Fang Jie about stories they were told when they were young. I talked to a few people and they told me about some stories that I thought was very interesting. After our WIPPIS time, we had dinner. We were all in for dinner, and then we had our evening programming.

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Today is November 28. I visited the Mosque with Mr. Tafel. We sat and watched the men pray, and after they were done, they braught us over to eat with them. They were having a feast and they wanted us to join them. We sat down and started talking to them. I talked to one man named Mr. Zhang Xiong. He was very kind and answered all of my questions. After going out and about with Mr. Tafel, we came back and we did wellness. For wellness today, we did running and CrossFit. It was a good workout, and I got a good time in the zone. For dinner, we all went out to eat in Si Fang Jie.

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Today is November 27. The weekend has just finished and it is now the start of a new week. In the morning my roommates and I woke up early so we could do our laundry. After laundry, we had breakfast, SAS essentials (today was a humanities day) daily meeting, pitching in, and then lunch. For today's lunch groups I was put with my service learning group. After that, we had WIPPIS time. The first thing I did inquiry project time. I went out for teacher support with Ms. Braverman and Mr. Chen.

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Today is November 26. Today's schedule is like yesterday's. I and my friends are going to go on a run during our downtime, and we will have quite a time on the sidewalks, so we can watch the cars pass by. We are going to run to the Linden Centre and back, so we can get 30 minutes in zone. For breakfast today there were pancakes. The pancakes were very tasty and were made perfectly. Weekends are great days because we get to sleep in and take a rest from the hardworking days during the weekdays.

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Today is November 25. Breakfast today was not like others. Since it is Saturday breakfast was from 8:30 to 9:15, so that we could sleep in. The point of the weekends are rest, relax, and regenerate. After breakfast we had a history lesson of China. 150 years in 120 minutes. We also got our groups for our service learning project. My group went out to the market and we got two contacts. There are some rules for our service learning project. They must be 65 or older.

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Yesterday was November 24. Today was a day of thanks. After the long day of working, we settled down with a Thanksgiving feast for dinner. It was very tasty. They had many foods that I also eat on Thanksgiving, including turkey, vegetables, apple pie, and chicken. During dinner, I got to get to know many students and even some teachers, like Ms. Song and Mr. Chen. After our lovely feast, we had our evening program. After eating dinner I decided to reflect on myself, and I realized what a great opportunity this is to be on Microcampus.

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Today is November 23. Today was just like every other day. Breakfast, daily meeting, WIPPIS. For wellness today we ran to the Square and to the Mosque. I got 10 contacts from going around into the village. I feel like I am making good connections. Today after lunch for dessert I tried the sweet Xizhou Baba. It was very good, but also very sweet. Today I had a good experience, and I now know how to go to and from the market and the Mosque. We are still learning many valuable lessons, but I know we will get there soon.

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Today is November 22. We woke up pretty early to do our laundry. I don't usually do laundry back in Shanghai, so some of this was new to me. We first put all our black clothes into the machine, while we were hand washing our under garnments. After we finished up with all the laundry we went outside to hang them up. Later in the day, after our committee meetings, Me and my partner for the daily video shout-outs walked over to the Fikus tree to record. We were able to record pretty quick with the limeted time we had. I also went out to the mosque with Ms.

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We had a great night last night. After our dinner, we went over to the Linden Centre. When we went there we sat down on the terrace and had Still time for 30 minutes. After gazing at the stars we headed back downstairs to check out the library. I got one book about wood carving, which will help me with my inquiry project.

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Today is Monday, November 20. Today we had our first committee meeting and our first SAS essentials class. I am part of the Video shout-outs/Dish duty, Banking and financing, and for this week the positive impact committee. For lunch, my group went out to eat. My partner and I went to a restaurant to eat the amazing Tafel rice. After lunch, we went with Ms. Mai to learn about our heart rate monitors as it is part of our wellness. My group decided that we wanted to run to the market and back. We were supposed to get 30 minutes in zone and we got 33 minutes.

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Today is November 19, the first full day of Microcampus. After breakfast, we went on a 2-hour tour of our home and walked to the market. We went into a rice shop where people made Er si, which is a Chinese noodle dish that we had for breakfast. The shop was full of rice, and it was very interesting to watch the people make the long rice noodles and Er Kuai.

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Today is Saturday, November 18. The ultimate group departed from Shanghai to Xizhou. I was very excited to go, but I was also nervous. After going through security the people who finished their inquiry project got to go to the airport to look for lunch. The people who did not finish stayed with Mr. Tafel and Mrs. Mai to finish it. We first got 100 RMB for lunch and other things we can buy. After a few hours of wandering around, we met at our got and boarded the plane. The flight was 3 and a half hours long.

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My name is Saleem E. I am 13 years old and my favorite sport is soccer. I am back in Shanghai, but I am missing beautiful Xizhou. My inquiry project was woodcarving, but I changed it to Myths/Stories/Legends in Xizhou. Xizhou was a great experience and not only did it teach me many valuable lessons that I will take with me through my journey of life, but it also taught our group valuable lessons. I would like to thank Mr. Tafel and Ms. Mai for their support and patience during this trip. Microcampus has opened up my eyes, and after going to Xizhou I view our world in a totally different way. Thank you Xizhou.