Henin C. (Alumni-U)'s Journal

The two main reasons in why I came to Microcampus was to understand myself and to grow as a person. I understood that everyone will crack under pressure and usually, it is not pretty when we do that. During my 28 days in Microcampus, I realised that I needed to space out everything. Even though I could finish everything on time in Shanghai, even if it is the last minute or so, I could still finish a lot of things. But in Microcampus, all of the projects are long-term and I just can not finish a project in one day.

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Watching others present their Service Learning projects were a reminder of my failure, though it was our fault since we had not managed to get a Service Learning partner. However, watching the videos really helped me understand the work and effort everyone put into their Service Learning project. The experience of learning peoples' lives was amazing and I got to learn about what they endured through as a young child and everything that made them what they are today. As I watched the Service Learning projects, I also watched the Service Learning partners' reactions.

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Today is December 12, Day 25 of our trip. So far everything has been perfect and one of the great things is that I finally managed to finish up my Inquiry Project work. While working on my Inquiry Project, I noticed that the sky is a gradient of blue and there were no white clouds covering up anything. You could see that above you the sky was darker and either towards your left or right the sky slowly starts to get lighter. I really wonder why that is. Today's evening activity was Mr Tafel's ultimate wiz-bam super duper trivia night and guess what? I won!

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Today is Day 23 of our Microcampus trip. It is also our last relaxing day, though today was pretty busy for a day of relaxing. It is the last day of week 3 and I feel as if time is passing so fast and that soon I will be back in Shangai and I will have my family and friends with me. To be honest, I really miss my friends back in Shanghai and I really cannot wait until I catch up with everyone. Today's weather is like any other day, beautiful, and I hope to spend the time to gaze out at the morning/afternoon/night sky.

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Today is December 11, Day 24 of the trip. Today is the first day of our last week in XIzhou. Today's schedule is like any other weekday's, though instead of inquiry project, we now have service learning. Today in the Daily Meeting we had a great surprise. Ms Yolanda and Ms Ling came from Shanghai to visit us. Somehow today I already knew that it would be a great day. As we catch up with friends back in Shanghai. Today for lunch I had beef noodles, and it was amazing and delicious. The weather today in Xizhou is beautiful.

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Today is December 9, Day 22 of Microcampus. Everything has been going great and I feel as if I have my Final Project ready for reviewing. I have everything written down my script, introduction and reflection, and have started on my video already. I hope everything goes alright tomorrow so I will be able to have all my work done on time and to have spare time in which I can do whatever I want. I wish that everyone could experience what I have and I hope that I can have time to buy presents for my friends and family. Today, I went out with Ana M.

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Today is December 8 and Day 21 of the trip. Time has flown so fast since I have gotten here and it is already time to start wrapping up everything. I am trying to make the days count, instead of counting down the days myself. Everything so far has been going quite well, and we are hoping for some fun and breaks to finish our journey here and start our next. I plan on this weekend to have everything done and have free time to myself and finally allow myself to rest and to start of the last week with a positive attitude, and a fresh, clean mind.

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Today's main point was to finish all SAS Essentials, meaning that I had to finish all my homework and everything else that was required. I spent the entire Evening Activity just working on my American Revolution Essay and my AR Project. Spending time at the dinner table was not my idea of fun but I really did need that time to work on my AR Project and to make sure everything is done on time.

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Finally! Today was the day that I will be finally able to go to Dali Old Town. As I have heard from Mr Tafel, Dali Old Town is where 8th graders go crazy and become normal tourists who have no interest in the daily life of some citizens. My goal for today was to rein in my craziness and act like a normal, well behaved, Microcampus student, and guess what? It came true! Though one of the owners, sort of, kind of, shooed us out of his store. While across the four main street in Dali Old Town, Ana M, Michael B, Chris L, and I walked across the streets and gazed into different touristy shops.

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Today was a wonderful day! During my Still TIme period, I sat underneath the sun to make sure that I was soaking up enough natural Vitamin D. However since the night stars were not out yet, the only thing I could do was to watch the clouds move from the West to the East. The clouds looked so carefree as the flew from one side of the world to the other. They didn't have to worry about anything in their lives, only to go where the wind takes you. I didn't do much today, only worked on my Inquiry Project and had a few conversations with people on the street.

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Today is the second to last day to interview people in the Xizhou community. Today I wish to spend my hour learning about the ten questions I set at the beginning of Microcampus. I really wish to find all of my answers and recap all of my other knowledge. The Cheese Factory is another place where I want to find all of my answers. I think that I will not spend much time in the shops but spend most of my time on Phase 3 because I need to answer my ten questions and not add on to my information from local contacts.

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Today Hayley S. and I used our Down Time to work around the village. While walking we found a tea shop that looked very interesting. When we stepped into the tea shop, the owner ushered us in and showed us many different types of tea and introduced us to many traditional teas that the Yunnan province had specifically. He told us that his main job in the tea carrier is to find the 7 most important things in Yunnan. He let us try two different types of tea. However, the difference between this tea and the ones we find in the supermarket is that the tea was made into a jam.

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Saying that today was a busy day was an understatement. We rushed in and out of tents, and domes, to get ready without freezing to death. Though it was cold and busy, the sight of the mountains and trees we saw yesterday made up for it all. Like mentioned earlier, in my previous journals, we hiked up to the Jade Belt and down for four reasons, and those are personal growth, expanding intercultural understanding, solving real problems, and awareness of impact. Those were the main reasons why we wanted to go up the mountain.

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Today we are getting ready for our camp night and hike to the Jade Belt. We are going to climb 600m upwards, from the altitude of 2,000m, and hike along the Jade Belt for a bit. Altogether, our hike and descend will most likely take us 4 hours. To get ready for our hike, we spent our Evening Activity time to pack up for our hike, and that included, gloves, a stocking cap, warm hoodie, spare jeans, and many more things to keep us warm. In conclusion, just need to bring clothes that will be very warm and beneficial to your hike. Another thing you had to bring was our sleeping bags.

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Today was an eventful day and everything went according to plan. I asked a lot of questions to Ms Yang and she answered a lot of my questions. I spent around ten to twenty minutes in her store just talking about the different reasons why Bai Ethnic Minority clothing has changed so much. She told me that the main reason for the change was because it was easier to walk around. There are still people that wear the traditional Bai Ethnic Minority clothing, but many don't anymore. Today was a tiring day and I hope there more relaxing days to come. See you under the stars...

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Today I visited the Cheese Factory once again and it was amazing. I gathered a lot of things from different owners, and also visited a Miao Ethnic Family store. In there, she told me so much about different stitches that people use to make different stitches. I spent forty-something minutes in the Miao Ethnic Minority learning about her lifestyle and all the different things people want out of embroidery. Tommorrow, I plan on going to a bigger embroidery store and ask them about the preference on embroidery. It'll be great and I bet a lot of fun. See you under the stars...

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Today was the day I have decided to narrow down the things that I might investigate in my Inquiry Project. Just to make it clear, I have decided to search on the preference on a tourist or a citizen of Xizhou. So in the following weeks, I will be sure to research more about that part of embroidery, though I have already done many things on the techniques and the history of embroidery, this might be my biggest topic. Anyways, enough about all the endless things in Inquiry Project. How have you guys been in Shanghai?

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Yesterday, I visited the Cheese Factory where they make cheese and sell tie-dye tapestries and embroidery pieces as well. Today's purpose was to learn about how embroidery is on the market, and also different Happy embroidery to figure out what the differences are. The difference between the two places I found was astonishing, and I almost couldn't believe how different the two places were. In normal local shops, each tapestry cost around eighty yuan, but in Happy Embroidery, where they do everything in the old traditional way, the price of one tapestry was around a few thousand.

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Today was the first day when I can finally learn about embroidery! After so long with all of the introductions and basic on embroidery, I can finally get my hand on the actual fabric and stitch the patterns I want to. Today will be what I will use as my main learning on embroidery. I have heard so much about embroidery itself, and the history, but I have never been able to experience the ways you can create a piece of art where everything looks so realistic.

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Today was our first day out and about, we were on a mission to learn about the citizens of Xizhou. Michael B, Holly D, and I walked around the Main Square talking to citizens and introducing ourselves. All of the elders in the village are so welcoming and nice. While walking around the Main Square we met a lot of new people. Yesterday's memory is still imprinted in my mind and I can't wait until I can go back to Zhoucheng again and visit Xiao Bai and ask her more questions.

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Zhoucheng is the mother city of tie-dye. In that one city, there are so many different stores filled with tie-dye tapestries. Also in the city, there are two big factories where they dye the fabric. There are two specific tie-dye factories, and we visited both. The first one we visited was a synthetic dye factory shop, and the second one was more of a natural dye factory. Both factories have the same process, however, the first one was more of a factory, and the second one was somewhat like a place where tourists come to enjoy the art of tie-dye.

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Today was another eventful day in Microcampus. It was my first time videoing the Daily Video Shout Out and Ana M. and I went to the Main Square to shoot a video for you guys. We shot it there and when we got back it I put everything together. It was pretty much a normal day for everyone. When I went out for my Inquiry Project, Ms Mai, Ms Braverman and I walked around the Si Fang Jie and talking to the citizens of Xizhou about what they know on embroidery. Today, I have finally learned my listen about who to ask and who not to ask.

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The sky here is always so clear and full of life. Today was our first day outside and moving around. I walked around the village with Ms Song and just talked to the citizens of Xizhou. It was fun and interesting getting to know the different embroidery artists and the way that two different Ethnic Minority Group have different ways of embroidery. In total, I only visited two shops, but in each shop, I gathered a lot of information on embroidery and the basic history and understanding of it. In the first shop, it was a Bai Ethnic Minority Group embroidery school.

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Things have really started to begin in Xizhou. We are finally starting our normal routine and it is going to stay like that for the next 24 days. Last night, I mentioned we were looking at stars on a terrace, but I didn't mention where we were. Last night we visited the famous Linden Center, where people from all over the world travel for a few thousand kilometres to visit. The Linden Center itself was filled with antiques and it was history itself. During our tour there, we explored the Library, terrace, and the backcourt yards.

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Today was the first real day we have had in Microcampus. Everyone worked on their Inquiry Project and we prepared for the oncoming weeks. The highlight of our day today was visiting the Linden Center and staring out at the stars for a long time. Is it just me or is the Shanghai sky full of pollution and waste. But, in Xizhou, the sky is so mysterious and filled with wonder.

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Waking up this morning, it took me quite a long time to realise where we were. The bed and blankets that were surrounding me were different from the ones I have at home. I blinked my eyes for a few times, then finally realised that this was my new home, Yangzhouran. With that thought in mind, I climbed out of bed and got ready for the day. After breakfast, Mr Tafel took us to the morning market. It was bursting with people each doing their own things, and continuing with their daily lives. To them, we weren't really anything important, and it felt interesting how no one noticed us.

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Flying over the ErHai Lake was not what I expected. ErHai Lake was reflecting the dazzling sunlight, and the mountains were flourished with trees. Hours earlier, we were gathered in the Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, not knowing what to expect, and what sceneries we would be seeing. However, now that I have arrived in Yunnan, I can see why Mr Tafel and Ms Mai admire and love Yunnan so much. Even though I could not tell what was hidden under the clear blue water, I could still imagine the fishes that swim in the lake. The lush river banks were bursting with different types of plants.

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Hi everyone! My name is Henin C. and I am a 13-year-old attending Microcampus. I am from New Zealand and moved back to Shanghai, China two years ago. Xizhou, Yunnan, is a wonderful place where the sky is blue and the clouds are fluffy and white. I am already settled in and my Inquiry Project is already on its way and getting complete. The people of Xizhou are very friendly and they greet everyone when they happen to see someone.