Nina A. (Alumni-U)'s Journal

Before arriving at this wonderful place called Xizhou, I had a lot of things in mind. The first thing I was not expecting is all the responsibilities and everything you have to manage. I did not know how much trust there would need to be in order to do things that we could have done. During these 28-days I have learned and grown so much, all these things I will take away will be irreplaceable and will be things that I can not do in any other place. 

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We shared our service learning video with our partner today. The other group's partner, other elderly's from the village, people who work in the Linden Center and many other people were invited to the sharing today. When it was our turn, my group and I went to the front of the room and introduced ourselves. We watched Wang Ye Ye and observed his facial expressions while he was watching the video. During the whole video, he paid attention to the video and listened closely to what he was saying.

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Today is Day 25, December 12th. There are 3 more days of this great experience. During still time today, I decided to notice patterns and movements in the sky. It was nice to sit there and enjoy the nice breeze and weather. If it were not for still time I would not have taken time to look up at the sky, look and observe. There were not many clouds this morning, but at midday, they started showing up and the sun was really bright. At noon, we could still see part of the moon as the clouds were not fulling showing yet.

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Today is Day 24, December 11th of the trip. It is our last week here in Xizhou. We had our daily meeting, pitching in, service learning, WIPPIS time in which we had wellness, inquiry project, pitching in and still time. Then we had the 5-45 check in. Today's lunch was out which meant that dinner was going to be in the Yang Zhou Ran. Today during our daily meeting, we had a great surprise. Ms. Ling and Ms. Yo had joined us for a few days. It was really great to see them and meet people that came from our bubble back in Shanghai. We all welcomed them well, and talked to them.

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Today is Day 23, which means that our Inquiry Project is due today. I have the pearls of wisdom talk about my video, Mr. Tafel gave me tips that would make my video better. For our service learning group, we had to turn in our storyboard and the filming had to stop today. My group and I went through the video, and we wrote down everything that our partner was saying. We made sure to not leave anything out. For inquiry work, our final product was due today. I had worked on the written part before so that I could focus on making my video yesterday and today.

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Yesterday, Day 21, we have found a potential service-learning partner. For the whole day yesterday and this morning, my group and I were stressed that we would not find one. When we finally reached the man's Xizhou Baba shop, we asked him if we could ask him some questions. He said YES!! and he said that we could film him in 15 minutes after we came. My group and I then went back to the Yang Zhou Ran, happy and we got all the things we needed to film him. We went back and asked him a few questions.

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Today is Day 21 of the Microcampus trip. Time has flown by so fast, we only have 7 days left here in Xizhou. We have made more connections since we got here, we are talking and there are so many people that we have not talked to. The sky has been less blue these past few days and it has been more chilly. Today during the evening I wrote questions that will be useful for our service learning partners. When we went to talk to them most of our potential service learning partners said no.

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Today is Day 20 of the Microcampus trip. This experience is almost coming to an end. It has flown by so fast. This trip has transformed me,  I have gotten open to the outside world as we are always in the "Shanghai bubble". Today was when we had to start our Inquiry Project Final Product. I started with the introduction part. I talked about what Microcampus is, what Inquiry Project is, why I chose the Local Snacks. We sated to work on our Final Product today. I started today and got my introduction finished.

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Today is December 6th, Day 19, which means that there are only 9 days left for this trip. Today was a day like many others as we had breakfast, SAS Essentials, daily meeting, pitching in, lunch. After lunch, we normally have WIPPIS time but as Phase 4 was due today we all had to meet in Classroom 1 so that Mr Tafel could explain what we had to do in order to complete it and have it well written so that when we make our final product it is in good shape.

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Today during the daily meeting I was the facilitator, which meant that I was the person that conducted the meeting. We then had pitching in, lunch and then WIPPIS time. Every day we are given 4 hours and 30 minutes for WIPPIS time. We are given 2 hours of inquiry project time, 1 hour for pitching in, 1 hour for wellness and 30 minutes of still time.
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Today we had a day like most of them. I started off with doing my SAS Essentials today was math, we then had the daily meeting. For today's daily meeting I was the minutes, which means that I took notes for everything people said. Next daily meeting I will be the facilitator. After the daily meeting, we had pitching in, in which my partner and I had to film our daily video shoutout. We talked about the hike and the camp. We also had all our committee meetings, and this is when I had my talk about the 'hangers and hooks'. After pitching in we had lunch, we all ate inside today.
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Today is December 3rd. It is our second Sunday here in Xizhou. Yesterday when we came back we had to set up our tents so that all the water from the condensation could dry up. We then had lunch outside, and came back had time for service learning, pitching in time, and some downtime and still time. We got to wake up late today which was nice after the hike. I was really tired yesterday as it was the 'after hike', so getting a lot of sleep was very good. I am not that tired but I am kind of sore on my shoulders. For service learning today we went to Si Fang Jie and in the alleyways.

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Today is Saturday, December 2nd. We finished our hike yesterday at 5:30 and then got in the car and reached the campsite at 6:15. The first thing we did when we got there was set up our tents. We then head to eat dinner, which the teachers had kindly organized for us. After dinner, we were allowed to quietly talk in the Dome, which was where we ate dinner. Then we went into our tents so that we could get nine hours of sleep. In the morning, we woke up at 8.00 and we then cleaned up the inside of our tents, then folded our tents. We then headed to breakfast. After breakfast, Mr.

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Today was the day where all of our preparation came to use. We have been preparing for the past three days; on one night we tried out the tents, another night we packed all our clothes that we need and put in our hiking bags. We had an early lunch so that we could have time to hike up. We are going to go up 600 meters, walk on flat land for a bit and then walk down. The hike will take us about 4 hours if we keep a consistent pace and do not slow down too much. We are going to be sleeping at Er Hai level, not so much in altitude so that we are not cold.

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Yesterday was the day when we were preparing for the hike on Friday. We set up the tents and practised to make them and put them away. Today was a day like many other weekdays. We woke up, had breakfast, SAS essentials, daily meeting, pitching in where we had our committee meetings, lunch, and then WIPPIS time. When we came out our rooms today after breakfast we met a man named Wilbur, he specializes in threading. He an accent that sounded like a Texan Accent.

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Today is Day 12 of Microcampus. It is November 29th. For lunch today we were in groups of 2 or 3, and we all ate in Si Fang Jie. For my inquiry project, I went out with Mr. Tafel for teacher support and we went to the cheese factory. Yesterday for teacher support I went with Mr. Chen and it was really useful, as I got a lot of information from various shop owners. Today I hope to see how they make the cheese and see the process of making it. Mr. Tafel was very helpful, and the cheese factory was very interesting. After WIPPIS and dinner, we had our evening programming.

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Today was the 2nd day of the second week here at Microcampus. We met Ms Linden and Nala today for the 2nd time. Nala is Ms and Mr Linden's dog. She is a 4-year-old, she is a mixed breed dog: golden retriever and Labrador. For lunch, we were all in and today evening we are all going to eat out. We have not decided our partners for eating yet. Today I am going out with Mr Chen and Ms Braverman for teacher support. I am going to go see some shop owners and ask them a few questions. I might go to a place like the afternoon market to find people that sell snacks.

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Today is November 27th. Last night for our evening programming, we had the option to play quiet games or working more on our inquiry project. I decided to work more on my inquiry project as I thought it would be a good opportunity to be ahead. Today for lunch, we were partnered with our service learning groups. We went outside to eat My partner Julia J. and I did social wellness so that we could get to know more people around the village.

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Today was the second day of the weekend and laundry. My roommate and I have a lot more clothes compared from last time doing laundry and today. Today we had a wellness reflection for week 1. We meditated for 20 minutes and then we filled in an 18 question document. Today was also a very cold day. Today we woke up at 8:30 and had my roommate and I got 10 hours sleep. Weekends are the best days of the week because we get to sleep in and take a rest from the long weekdays. Today's schedule was like yesterday's.

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Today was the first Saturday in Xizhou. The schedule is very different compared to during the weekdays. Breakfast was later so that we could sleep in, and on the weekends instead of WIPPIS, we have downtime. During downtime, we get to choose what we want to do. During downtime, today, me and my partner are going to the market. After breakfast, we had a history lesson with Mr. Tafel. He also introduced us to our service learning project. Today my group went to the market and we were able to get some contacts. Today was another great day to learn from.

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Yesterday was November 24th. It was a day of thanks, it was a day where we reflected on our past experiences. It was a great day as we have just finished getting to know the village like our homes, and are ready to familiarize ourselves with the surrounding environment. Throughout my independent reflection, I could not help think that we are so lucky to be experiencing this trip. We are finally getting to know China outside the 'Bubble".

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Yesterday morning, before the daily meeting I signed up for teacher support. Later that afternoon I went out with Ms Mai to the village to ask a few questions I wanted the answer to or needed to clarify somethings. We went to the shop called 'Old Town Snacks' where they serve Tafel Rice. We met Mrs Chai and Mr Zhao the owners of it. Today morning was like many other mornings. We had breakfast, SAS essentials, daily meeting, pitching in and then we ate lunch outside the Linden Centre. We had the same partners as yesterday.

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Today was just like many other mornings. During the daily meeting, I was the faciliator. It was a good experience. I went out to the golden flower with Ms Mai to meet the owner of the restaurant and the owner of a Xizhou baba shop. I asked them many questions, including; what is their favorite food to eat, what foods do they eat on different occasions, and how do they choose their famous dishes. I learned many things from the people I met with, and I also got their contacts. At the end of the day, we had our first evening activity.

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Yesterday was a great night. After dinner, we walked to the Linden Centre. We went to the library and also to the terrace. We watched the stars for 30 minutes and it was very pretty.  We learned that the moon was a crescent moon that night. Once we left the terrace the movie committee went to the movie area and checked out 3 movies.

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Today was the second full day at Microcampus. We started off in the morning by waking up at 6.50 so that we would have enough time to get ready. Once prepared we went to eat breakfast. It was similar to what we ate yesterday morning, Er Si noodles, Xizhou bread, pancakes and other really tasty foods to start our day. We then started by doing our SAS essentials for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Today's SAS essentials was math. After that we also had was our first daily meeting. Are we did was pitching in time, it was the first time that we had our committee meeting.

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Today was our first real day in Xizhou. We went exploring around and looking at things that we would need to know. We went around and the first shop we stopped at was a rice factory in which they blended the rice to make noodles. Earlier that morning we ate noodles which were Er Si noodles. In this rice factory, it was where they make the noodles we ate that morning.

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Today was the first day of Microcampus, our travel day. I was sad but excited at the same time to leave my family for one month. We traveled from Shanghai to Xizhou by plane, then took a 1-hour bus ride from the Dali airport to the Linden Center. At the Shanghai airport, Mr. Tafel left the people that finished their inquiry project work go eat at the airport as a group. Everyone that did not do their work on time they had to stay and finish their work. We got 100 kuai to buy breakfast and lunch.

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Hello everyone, my name is Nina A. I am proud to say that I was part of the 2017 Ultimate Pudong Microcampus trip. There are so many things that we have taken away from this amazing 28-day experience. Something that our 'U' group and every other Microcampus group is definitely missing is the blue skies and the white and puffy clouds.