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jacob01px2023's picture

Gears cranked as the sun falls, as if behind the building, as if to make an explosion, yet all that came was the gentle breeze that sends a coldness that shatters one's spine. Cats and dogs seemed to be fighting in the alleys. A distant alarm rung. The world seemed to twist outside the walls into something too insane. Like an ancient Vegas, with its people and what it once was, crumble to dust, for the rectangular papers people call life. 

jacob01px2023's picture

The dining room was arranged to have two rows of wooden benches along the walls, an aisle between like a church, leading up to the projector on a wooden table that became the podium. The elders sat in front, students sat in the back, teachers standing in the back. An old man or two sat at the doorway, listening to the videos play, sighing while smoking. 

jacob01px2023's picture

The switches responded with darkness, the water turned cold. The blue morning light shown mildly through the silk curtains, fragmented like strands. 

The weight light pressured upon my eyes was then lifted, made it light enough to not feel the layers of things, for they all became muddled, as the layers conjured, and became the other. 

Night fell, yet the lightness of lightless never seemed to part through the dark. 

joanne01px2023's picture

Today is the last full day here in Xizhou, and I will miss this place very dearly, as well as the people in Xizhou. After staying 28 days here, it has become my home, and I do not think I will ever forget this place and the people here. 

jacob01px2023's picture

The morning sun stung my eye from completely opening, and everything remained in the minute slit that's fragmented by eyelashes. Limited vision forced me to seek for something afar, and soon, the memories of past and visions of future obtained conciouses of their own and seemed to tamper my thinking about the present. Time blurred and the acts of moving seemed to have lost its meaning. Everything seemed to become the things I've lost and will lost, positivity rested in a distant state of mind.

joanne01px2023's picture

Today is Pepijn V.'s birthday and we celebrated by eating cake and of course, Oreos. This is one of the first birthday party that we actually surprised the person who is celebrating their birthday. We all signed a card and gave it to him. We had teachers there also, so we also gave them a piece of cake. 

lifan01px2023's picture

There were many reasons why I wanted to go to Microcampus. Before I even knew what topic I was going to choose, I knew that I wanted to go to Xizhou because it was such a small and peaceful village. When I signed up, I did a bit of research. The pictures of the landscape were just amazing and I realized that this was somewhere I wanted to go to. The lake and the mountains were such an amazing view, and I haven't even seen the actual thing. Another reason I wanted to go is because of the experiences that I will have.

joanne01px2023's picture

Microcampus was such a life-changing experience for me. I never thought that this experience could change me so much as it did. When I applied for Microcampus, I did not think that I would actually get in, but when I did, millions of thoughts popped into my mind. How would the experience be like? Who would be my roommate? What would be my inquiry project? I had millions of questions and thoughts running through when I realized I was chosen.  

lifan01px2023's picture

Today we presented our videos to our partners. Mr. T made us sit in front of the audience and observe their reactions to the video. I specifically focused on Mr. Tan, our Service Learning Partner. When I first met Mr. Tan, I thought that he was a very boring person who does not like to have conversations with others. When we observed him and did our bee role film, everything was of him sitting down and sleeping or setting up his shop, not very interesting. Today, I observed him watch our video. His reactions and facial expressions were something I have never seen before.

cathleen01px2023's picture

Today Jake, Audrey, Joanne, and I wandered around the streets, looking for people to talk to. We were looking for people to help us in our service learning project, though somehow, we hadn't found anyone. Tired of walking, we sat down under a tree on a curb. There, we looked to the right and we began to be utterly fascinated by an embroidered cloth that had Chairman Mao on it.

jasmine01px2023's picture

Why I Came to Microcampus? A question all Microcampus members have been trying to answer the entire trip. Why is it that 16 students would want to go to Xizhou, away from their parents for a month? I have my own explanation. And this will have to trace all the way back to five months before today when I first heard the two words micro and campus said together. That day, all the 8thgraders of Shanghai American School were gathered in a small room with a projector at the front of it.

cathleen01px2023's picture

I came to Microcampus, looking for adventure and insight on the world that I live in. I wanted to learn from a new perspective and a new method. The concept of field research was quite new to me and so I wanted to understand it more. Furthermore, my sister had also gone to Microcampus and I wanted to see the village she described as great. I thought that I could explore something new and about people that I absolutely did not know. Overall, I think that I came to Microcampus because of my curiosity and how I realized that I did not know anything about Xizhou.

emilly01px2023's picture

"No matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away." 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore 

jasmine01px2023's picture

Xizhou, the people of Xizhou, the culture of Xizhou, the simplicity of Xizhou all of Xizhou would never be forgotten by me. In the 672 hours I spent in this wonderful community, I learned so much about myself and the others around me. It felt like yesterday when I walked into the doors of Yang Zhuo Ran, curious to find out more about this place. And now, I am 20 hours away from leaving. I will miss all the people I have met during my time spent here. All I can say is that farewells for now and I will definitely come back with my family in the future.

cathleen01px2023's picture

As I was walking back from snapping a photo for my group's service-learning partner, I guided myself along the zigzag path that Yang Zhuo Ran, the place that I have been staying, is located in. While walking down that path, I saw a lady carrying 5 large jugs of water, 3 jugs on a weaved basket-bag on her back and 2 jugs in her hands.

cathleen01px2023's picture

I walked along the alleyway, waving goodbye to those who I spent time in meeting for the past 27 days. I smiled towards Mr. Yan, who sold us Xizhou babas whenever we asked. Along with Mr. Yan, I smiled and converse with individuals that I had gotten to know who were down the alleyway. It is amazing how in 24 hours from today, I will probably be on a bus to Dali Airport, waiting for a flight back to Shanghai. I remember reading from a book that goodbyes are good things since it means that you will or at least want to see them again.

audrey01px2023's picture

Xizhou, my dear home away from home, you had been such a spectacular host for fifteen classmates and myself. You take up such an important part of my heart. You are truly irreplaceable with anything in comparison, nothing can change how much you mean to me.

becky01px2023's picture

This is our last week. 

A few more days later and we will be back in Shanghai. 

This is no perfect happily ever after ending, as we will be leaving our home away from home: Xizhou. 

becky01px2023's picture

Have you ever thought about just how much thoughts run through our minds every single day? How many threads of thoughts wander in our heads and then before we catch on to them, they run away once more? 

Well, I have. 

We have 50,000 -70,000 thoughts per day. 

This is, to say the least, a lot of words floating through our minds. 

And you know what, sometimes it is alright to just let these thoughts go. We do not have to feel the need to catch on to them. 

We can let them be. 

becky01px2023's picture

I think this excerpt perfectly describes how humans work and I wanted to share this with you all: 

becky01px2023's picture

"Do I dare / Disturb the universe?" -T.S. Elliot

No. No, I do not. 

Who dares? 

Who can ever have so much strength? 

And even

if you gathered enough courage to move the world,

the universe will



move for you. 

You will be forgotten only years after you die,

and eventually, 

no one will remember you. 

The crease of your eyebrow or

your limp when you walk. 

No one will recall any of this.

And yes, we must still make the most of our lives. 

becky01px2023's picture

Today I biked through a different route, and it was an amazing experience. I had the chance to experience something new, exciting, and completely different. I saw another view that was, like always, breath-taking. But the best part was that during the biking trip, our entire biking group had the opportunity to spread positivity. We literally said 你好 to every single person we whizzed across, and with the company of the mountains and the sun and the people, it just felt great to be able to get others to smile.

dora01px2023's picture

It is time. The last full day in Xizhou is counting down. No more daily meetings. No more fighting for restaurants. No more texting Mr. T everywhere we go after today. Some of us might still have the chance to return, but it will never be the same without the people from our Wildfires team. Sadness washed over me as I began to pack my luggage and say goodbyes to the new friends I had made here. I want to thank Mr. T and Ms. Mai for their guidance, patience, knowledge, and at last, unconditional love and support for every one of us.