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Updated 2 months 2 weeks ago
By Taylor S., Clark W., Shirley X., and Ethan Z.
 
My Service Learning partner was Mrs. Yang, 62, who made a living in tie-dye and various other sewing endeavours. She lives in Zhoucheng, but comes to Xizhou to sell her tie-dye.  
 
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Life in Microcampus is like this. We can crash down into the ground in the mornings and recover again with light and hope in the afternoon. My mood fluctuated severely today. Due to some conflicts and hardships, while finishing our service learning project, I faced some instability in terms of my emotional wellness. 

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The Microcampus Voyagers pivotal priority today was to finish editing and translating our Service Learning movie. My Service Learning group -- Sunny, Josie, Anders, and I had two hours of film and we had to synopsize or condense the central points of Mr. Li's (our Service Learning partner) life as well as incorporating his values and principles all within a five-minute video.

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Today during lunch, Mr. T showed us two videos: The 1988 Crystal Light National Aerobic Championship Opening and Mr. T's Treat Your Mother Right. I learned today that Aerobics is a form of physical exercise that combines rhytmic and vigorious exercises with stretching and strength training routines with the goal of improving all elements of fitness (flexibility, muscle fitness and cardio-vascular fitness). After witnessing intense aerobic dance moves and the amount of calories burned through aerobics, I want to do aerobics for Wellness Time! 

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The question that all Microcampus students eventually ask themselves and have asked themselves several times throughout their trip, both on the ups and on the downs, is why did I come to Microcampus? Why did I decide that I want to be a member of this month-long journey? Why decide that I wanted to miss out on Shanghai for a month, only to find a new home in Xizhou, and then have to leave it within days of realizing I love it? Well, here are my reasons for it.

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Tonight the Evening Activity committee have planned for us to have a trivia night! Our groups are our Service Learning partners. My teammates are Josie, Sunny, and Anders. All the different groups must have a distinct "style" or theme that symbolizes or emphasizes our personalities and group dynamic.

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Today Josie, Anders, Sunny, and I enjoyed afternoon tea with Mr. Li at his house. Not only did we drink the tea, but we were taught how to make the tea. The first step was to use a hammer and crack open the walnuts. Then, we would use a cheese-like shredder to grate the walnuts in order to create walnut flakes. While we were doing this, Mr.

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I never understood what complete silence actually meant until I stared at the sun setting on the terrace. Mr. T brought all of us to the back courtyard of the Linden Centre and showed us a stone over thousands of years old sitting on the grass of a section of the courtyard. After that, he guided us up on the stairs of the rooftop, known as the Terrace, and we all pulled out chairs and sat down. It took my eyes about a whole minute to adjust to the absolutely breathtaking view. The field of the bright yellow canola plants stretched for miles and miles.

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Today, I had more chance to get used to Xizhou and look around the town to know where I will constantly be visiting over the next few weeks. The way back to Yangzhuoran was much easier than what I expected it would be like; I only needed one or two practices until I was able to navigate myself. In the morning, we explored the marketplace and moved on the Sifangjie where many stores and restaurants were gathered around a rectangular public square.

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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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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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I did my Service Learning work with my partners. They are Sonia Z., Anders L., and Sunny Q. However, Sonia was not feeling good, so she was resting. All of a sudden, I hear a lot of voices behind me, and Sunny suddenly stood up. I was very confused. I did not know what was going on. Everyone went behind me. Because of my curiosity, I turned around. Then, I saw someone that I had seen, a month ago.

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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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Today was a different day, compared to my other days. I am sick, so I had to go to the treatment room. However, one person already occupied the treatment room, meaning that I had to go to another room, Room 6. When I first came into the room last night, it was very big and beautiful. There were two beds and a wide desk for myself. The bathroom is also big, fitting the shower, the sink, the toilet, and the laundry machine. Room 6 is very big, and I am grateful to stay in here. All of today, I could not come out of the room, because I have to rest. I did a lot of sleeping, which I enjoyed.

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Sonia Z., Sunny Q., and I went to visit Mr. and Ms. Yang. They are one of our potential service-learning partners. They were selling fruits. We bought one type of fruit that we loved yesterday: The Elderberries. In fact, we all did not know what these berries are. At first, I thought this was huckleberries because I had never tried one. It actually, wasn't, so I assumed it might be elderberries.They were very sweet and not tart at all.

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Today we went hiking on a large mountain for 6 and a half hours. It was definitely very tiring, but in the end, I felt accomplished. When we first went hiking, we were dropped off from the bus in a place that is just right next to the mountains, however, there were a lot of construction workers building buildings. When we reached out first checkpoint, it was very close to where we first started out with. However, everyone was tired from carrying their heavy hiking backpack. When climbed the mountain, following the trail that was actually meant for water to flow down.

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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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Today is the last day of official work, the last day of Service Learning, the last day of labor before tomorrow, where we will have finally finished everything we need to do. This also means however that we are nearing our departure of Xizhou to a place called Shanghai, a place where the skies are not blue, a place where there are no such things as a small village or a community, but instead one big mashup of buildings and communities.

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