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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

never

ever

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.

becky01px2023's picture

“When adults say, "Teenagers think they are invincible" with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.” -Looking for Alaska 

alan01px2023's picture

Today is our last full day here at Microcampus. It's weird. It's pretty sentimental. Xizhou has been our home for 28 days, one whole month, and now we're leaving it all behind. It's pretty sad if you think about it. So many memories were made here. I'm going to miss the popsicles, noodles, and all the amazing people of the community. Going back to Shanghai will not be easy. It may seem like nothing much, but there are too many differences between Shanghai and Xizhou. It's not going to be easy. I'm going to miss every tiny detail of this beautiful place.

claire01px2023's picture

For some reason, the stress seems to have caught up with me today all of a sudden. Perhaps it is because I have finally begun thinking through the project carefully and realizing the amount of work we have to do in three short days. I have finished the plan for my project, and is halfway done with the script, but there is still so much left to do: drawing the final product, the editing, practicing and recording the voiceover. Not to mention how our service learning partner is not available today.

claire01px2023's picture

This would be a break day usually, but with our deadlines pulling close, everyone is hard at work. It is quiet everywhere, and students are scattered in many different places. Occaisonal bits of voice-lines could be heard in the silence. I am pretty much finished with my inquiry, so there is a sense of incompleteness looming in the corners when seeing everyone typing away at their computers and working when I am all done. There is still some service learning stuff to do, but so far I am on track.

Updated 1 month 3 weeks ago
By Joanne, Audrey, Cathleen, and Jake

Our service learning partner was Mrs. Qin, who is currently 58 years old. She owns a small store by the highway and sells small antiques.

Throughout this experience, I learned that in her village, many people fell into the lake, but only five people were fished out. She was very scared, and everything was chaos back then. It was all one party fighting another, and the fighting would not stop for many years. 

joanne01px2023's picture

I was really nervous to see what people's reactions are to our service learning video, but in the end, it was really successful. People seemed like they were enjoying it, and I actually enjoyed seeing people's reactions to our video. I thought that people would have black faces when watching, but then had really pleasant faces and happy faces. 

Updated 1 month 3 weeks ago

By Audrey, Cathleen, Jake, and Joanne

Our service learning partner was 59-year-old Mrs. Qin. She has five sisters, a son, a daughter, and she lives with her husband down at Lake Erhai. She works at a small stall selling antiques, small jade articles, Quotations from Chairman Mao books, and bracelets near the highway at Zhengyimen. Born in 1960, Mrs. Qin has seen many events in Chinese history including the Cultural Revolution. She has tried many occupations and spent limited years at school, as it was not popular during the time. 

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