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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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Yesterday I thought I was not going to be going to Dali old town but I was pleasantly surprised. All the students went to Dali old town and ate there that night. I and Austin went together as a pair and ate at Sandra's... Something. This was apparently the same restaurant that Mr. T had to take all of the misbehaving kids to eat at, which was a low number of 6. I ate a bolognese Meatball pasta and Austin ate a cheese pizza. I also ordered an awfully disgusting drink, an Oreo milkshake, which was okay but too sugary for the salty foods I was eating.

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Although there are a lot of tourists here in Xizhou, I stand out. I have very bright vibrant red hair, and it makes me stand out. Here in Xizhou, there are not a lot of redheads, and it causes me to stick out like a sore thumb. Sometimes it can help to connect with people because my red hair can be a talking point and this leads to other topics which can make people more friendly told me. Another reason I stand out is my blue eyes. Blue eyes are very uncommon in Xizhou, and most people have brown eyes not blue.

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I went to eat breakfast and was surprised by the new selection of foods, which included fried eggs and mushroom buns. I ate the mushroom bun and realized that I do not really like mushrooms... not at all. Today is also the day Phase 3 is due and although I got all the information I need about tools, health benefits, color, age, price, packaging, everything, but I have no idea what my final product will be.

josephine01px2022's picture

Today, my Service Learning group, Sonia Z., Anders L., Sunny Q., and I went to the photoshop to print out the picture of us and Mr. Li. Mr. Li is the elder who we spent tea with at his house. He is very nice and we took a picture together. We promise to give one copy of the picture to him because he keeps photographs, with some that were taken in 1995 and others in 2007.

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I finally figured out a hobby that would be really fun, tea making. After seeing so many people brew tea and after learning so much about tea, I feel like it would be really fun and cool to get a tea set and cook tea in front of my friends and make cool comments like let me show you the true way of tea. Okay, that might be a bit weird, but it is cool none the less. It could also work as a cool present from my parents. Anyways, today, I bought some more tea, but much higher quality. I bought a cake of Pu'er Shou tea, and apparently because I was a student, I got 50RMB off.

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I love camping. The feeling of being outdoors so close to nature and setting up the structure that you will sleep in. I am sad to report that the camping I had yesterday was not the best. I had a relatively easy time getting to sleep, but the problem was the waking up in the middle of the night with stomach pains. It started at about 11 pm, and it was just a standard stomach ache that did not mean much and I tried to sleep through it. It kept getting worse and worse until I needed some fresh air I got up out of my tent hoping that after getting up for 2 seconds would help me fall asleep.

josephine01px2022's picture

Today, Sonia Z., Anders L., Sunny Q., and I went to Mr. Li's place to have tea. At first, he wasn't expecting us to come because it was during his lunchtime, so he told us to go out for 30 minutes. Thus, we spent our still time there, looking at the street. Once it was about 30 minutes, we came back and Mr. Li made tea for us.

anders01px2022's picture

Today for our unique Friday activity, we went out for a long hike. The days schedule become out of whack with no daily meeting and WIPPIS time but we instead we went out for a walk and camping. The first part of the trail was straight uphill. For about an hour and a half, we went up a 600-meter vertical climb. It was a big challenge with a hiking backpack on our backs.

Updated 8 months 1 week ago
sunny02px2022's picture

First of all, I would like to say how I understand that this trip will involve me researching a topic of high interest about Xizhou's culture and/or people for an extended period of time. This meant that I could not just pick any topic for the inquiry project, but a topic that I will be interested in for a long time, as I will be staying in Xizhou for 28 days.

josephine01px2022's picture

I am so excited to go to Xizhou. I went with the Microcampus Voyagers group to the airport. When we went to Xizhou, we all noticed that everywhere we looked, there is a yellowish tint in the coloring. The best I can describe is when you look at an old photograph that has a lot of yellow in the picture. It was amazing. In a couple of minutes of walking outside down the street, we were right in front of the bus that will be taking us to YangZhuoRan. Before we can head to the bus, however, we needed to put our luggage into the trunk.

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