Madeleine V. (Alumni-A)'s Journal

Hi Everyone! I'm Madeleine, I was part of the pilot program in 2012, and I just want to wish you all a fabulous time in Xizhou. Today our high school 'Friends of Xizhou' club had a meeting- super exciting stuff coming up! Apart from that, I urge you all to make the most out of your Xizhou experience, and be really effective in how you spend your time. :) I would do it all over again in a heartbeat (actually I kind of want to go back and stay at Yang's (pilot program will remember...I can't believe we're all sophmores now, ugh) and gather more research! 

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I'm here, at the microcampus, to learn. Not to sit in a classroom all day. Not to cram in subject material so I can pass a test. To genuinely learn, not just about my host country, but also about myself, and the world, in a way that no textbook could ever teach me. I'm here to explore, I'm here to challenge myself. I'm here to get out of the Shanghai bubble and be spontaneous. I'm here to explore what I want to explore. I'm here to learn how to motivate myself. I'm here to learn skills that will last me for the rest of my life. I'm here not to simulate experiences, but to live them.

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TODAY WAS MY BIRTHDAY :D

 

It was especially fun today. I woke up from camping and we cooked leftover marshmallows! When we went back to Yang's, Ms. Stagg gave me some presents from my grandmother! Huge thank you to Donnie for the amazing Frida Kahlo Watch and In Focus book! I've always loved that book so much (: The rest of the day we did a lot of working During the cake time, we had a lot of fun! I went around a gave thanks for all of the very, very special people on the microcampus trip. It was a great day. 

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Today, I decided to go camping with some kids from Microcampus! However, before we went camping all of the kids joined us for smores! We had a great time, eating and listening to each other playing guitar, talking and laughing. Some things about this place are truly remarkable! That night, we could see the stars, so many of them! I've actually never seen that many at once. I love camping. I plan on doing it a lot more when I'm old enough. 

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Another busy day of learning at the microcampus! KT, Mirabel and I went to Sha Ping and Zhoucheng to research our projects. I've mentioned this in earlier posts, ShaPing is a traditional Bai Minority market, selling everything from food to gardening supplies. Sha Ping is the most authentic place that I've seen traditional Bai clothing being sold, which is why I wanted to go. At Sha Ping, I interviewed two elderly woman, who told me about the Feng Hua Xue Yue and other natural elements in Erhai Lake valley depicted in Bai Minority clothing.

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On Day 22 of the Microcampus, I went to Dali! It was easter, so Katie wanted to see a church service. Madeleine C. and I decided to tag along with her! I got a lot on my project done, almost all of my questions were answered! Madeline C. also went to research her tea project, where I taste Puer tea for the first time. After researching our own projects, we went to the Church service. The church service was pretty cool. I've never been to church in China. A bright red cross was hanging on the wall, and Chinese ten commandments were there as well. A church choir was singing too.

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Is that despite the fact that my inquiry project is on Bai Minority clothing, I don't really like fashion.

Why I chose the project is simple:

To use elements of Bai Minority clothing in my own artwork and design.

My Ideas for my final project:

Bai Minority Headress: Shanghai Style.

Re-make a Bai Minority costume out of alternate materials. 

etc. 

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My Inquiry project topic has been changed from Education in Xizhou to Bai Minority clothing. The most noticeable aspect of the Bai clothing is the headpiece worn by women, which is supposed to symbolize the snow, wind, moon, and flower. Because in my Phase 3, I am only supposed to have brief descriptions of my findings, I decided to write my 18th journal about how the Bai minority values the moon, and why it is a symbol in Bai clothing, art, and culture. 

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My Inquiry project topic has been changed from Education in Xizhou to Bai Minority clothing. The most noticeable aspect of the Bai clothing is the headpiece worn by women, which is supposed to symbolize the snow, wind, moon, and flower. Because in my Phase 3, I am only supposed to have brief descriptions of my findings, I decided to write my 18th journal about how the Bai minority values wind, and why it is a symbol in Bai clothing, art, and culture. 

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Today we went to go camping! Our morning was spent on inquiry, service learning and wellness plans. Then, we ate lunch at the center and went on our way to Dali old town to buy food. Mirabel, my tent-mate and I bought so much peanut butter, and things you could spread on peanut butter. For dinner that night, we ate crackers with peanut butter. The hike up to the camp ground was extremely tiring. I haven't done such rigorous exercise in a very, very, long time, aside from the 5 km run Madeline C, KT and I did the day before. The heat was so annoying on that hike up!

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After a long. tiring day at the microcampus, we had a dance party! David sutton gave us "salsa lessons". We learned three different types of salsa. It was pretty fun. Today I worked a lot on my science project. Our science assignment was to create imovies about our science unit, but today I mostly did the research for it. I am so excited for the actual editing of it. I'm extremely passionate about making movies, a reason why I'm quite excited for the service learning component of the project.

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Today's title pretty much sums up our entire day! In the afternoon, we had a small math quiz, which apparently I did ok on (: So I was happy about that, because it brought my grade up a bit. After the Math Test, we watch David Sutton do magic tricks. While teaching us magic tricks, he taught us about sustainability, the subject he taught as a professor at Stanford. It was really interesting talking to him and listening to him. He talked about his love of art and science, and how he had trouble choosing between them during his college years.

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Today went went Shopping. At a place called Sha Ping. I wonder if the people that go regularly realize how wonderfully puntastic that is. During microcampus, we’ve made over 400 puns. I started counting them during meetings as a way to pay attention, but I kind of got tired of counting and eventually just started making estimates. Anyways, at the Sha Ping market, Madeline Chen and I went around and looked at all that the market had to offer. I bought baby doll shoes for my sister’s dolll, and perhaps too many apples. I swear, we went to one stand and ate the best apples in the world!

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Today we went to a tea plantation! I've only picked tea once before. I love picking tea, it's so peaceful and nice. When you're in the mountains on a foggy day, it feels like you're on top of the world. We also figured out how to make tea. What struck me as interesting is that the type of tea does not depend on the plant, it depends on how you make the plant. After picking our tea, we went on a hike uphill to a waterfall. When we got to the top, it was beautiful, pools of water that were so clear. There was a small crevice between two boulders at the base of the waterfall.

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Today was our day to catch up on school, projects, and blogging. I basically did schoolwork the whole day, and talked to my friends via email. I feel like I haven't been talking to people back home enough, haha. For lunch today we ate at sifangjie, and Madeline Chen and I ate Xizhou BaBa, which gets better every time I eat it! Sometimes it's too oily, sometimes too sweet! At the end of the night, Madeline, Katie, Maddie, Sabrina, Audrey and I decided to go back to the Guesthouse to watch a movie we picked out the day before, but instead, we stumbled upon the Linden Centre staff dancing!

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The highlight of my day is listed in the title. Katie and Madeline taught me how to play. It reminds me of go fish, uno, mao, etc. It became addictive, and I've won twice :D Another highlight of the day was going to DaLi Old Town! Dali reminded me of Shanghai a little more, except it had a completely different vibe. Dali seems way more relaxed than Shanghai, and in our daily Shanghai lives, we're always so busy, everyone trying to get where they want to go, caught up in their own lives, not bothering to say "hi" when they meet someone new.

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Day two at the microcampus was amazing. We explored Xizhou the whole morning and took a look at the new microcampus site- to all of the seventh granders out there, it looks like an incredible place! We're not staying there now because it's under construction. Instead, We're staying at the Yang's Guesthouse. At the guesthouse, there are beautiful wooden carvings that are extremely impressive! For lunch, I ate noodles at sifangjie- the town square. It was very delicious. Here in Xizhou, they have two types of noodles- mixian and ersi.
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Tonight we got into Xizhou. It feels somewhat unreal. After a long plane ride and and even longer bus ride, we put our bags in the Yang's Guesthouse and went to the Linden Centre. I was immediately impressed with the whole place. It's beautiful here, and very relaxing. Plus, the food is amazing. It's organic and delicious and it sure beats the cafeteria food. After dinner, we sat out on the terrace and looked at the stars. It was incredible. We saw so many stars, and Mr. T's expertise really helped us get the most out of that. I'm here back at the Yang's Guesthouse.

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Hello, I'm Madeleine. I was in the pilot Microcampus program in 2012. In Xizhou, I researched Bai Minority Clothing because of my interest in the patterns and embroidery on Bai clothing. Though a seemingly lackluster topic, I found that my project became less and less about clothing, and more about the preservation of traditions in a village that is becoming more and more exposed to the world outside of the valley. I welcome you to take a look at my project, and see how my ideas and thoughts had developed over the course of a month!