Meera K. (Alumni-A)'s Journal

April 12th: After spending an entire day glued to my laptops finishing work, I felt like I deserved a final trip to Dali. Since some people weren't feeling too good, they stayed back, however a majority of us said 'bye' to Dali for them. Once we arrived ( at around 3:45) Noah, Mirabel, Maddie O. , and I went straight for food. For some odd reason, we ended up eating our dinner at around 4:00. During dinner, we all realized something weird: because of Microcampus, we have learnt to take care of  ourselves so well, that we immediately stacked up our plates after we ate.

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April 11th: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MADELENIE V.!! ... or how I like to say it... HAPSY BIRFDAY! :) Today was a normal work day... so nothing to talk about there. I'll just talk about the traditional birthday celebrations here in Microcampus. First, we all meet in the dining room and stand ( the birthday girl gets the one chair there ) around the table in upcoming birthday order. Then, we be somewhat "normal" and sing Happy Birthday in a low tone ,with the incorrect amount of candles on the cake. After cutting the cake, we go around the circle saying why the birthday person is special.

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April 10th: I love fire. I'm also scared of fire... but I love fire. The part im scared of is just being anxious that the fire will get out of control. With that aside, I still love to be around fire. Today, close to sundown, we were able to go to the lake, and build a campfire. Since, there was space and time, about six people stayed back to actually camp. For the non-campers, we had to start collecting fire wood the second we got there. As the sun slowly went down, we were able to collect enough twigs, dried leaves, and grass to start a small fire.

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April 8th: Another day of work... but we had a late wake up on the bright side! I have been few days behind on blog posts, so please accept my apology. Today, I only had to work for 4/5 hrs since I had gotten a lot more done yesterday. During the afternoon I was able to interview a local here in Xizhou. Her name is Mrs. Yang, and she and her husband own a restaurant called Jin Hua... also known as the Golden Flower. She was all smiles when we were asking her about her life and history in the village.

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April 7th: After this hectic week , relaxing was at the top of my list. However, because of the hectic week, we weren't able to do any work, so my relaxing time turned into work time. Everybody was so far behind, that we had to have a normal wake up at 6:30 and start working by 7:30. I don't mind getting up early, its just that I don't really enjoy waking up... and going straight to work. At about 9:00, we finally got to eat after and hour and a half of listening to growling stomachs. I got a lot of work done during the day actually.

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April 6th: I guess I just forgot how much I missed the wind in my face, since before this bike ride I was always hesitant of riding. Once I got the bike, nothing ruined my mood. ( Not even a little ankle pain) We rode around the village, next to the lake, and through bean fields. Although my bike was fine, there were slight issues with the others... No big deal... just that some bikes didn't have proper seats, or chains at all. :) The bike ride itself was 3 hours all together, however we made some stops along the way. First we went to see a temple.

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April 5th: Hiking down, Dali Old town , Three month festival, and Mirabel birthday were the activities that made up my day. In the morning, I had to wake up extra early to pack up my tent with Madeline C. The hike down was a lot faster since we had lots more energy and motivation. Our motivation was the Three month festival in Dali Old Town. Once we reached the bottom, we left our HUGE backpacks in a bus, grabbed our day packs, and headed towards the festival. 

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April 4th: In the morning, we were able to have another try at a tough hike! We first started out but going to the waterfall, where we had "quiet time" and only then started the strenuous hike up. My ankle was still swollen from the previous day, so I had my own fears to overcome while pushing myself up the mountain. The hike itself was pretty rough. There was no pathway, just dirt and slippery dried pine needles. I slipped multiple times, but surprisingly that made me feel a little better knowing that I could still get up with all that pain. My thoughts...

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April 3rd: So Sore. So tired. So worth it. Today we climbed up a mountain to start our 2 night and 3 day camping trip.  We started out on a cement road, which then turned into dirt, which then turned to rocks. My eyes were facing down most of the time, staring at the ground slowly passing under me. Once we got about ten minutes into it, I noticed my ankle swelling. With my ankle condition, the pressure that not only my body was putting on it at that angle, but the massive weight of my backpack caused lots of pain for me. My thoughts were pretty basic...

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April 2nd: With my family leaving this morning and all of our work rushing back to us, I was really thrown off track. I had to remind myself that getting homesick or giving up, wouldn't help me. Since we had lots of work anyway, I threw my self into it...after a quick workout. Normally when I'm stressed I swim(exercise), paint, or just relax, and since getting some exercise was part of my workload, it made sense to finish it off.  With a relaxed mind, I was able to get a lot of work done without sidetracking too much.

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April 1st: I had to wake up early for my dad today. Waking up early = not fun. Saying Bye = not fun. He had to leave a day earlier because of work. He always likes to tease us saying that we never cries when he leaves for work, and this time due to lots of confusion about airline timings, he left with a quick "bye and good luck", which I though was pretty funny. After he left, I was still really tired from the night before and waking up early that I slept in my parents room at the Linden Centre. My quick nap was followed by a nice long, and hot shower.

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March 31st: Our first day of activities with our families was today! My family and I joined two other families for a Xizhou Baba cooking class in the morning and then joined a huge group to watch fishing in the afternoon.  In the morning, we learned how to make Xizhou Baba! Maya, my little sister, was the first to try it out. She was quiet at first, but then slowly started to ask questions about the process. For me personally, it was funny seeing my family embrace my new lunch  dishes with such interest. :) I was personally shocked on how much lard was put into the Baba itself.

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March 30th: Since my family came earlier then the other families, they went on a village tour in the morning while I was finishing other Microcampus work. For curiosity sake, I sent my camera along with my dad to see how they viewed the village. Below are some photos that my dad took of my sister, and mom on that tour. I was really happy to see my family, and dreading to see them leave. My dad has managed to make it here even with his busy schedule, so that made me really happy.

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March 29th: Our main trip today was an afternoon visit into Zhoucheng. In Zhoucheng, we visited a textile factory and were able to try it out ourselves. Since Maddie and Mirabel have textiles for their project, this trip was pretty helpful to them. The main reason why I loved it was because of the bright colors... perfect for photos! Once we arrived there after a 20 min car ride, we had the chance to try the textile process ourselves! Here is a quick layout:

1) First we were given a piece of cloth with outline

2) We sewed along the outlines:

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March 28th: Tonight was awesome! I know how that sounds, but it was truly.... awesome! I had a lot of fun! Mr. David Sutton ( the sustainability magician) has a soft spot for dancing! He turned on the music tonight, and pulled in a crowd! He first started with slow music where we had the chance to practice our ballroom dancing and then, as the time went by, we moved on to dances such as the chicken dance, cha cha slide, and YMCA. I enjoyed jumping around and enjoying myself after the whole day of working. 

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March 27th: Today was our math quiz! We had sometime to study before, and I definitely  took advantage of that! Everybody found a quiet place to do the quiz along with a pencil and a graphing calculator. I went to the lounge to do my quiz and once I was done, I had to scan it to turn it in. The quiz itself was pretty easy, needed to be careful on careless mistakes. I really enjoyed scanning it to turn it in though. The process took the stress out of turning the paper into a teacher that is watching you during the quiz. After the quiz, we had some free time to catch up on out other work.

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March 26th: Our next stop for the day was at the local Kindergarten! I was extremely excited to visit them and practice my photography with younger subjects. When we arrived, we were all greeted with the small calls of the "Hi!" and "Hello!" from the eager children at their classroom windows. Once their classes were over, we were able to play with them during their recess time. Kids were running allover the place with laughs and smiles on their faces. I managed to communicate with one of the girls, and she was nice enough to show me her classroom.

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March 26: Sha Ping. Sha Ping. Sha Ping. Sounds funny right? Today we had the chance to go shopping in a place called Sha Ping. When we were told about this area, I thought it was a tourist place, but as we arrived, it was revealed to be a local market. I enjoyed looking at the street side snacks, outdoor dentist stand, and small jewelry tables as we walked through. We were able to see a wide variety of things. The thing that I enjoyed the most, was seeing were the open spices piled up in bags everywhere. I loved that smell! My biggest shock was seeing their meat market.

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March 23: Our main journey today was to the tea plantation! I had never been to a tea plantation, let alone any plantation before so I was excited! After driving about thirty minutes up hill, we had a beautiful view from the owners house. First we split up into pairs and picked tea leaves from rows and rows of tea plants. My partner was Noah, and we were really fast! The type of leaves that we were picking was for green tea. We were able to talk to Ms.Li Ping while picking tea leaves and learn about her and how it is like being an only child.

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March 21st: Laundry time! Today Mirabel, Maddie and I, learned how to wash our clothes! Its been four days already, so we figured that we should do a test run. First we had to go the Yang family's second house ( where the actual family lives) and use their washing machine. I am personally used to putting my clothes in ... putting the soap... pressing a button... and my clothes are washed! For here... its a completely different process.

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We have arrived in Xizhou! ( After our 4 hr. plane ride and our 5 hr. bus ride ) The Linden Center as well as the Yang's Guest House ( our "hotel" in the area) gave us a warm welcome and made us feel like we were home extremely fast. Looking around the village, and exploring the Linden Center makes me confident about my inquiry project. I am excited at anxious to start capturing this beautiful weather in my camera. Overall, no complaints … and look forward on sharing my adventure/photos here!

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Hi! I am currently a high school student at SAS Puxi, and a Microcampus Alumni. I wanted to participate in Microcampus since I had always stayed near home, and wanted an adventure. The trip was a fun experience as I was able to meet people from all over China. I would love to help any current/future Microcampus student with any questions they have!