Ryane L. (Alumni-G)'s Journal

I came to Microcampus because I thought it was time to grow up, to learn independence, and prepare.

I've often dreamt of travelling, of going places, and seeing things, knowing the beauty of the world and all it entails. To fall in love with sights and moment and places, to be filled with such wanderlust that you burst.

But how does one do that when they have not even left home?

I wanted to have an amazing experience.

And so I did.

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Last night, during our trip to Dali Old Town, Lauren, Alina, and I had decided to get exceptional decked out today for absolutely no reason.

And so we did.

Lauren and I woke up, dressed in our minority costumes and walked into the breakfast room briskly and as if a pair of Siamese twins.

Mr. T, bless his heart, looked up and remarked in a clearly dazed voice, "Wait... Something's different..."

Yes T, we, for once, are not dressed like utter slobs.

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My experience with Mr. Li Zhi Yuan, thanks to him, has been a very smooth and easy one. We were introduced by the very kind owner of the Golden Flower restaurant, Mr. Yang, on the first day of Service Learning research and he has been a steadfast and vastly interesting partner. We sat with him for the first time a couple of weeks ago and he was helpful and enthusiastic, seemingly very comfortable with being videoed, recorded, and gently interrogated.

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It's kind of ironic that the tastes of Xizhou prompt fell on today.

Because just this morning, Harry and I were cooking up maple syrup crêpes for breakfast.

The tastes of Xizhou and light and airy, dusty with a hint of wood.

It's salty and soy sauce-y, noodles in a stone pot bowl.

It's sweet and sugary, pancakes in the morning.

It's spicy and obnoxious, they put too much chili in the beef.

The taste of garlic in the air, the cashew chicken we order too often.

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The first time Dannes asked me to go out with her to take pictures for her final project, I was busy.

She didn't ask me again.

But after I finished my Inquiry work and found myself with a painful amount of free time on my hands, I knocked on the TV room door and asked if she wanted to leave.

She did.

After a Marianas Trench filled walk there, we arrived at the Golden Flower where she was determined to film the staff there hustling and bustling about in the muted four PM sun.

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Today was editing day!

Service Learning video, Inquiry Project video, previous daily video shoutout videos, I do most of the editing in teams.

Which I suppose is ironic as I am truly not very good with editing, for iMovie befuddles me.

I must say I did well though.

YOU MAY CALL ME STEVEN SPIELBERG.

Steven Spielberg is a director...

Oops.

I had an extremely productive day and spent a good portion of my afternoon and morning doing work, resting only to play a little more than an hour of guitar with Shane from 7 something.

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Today, in a moment of weakness and sheer boredom, I agreed to follow Dannes and Lauren to an burned down, abandoned house near the Linden Centre.

BEST IDEA OF MY LIFE.

I enjoyed traipsing carefully through the overgrowth of weeds and plants mingled with the broken carpet of sticks that blanketed the ground. We observed many things within the house and each dreamed up ideas of how the house burned and what it looked like before.

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The smells of Xizhou...

Well, I suppose the most noticeable difference would be the obvious lack of pollution in the general atomosphere around us, but...

I don't think that's what you mean. 

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Today was the deadline for our all Phase 3 of our Inquiry Project work!

Twenty sources, T said.

I am never going to get that many, I thought.

However, with much wandering and a great deal of help from Harry and Austin, I HAVE FOUND THEM.

Nothing is sweeter than the sugary delightfulness of SUCCESS.

Well, partial success, twenty is the minimum.

But no matter, for my information is vast in amount and great in general.

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So today I began my wolf!

What does that mean?

Let me explain! My final project is an embroidered emblem of a wolf, I have already completed my vaguely tattoo-esque pattern on the side and the golden moon dead center. Today, I began my wolf, the beautiful silver mass of animal that makes the piece special.

I had already unsuccessfully attempted numerous times to begin it before, however after a quick phone call with Ms. Li (the ultimate master) everything was cleared up.

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Ah, mountainous ground. 

The mountainous, mountainous ground.

The smooth of the silk splayed across my palms and the Linden walls my fingers dance upon. Callouses on my fingertips and the dryness of my lips, leathery and feathery like my personality. I feel the ground through my shoes, the uneven, crooked roads, that will eventually lead me to my destination, a thousand miles from home. I feel rice on my tongue, pebble-ish and tasteful, I feel my bed under my feet, the dreamlike state of excitement. 

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Unfortunately, Lauren woke me up most unceremoniously at EIGHT O'CLOCK AM despite Mr. T's telling us we could wake up whenever we wanted to get breakfast with Harry. After a delicious Tai Fei fried rice breakfast with freshly squeezed lime juice, the three of us set off to the supermarket to stock up on comfort food as most of our supplies had been depleted during the hike.

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Wow, the last day was easy.
WOW, the last day was easy.
WOW, THE LAST DAY WAS EASY.

Finally, as my friends struggled and bumbled and fell, I rose and walked steadily and easily down three thousand two hundred thirty two feet with my trusty walking stick and new motto: I don't even care.

I came up with this motto when crossing various streams, while my fellow Groundbreakers tried painstakingly to avoid getting their hiking boots wet, I simply walked across without looking back.

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Now, I understand that the title of this blog post is humiliatingly cliché.

I know it, I do.

But that's what it was.

Standing atop that massive mountain, looking down upon the multiple oases, yaks, and excrement littered about like sesame seeds, I truly felt as though I was on top of the world. At that moment, I knew that whatever I would have to endure and whatever I had already endured would be and was worth it. I lay on the grass watching the sky, saw various pokémons in tree patterns (Darkrai), and felt alive.

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As many people in Xizhou referenced Happy Embroidery over the course of their 3-5's, I had decided to set up a time for a class today and arrived promptly at 2:15. Ms. He and Ms. He (no relation) had already advised that I either choose a pre-printed embroidery pattern or draw one myself with a pen, because I was unsatisfied with most of the prints there (extremely picky, I am), I chose the latter.

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Today, we learned from our chaperone's Mr. Tafel and Ms. Mai how to set up tents.

Mr. T, naturally, cracked a billion tent jokes and spontaneously busted out sporadic tent puns.

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Today, our illutrious teacher Mr. Tafel took me to visit a very special person named Mr. Li, who is the lovely local antique dealer and a really great guy. As soon as Mr. T informed me that Mr. Li had a couple of antiquated pieces of traditional Bai embroidery, I jumped at the chance to meet him and have a meaningful talk. Upon entering, I noticed beautiful period pieces hung charmingly haphazardly on the walls and stacked in a glass cabinets surrounding the shop. Mr.

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Today, we woke up to a lovely pancake/noodles breakfast at the Linden Centre and began our second SAS Essentials math class in which I completed my week's worth of work early. Then, I facilitated the daily meeting, prior to that I had a Skype chat with my sensational Social Studies teacher Mrs.

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Day 2! The Groundbreakers have (quite naturally) alredy begun to fall head over heels in love with absolutely everything Xizhou, from the lovely Linden Centre to Mr. Yang's Golden Flower Restaurant. We began the day with a scrumptious Linden Centre breakfast and some settling in (unpacking). Then, all sixteen of us promenaded around Xizhou, stopping once in a while for one of T's scintillating lectures (boring albeit filled with priceless wisdom).

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Math question. What do you get when you add a two and a half hour plane ride, a six hour bus ride, and a five thirty am meeting time? Grumpy. I'm just kidding. Despite this, not only did we have an incredibly energetic day, filled with new experiences and a multitude of laughs, I—for the first time—laid eyes on the majesty of legendary constellation Orion's Belt standing next to friend and fellow Microcamper Orion, ate traditional Yunnan cuisine (loved it), and connected with my group members in a way I had never before.

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Last night was our Groundbreakers team lock-in! We were told lots of information regarding our upcoming trip and what it means to be a responsible, well-prepared Microcamper. Not only did guidance counselor Ms. Kinsella come in to talk to us a little bit about wellness, but our Middle School nurse Mrs. Maloney informed us of safety, hygiene, medication, and others via pre-recorded video. 

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My name is Ryane and I am a fourteen year old student in SAS Puxi. My interest in Microcampus stemmed from a desire to participate in something outside of my sheltered metropolitan lifestyle where everything is done for me and I am painfully inexperienced. I have lived in Shanghai for eight years now but was born in Taipei, Taiwan to an English speaking family of six cousins and numerous relatives. I have left Xizhou and missing it most painfully, however, I am happy and excited for all future Microcampers and the amazing experience they will experience. Be good to T and Ms. Mai!