Qiqi Chen: Opening Up to Chendu

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, is known as the “City of Hibiscus,” the “Broacade City,” and the “Turtle City” in China. However, without knowing the history, I have only heard of it being called the “Country of Heaven” from some newspaper clippings a few years back.  For a city with such a gorgeous name, I have imagined many times what my life would be like in such a place at the opposite side of the world.  Away from my family, away from my friends, and away from everything I have known my entire life, for the first time since moving to the United States around the age of five.

After being here for almost three weeks, I’m starting to slowly fall in love with this place, a place that illustrate calmness and exemplifies the outward-bound between the local people with the foreigners that come to visit. Chengdu currently gives me a feeling of being my third home, the first two being Atlantic City and Guangzhou, a place where I grew up and a place where I was born, respectively. Over here in Chengdu I have made a lot of friends, not only with my fellow classmates but also with the interns who work at the Chengdu American Center, my tutor for my Chinese lessons, and sometimes the Chinese students I met at events hosted by the Center.

Life here is pretty simple with no need for rush other than for the traffic that doesn’t seem to stop. Classes have been very fun with interesting professors and simulating assignments. The Center has a lot of events planned out during the weekend so we are never actually bored, like visiting the Panda Breeding Center, the Tibeten Quarters, Jinli Ancient Street, and the Wenshu Monastery. They have also taught us the way round the city with the subway and bus system, so we can always go out ourselves and venture the world to get lost and experience the Chinese living style and, of course, also coming back to the dorm safety.

Normally I’m not a very out-going person; I’m someone that prefers to stay indoors with a bowl of ramen noodles to watch Netflix or YouTube than to go out and communicate with strangers that I can’t even communicate with – more so here than the United States because of the language barrier. However, this place has opened me up with the friendliness people pour out and the adventures it entices. Now I can either go out by myself or with the friends I have made to take in this unfamiliar land and enjoy here the richness it gives out.

Another thing that has caught my attention is the Sichuan cuisine here. All the cuisine I have tried so far is truly good with a dash of spiciness just like the surrounding environment, so I’m highly anticipating what will happen and change in my life before the following semester ends.  At this moment in time, I’m truthfully enjoying myself at Sichuan University, Huaxi Campus of Chengdu, China.

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