Maman Cisse: Exploring the Chengdu and its Diversity

What would you think they are, statues or real men?  They are existing human beings, and these men are amazing at what they do.  When I first saw them, I immediately thought they were statues until one moved – and then I freaked out!  The make up on their faces appears so real when you get close. I just could not go without a memory of them, so I took many pictures and it was free [even though in New York you have to give some money (just kidding)]. I had an unforgettable day at the Wide and Narrow Valley.

On Sunday, I had dinner with my dear friend Stephanique Brown at Pizza hut.  Pizza Hut is undeniably underrated in America…but guess what? It is a five-star restaurant here in China. It reminded me of home because they serve steaks, soup, pasta and of course pizza, which was so different from home. I was less homesick after I ate Pizza Hut grilled chicken with cheese and baked rice and vegetables, not to mention the incredible desert that came with three flavors at no additional cost. We were blessed to eat at a high-range restaurant and only spend less than twenty US dollars. This has been the best western food place so far.  Now we don’t have to worry about missing home food thanks to globalization!

This impressive statue is one the respected figures in China known to be “Skanda Bodhisattva’s Shrine.” It is part of the Buddhism triangle, and he was or is the guardian of Buddhism who expels all devils. This amazing sculpture was built in 9th year of Daoguang Emperor with a height of 2 meters.  This is a must-see and an absolutely fascinating culture.

I have had an unbelievable transition from pessimistic to optimistic individual. I can feel the change in me physically and mentally; I have become a new person, someone I never knew existed within me. I have grown to be able to accommodate with negative and positive feelings. Many might just summarize their study abroad experience as just taking classes in another country.  However, it is not just that; the personal growth is priceless. This study abroad program has impacted my life in three important ways: personally, academically, and financially. This exercise has become a way for me to relieve any type of stress and, as they say, “find a place inside where there is joy and the joy will burn out of pain.”  The g-MEO program is making me realize how I can go if I am willing to accept the challenges thrown at me.

During our Panda Research Center trip, I was taking a jumping picture with the coolest professor, Hannah Morris.  She is so energetic!  We were also posing in front of the “Golden Panda” with my New Jersey City University friends Chanel Wright, Shari Piontkowskie, and Yosra Abdalla. These pictures describe exactly how I felt that day: happy, motivated, and excited.  Overall, I had a lot of enthusiasm, because I spent the day with the most awesome people ever. I would not exchange any of these moments for anything.

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