It appears that Hong Kong customs are expecting me to arrive, in September, with a whole host of feline companions in my luggage. Either that, or there has been a slight translational error on my student visa application forms. In the section where I was required to declare my marital status, I was given four options; married, divorced, widowed and – the only one even remotely applicable to me – spinster. The word is not simply a synonym for ‘single’ which for all legal purposes I am but carries with it connotations of age, desperation and resigning oneself to a lifetime of loneliness. As a twenty year old university student who is about to pack up and adventure off to the other side of the world, I should like to think that this is far from an accurate description of myself.
Having filled in all the visa and university application forms, it finally feels real. I will be spending the next year of my life living in Hong Kong (cue smug celebratory dance at my desk) and this little translational error is probably a sign of many comical miscommunications to come. Immersing myself in a new culture, within the context of university life especially , is no doubt going to be a rollercoaster ride of an experience which will only be added to by the daunting prospect of my attempting to learn a very difficult new language.