We met on the night of an annual Chinese celebration known as Mid-Autumn Festival. I was standing outside of a metro station and I could feel somebody watching me. I glanced over to where I could feel the attention coming from and saw him standing alone staring in my direction. I was intrigued, but also shy, so I drew my attention back to my friends. As the others arrived, we set off to make our way to the festival celebrations. Before we could get far, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Startled, I turned around to see him standing behind me.
Our first conversation was very short as my friends were ready to go and our surroundings were extremely busy. We gathered the basic information from each other; our names, where we were from, why we were in Hong Kong, and how long we were both in the city. I remember the shakiness of his voice. I had recently been dealing with a pretty arrogant guy so it was refreshing to be approached by someone who didn’t feel over-confident about himself. It was this that led me to give him my number.
I feel like after that night of meeting, everything seemed incredibly synchronized, and without being cliche (but while loving the cliche) like it was meant to be. Later on in the evening, I went home and opened my Whatsapp to remind myself of what he looked like. He messaged me at that exact moment. It was probably just a coincidence, but I tend to see things like this as signs; and after checking our astrological compatibility (i wish this was a joke but it’s not), I was confident that this had potential.
During the first month of our meeting, I already had several trips abroad planned so our face-to-face meetings were somewhat spread out. However, soon after Greg asked me to be his girlfriend and our time together in Hong Kong was filled with constant excitement and discovery. We quickly began spending most nights of the week meeting for dinner and discovering Hong Kong’s streets at night. Together we visited and experienced almost everything the city has to offer. Each weekend we enjoyed incredible food, hiked tropical forests, visited local islands, learnt about the culture, and indulged in the city’s nightlife.
Greg had just moved there for work and I was there for the third year of my university degree so we didn’t have to consider the concept of long distance for a pretty long time. It wasn’t until we were at a horse race (a Hong Kong must do) speaking with another expat who raised the question of ‘what will you do when she has to return to England’. Knowing myself, and speaking with Greg, it was established that long distance is not something that would have worked for either of us, so it was more than a relief when Greg revealed that he had already considered this and was more than happy to leave Hong Kong and move to the UK to be with me while I completed the final year of my degree.
Now back in the UK, our relationship is still very strong. However, there have been some changes. Not only is the weather considerably miserable in comparison to Hong Kong’s tropical climate, but it’s also extremely expensive. The opportunities for adventure are abismal in comparison to that of where we met. This has impacted how we spend our time together as the magic of constantly discovering new things isn’t so prevalent. I have been concerned at times that this may have been a vital part of what made our relationship so great to begin with. However, during a year in the UK together, we have made the most of what there is here (including weekly trips to Chinatown to fill that Hong Kong hole) and trips abroad as often as possible. I feel that our love for each other continues to grow and we hope to eventually return to Hong Kong, as our love for each other is just as strong as our love for the city where we met.
I think one of the biggest lessons I have learned from finding love abroad is that you never know when and where your life can be drastically altered. The idea of falling in love and having a healthy relationship with someone you meet on your third year abroad seems like something from a ridiculously unrealistic rom-com. For it to actually happen is almost unbelievable. In many ways our meeting could have be interpreted as convenient. We had both just arrived in the country, and didn’t know many people. But I think meeting someone in a foreign country, in a similar situation as you-who you feel like you can be totally yourself with- is something more special and in a way I had never experienced before.
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